BY ALLEN HOWARD
The Cincinnati Enquirer
ANDERSON TOWNSHIP -- This eastern Cincinnati community of 50,000 people is at a crossroads: whether to remain a township or become a municipality.
At a public hearing Thursday night, 40 residents listened to visions and goals for the township that included the issue of its status.
A main item discussed was the township's 109 miles of roads in need of repair. The question of the township's status became a discussion point because of the cost and the method of financing the repairs. Russ Jackson, trustee president, described a gas tax system in which townships, no matter how large, are, in his opinion, treated unfairly.
"The way the system is set up, the state divvies out the money from the fuel tax first to municipalities," Mr. Jackson said. "Then what's left is split among about 1,400 townships across the state. A municipality one-tenth our size and with 10 percent of our roads to care for, gets the same amount of gas tax money." He said some thought should be given to whether the township would be better off becoming a municipality.
Mr. Jackson said it will cost the township about $8 million a year for the next 10 years to repair all the roads, curbs and sidewalks. Its only other option is a tax levy, he said.
Henry Dolive, township administrator, said most of the roads are at the stage where they will begin to deteriorate quickly.
"Most roads are built to last about 20 years," Mr. Dolive said. "Most of our roads are at that level now. . . . Once they get too bad, it will cost more to repair."
Mr. Jackson also talked of trying to get legislation through the Ohio General Assembly to change the way the gas tax money is given out.
While most of the residents nodded in agreement to keeping the township as it is, with no powers to enact laws, they were in favor of changing the legislation on the gas tax.
Joe Cioffi of the 8300 block of Cherry Lane, said he likes living in a township, but his biggest complaint was noise. He would like some kind of noise ordinance.
"I get sick of this booming noise coming from stereos close to where I live," Mr. Cioffi said.
Jack Reed of Stormy Way would change legislation on gas taxes and remain a township, but he would like a noise ordinance, too.