HARTVILLE  Village Council approved an annexation agreement with Lake Township July 16 for a 1.1 acre property at 1511 Edison Street NE, owned by Gitchaway Properties.

Solicitor Ron Starkey explained that the “type 2 annexation” agreement allows Lake Township to recoup property taxes on the annexed parcel, with the village collecting income tax. 

Gitchaway Properties reportedly has a retail buyer, but village officials are unaware of what specific business is planned for the property.

“The loss of revenue on real estate (versus) income tax revenue is the main issue,” Starkey said of the agreement, which Lake Township officials have yet to approve.

Starkey estimated that the village would be losing $300 to $600 annually in real estate taxes, but could receive more than ten times that amount in income tax.

 “As a guestimate, a fast food or other (similar retail) business would generate $6,000 to $8,000 annually,” he said.

Councilwoman Bev Green questioned the agreement, stating that representatives from Gitchaway had not come before Council or any other legislative body to discuss the annexation or plans for the property.

Starkey replied that the company had filed all required paperwork for the annexation request. Mayor Cynthia Billings added that those seeking an annexation into the village are not required to come to a village council meeting.

Wage ordinance comes back off the table

Council placed a previously tabled ordinance to amend village employee and elected officials salaries back on the agenda for a first reading.

Trustee Jeff Miller moved to un-table the legislation, stating that waiting until after the November election to address it could “set a bad precedent,” in light of a village income tax levy on the general election ballot.

Councilman Jeff Kozy disagreed, saying that voters could perceive wage amendments, in light of the levy and recent Council-approved removal of a tax credit for residents who work outside the village, as “taking it from the residents and giving it to (village) employees.”

Councilwoman Kelly Riess said that while it has been made clear that the levy request is for roads and capital projects, not wages, the two issues are “not related, but kind of are.”

She added that removal of the income tax credit is not “taking (money) away” from residents, but rather “allowing those who are paying nothing for services to pay for services being provided.”

Kozy contended that the income tax receipts “shake out in the end,” with those who work in the village but live elsewhere paying income taxes to Hartville.

Billings disagreed.

“No, it’s not even close,” she said. “There are way more people working outside the village than inside.”

Other actions

Council also approved the continuation of a governmental electric aggregation program, with opt-out provisions, with Dynegy Energy Services; upheld a village planning commission recommendation to approve a 10,000 square foot storage building at 960 Anderson Avenue; and authorized Fiscal Officer Scott Varney to pursue a program with Enertech Electrical that would include replacement and maintenance of village lighting at no cost to the village for a period of 15 years.

Varney said Enertech is compensated through energy-cost savings and the village must first be accepted into the program.