Lake High School and its surrounding property is closer to joining Hartville.

Lake High School and its surrounding property is closer to joining Hartville.

On Oct. 1, Hartville Council authorized Mayor Richard Currie to enter into an annexation agreement with Lake Township for approximately 49 acres of land at Market Avenue, Lake Center Street and King Church Avenue.   

The property includes Lake High School campus, the Hartville branch of the Stark County District Library, the YMCA and a branch of the Mercy Medical Center.

The Village of Hartville and the Lake Local Board of Education signed the original agreement back in April 2002, and the purpose was to provide sewer services for the high school complex, the athletic complex and the middle school.

“There was language in the original agreement that if the village and the property in question ever became contiguous, the board of education would have to give approval for the property to be annexed into the village,” Currie said. “And I think that was the original intent that eventually it would be annexed into the village.”

Financially, the sewer service agreement negatively affected the schools. Because the property was outside of Hartville, the schools had to pay double the rates.

In January 2012, the village sued the Lake Local Schools Board of Education, which had not made an effort to be annexed into the village.

The case was assigned to Judge Taryn L. Heath.

“And Judge Heath thought that the whole matter looked like it was real suitable for mediation,” Currie said. “So the village and the school board were assigned to a mediator, and, as a result of some well-intentioned, good-natured negotiations, an agreement was reached with the school board so that they would annex into the village.”

The agreement was reached last summer but Currie explained that because the Lake High School property was previously Lake Township property, the township had to sign-off on the agreement as well.

Lake Trustees did that at a recent meeting.

Now, the agreement goes to the Stark County Commissioners for approval and, if approved, will go into effect Jan. 1.

The agreement includes a 50-50 annexation-income tax sharing agreement between the schools and the village. Currie notes that the village expects to see an approximate income increase of $40,000 for those first five years of the agreement.

“Our schools are very good, so it is a real plus for the schools to be a part of the village,” Currie said. “This agreement is a win-win situation for both the village and the school board. One of the benefits for the public (is that) the school board will no longer have to pay double the sewer rate, so it will be savings to the schools.”

Currie said the agreement also will mean the village will have some additional responsibility to the schools regarding police protection and road maintenance.