Galena council considers separation from Berkshire


By Andrew Carter - andrewcarter@civitasmedia.com



Galena Village Council will consider a proposal to separate the village from Berkshire Township at its regular monthly meeting on Monday.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at Galena Village Hall.

According to the meeting agenda emailed to The Gazette on Thursday, proposed Ordinance No. 2015-02 would give the village solicitor and the mayor the authority to submit a petition to Delaware County commissioners asking that the village of Galena be excluded from the township.

The ordinance cites Ohio Revised Code Section 503.07, which states that municipalities may petition county commissioners “for a change of township lines in order to make them identical, in whole or in part, with the limits of the municipal corporation, or to erect a new township out of the portion of such township included within the limits of such municipal corporation.”

Galena council discussed the issue of separating from the township earlier this year, but did not take a vote on the measure. Separating from the township could allow village residents to stop paying property taxes to the township and force the township to pay the village about 20 percent of the township government’s net worth. The township collects about $20,000 in property taxes from village residents each year.

The proposal to separate itself from the township came on the heels of an effort by two township residents to merge the village and township into one political subdivision. The proposal was met with unanimous opposition by village officials, who called the move a power grab on the part of the township.

Village officials requested that lawmakers tighten up the state law to make mergers more difficult. However, that request did not result in any action being taken by legislators.

In the wake of the village’s early discussions about separating from the township, Berkshire Township trustees ceded control of the Galena Cemetery to the village. The 200-year old cemetery is located inside village limits, but has been owned and operated by the township for 183 years.

Legal action regarding ownership of the cemetery is currently in progress in the Delaware County Common Pleas Court. Both sides are waiting for a decision in that case.

By Andrew Carter

andrewcarter@civitasmedia.com

Andrew Carter can be reached at 740-413-0902 and on Twitter @AndrewCarterDG.

Andrew Carter can be reached at 740-413-0902 and on Twitter @AndrewCarterDG.