The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

June 19, 2013

Ashtabula City Council talks of conforming boundaries

ASHTABULA — Some Ashtabula City Council members said Monday night they would like to see the city take another look at the possibility of conforming its boundaries with Ashtabula and Saybrook townships.

Some called it a financial issue because it would bring about $55,000 in additional revenue per year for inside property taxes, but others said there is no reason for Ashtabula to take such action.

The others recalled backlash two years ago, when the issue was broached. Saybrook officials said they would not keep any of the revenue if the boundaries were conformed, but Ashtabula Township advised of their right to keep some of the revenue for the next 12 years (80 percent for the first two years, 67.5 percent the following, etc.)

Conforming boundaries also would mean city residents living within the townships’ boundaries that currently overlap with the city’s boundaries would no longer be eligible to vote, run for, or serve as township trustee.

At Monday’s pre-council meeting, Ward 2 Councilman August Pugliese said he was against it two years ago, and he’s against it now. He wants the city to retain voting rights on township matters.

“It benefits the city to have a city representative on township boards,” he said. “They take an interest and look out for the city … for 75 to 80 years it’s been like this.”

Ward 5 Councilman James Trisket said if he were a township resident, that would infuriate him. He is for conforming boundaries on both sides — Saybrook and Ashtabula townships.

Ward 4 Councilwoman Julie Lattimer agreed there’s no need to keep a representative on the township boards.

“We have good relationships with the townships,” she said.

Ward 1 Councilman Rick Balog said the last time the city discussed conforming boundaries, his phone rang and rang.

“They wanted to retain their ability to vote (in the townships),” he said. “They didn’t want change.”

President J.P. Ducro IV said he’s all for conforming boundaries with Saybrook, maybe not Ashtabula Township, as “that’s a different case.”

Ward 3 Councilwoman Ann Stranman said the city should get the property tax — it’s a matter of dollars and cents, but she didn’t like all the political “games” that were played the last time the issue came up. She noted the Ashtabula Township trustees were against conforming boundaries because one of their trustees lives in the city.

All city council members then agreed they would not unseat an elected trustee, and instead, wait until the trustee finished his or her term. They also agreed they wanted to make certain the conforming boundaries would not hurt the funding of Lake Shore Park.

City Solicitor Michael Franklin said he believed it will not affect Lake Shore Park’s funding.

The conforming boundaries will be discussed at council’s next finance and personnel committee meeting at 8 a.m. July 12 at City Hall. The public is invited.

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