|Portage must grow if it's going to exist|
|Written by By DEBBIE ROGERS Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Tuesday, 08 December 2009 10:58|
PORTAGE - Village officials are exploring different ways to annex three businesses north of it, possibly going around a reluctant property owner and down the west side of Ohio 25.
After Monday's council meeting, Mayor Mark Wolford said an ad hoc committee that he had formed to study annexation talked about getting the Portage Quarry to annex from Center Township into the village.
Then the village could annex three businesses, DayMark Safety Systems, Century Marketing and Greenline Foods, along with their income tax dollars, into Portage. A contiguous property owner between the village and the businesses is apparently refusing to join Portage.
"We'll never give up trying to annex them in," Wolford said.
Portage, he said, must grow if it's going to exist.
"It's done nothing but shrink," the mayor said. "It's got to change - you've just got to be careful how it changes."
The village is struggling financially. It was put into fiscal emergency by the state in April and is expected to end the year with a $130,000 deficit.
Council enacted a 1 percent income tax in January, which is allowed without a vote by the Ohio Revised Code. It's also expected to put a 1 percent income tax on the May ballot.
It's been estimated that there are about 465 employees among the three businesses which are located north of Portage on Route 25. Their income tax paid into the village would equal about a 1 percent income tax on residents, or $59,000 annually.
Wolford said annexing into Portage would be attractive for the quarry, which could pick up Mid-County ambulance. The quarry currently gets ambulance service from Weston, he said.
There have also been discussions about annexing StoneCo, located on Route 25 south of the village.
During Monday's council meeting, Wolford was chided by Councilwoman Tamara Sharp for not giving public notice about the ad hoc committee meeting.
Wolford it was "my bad" and that he would post meetings in the future.
After the meeting, he and committee member Mike Brinkman, who is joining council next month, said they got together for about 10 minutes on Nov. 11. The other member is Judy Amend.
Brinkman said village officials have been trying for 10 years to annex the three businesses north of town and it's time to look at other options.
Sharp, however, said she opposed any eminent domain procedures to get the businesses. Wolford said that hadn't been discussed.
The mayor said he received a letter from Solicitor Paul Skaff who said annexation could not be forced on DayMark, Century and Greenline because the village had little to offer them, and the Wood County Commissioners would likely not approve it.
The ad hoc committee had asked Skaff to research annexing without consent of the property owners.
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