Friday, October 26, 2001

Petition puts annexation law on hold

By Liz Sidoti
The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — Opponents of a new annexation law blocked it from taking effect by filing a petition on Thursday to put a referendum on the November 2002 ballot asking voters whether the law should be overturned.

        “The law is on hold,” said Carlo LoParo, spokesman for Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, noting that it will stay that way until voters approve or reject it.

        The law, the first overhaul of annexation requirements in 35 years, was to take effect today.

        The Legislature haggled over similar bills for more than two decades before the House, Senate and Gov. Bob Taft agreed on a version of the legislation earlier this year. Mr. Taft signed the bill in July.

        The law gives townships and counties more say in annexation attempts by cities and villages. It requires county commissions to consider the impact of annexation on property outside townships and makes cities and villages reimburse townships for tax revenue that is lost upon annexation.

        Ohio's current system compels county commissions to approve most requests by cities and villages to extend their borders into unincorporated areas. All that's needed is approval from a majority of property owners in an area adjacent to the municipality that is not “unreasonably large.”

        Opponents argue that the new law gives townships too much power to decide the fate of municipalities by making it more difficult for cities and villages to add land and develop a stronger tax base.


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