Saturday, August 24, 2002

Election ordered on village dissolution

By Carrie Spencer
The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS - New Rome must conduct a special election on dissolving the village of 60 people known as a speed trap, according to a court ruling.

        Council members walked out of an Aug. 6 meeting when Councilman Ed Anthony presented a seven-signature petition supporting a vote on dissolving the community's government. If voters approve the proposed ballot issue, New Rome, on the far west side of Columbus, would likely be absorbed by Prairie Township.

        The council has since refused to pass a resolution to place the proposed issue on the ballot, as required by state law. Mr. Anthony sued to force the council's action Wednesday. “Unless there's something wrong with the petition itself, the issue has to be put forward,” said Andrew Hall, Mr. Anthony's Columbus attorney. “The only way to defeat it is to vote it down on the ballot itself.”

        Franklin County Appeals Judges Dana Deshler and Cynthia Lazarus ordered the special election but didn't set a timetable. The council missed the 4 p.m. Thursday deadline for placing an issue on the November ballot.

        “I'm pretty confident we'll go down this road again, because (council members will) kind of sit on their hands,” Mr. Hall said.

        Mayor Jamie Mueller called special council meetings on the petition issue twice this week but failed to gain a quorum.


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