Thornville looking for some council members
THORNVILLE – There’s really no chance that a lack of people willing to serve on village council would cause Mary Renner’s hometown to be absorbed into Thorn Township, but she wishes more people would become involved with their local government just the same.
“I think that somebody will step up,” she said. Renner, a Thornville Village Council member elect who ran unopposed Nov. 8 for a council position, said some people were concerned the village would lose its identity because a couple weeks ago two more positions – a two-year and four-year – were still to be empty as of Jan. 1. Three seats would have been open if Renner hadn’t run for council. “We (were) in desperate need for someone to be on council,” said Renner, whose husband, Gavin, defeated resident Richard Daniels 150 votes to 130 Nov. 8 for Thornville Mayor.
Current Mayor Beth Patrick, who did not seeking another term, agreed that Thornville residents could be more eager to serve, but she appointed Thornville planning and zoning chair Heidi Badders to fill the remainder of former council member Dayna Patrick’s term for two years, meaning that there will be only one council position open Jan. 1. The mayor would like to see that position filled as quickly as possible, but the village can still function adequately until then. “(Badders) will give us a full council until January 1,” said Patrick. After Jan. 1, the council will be down to five members as council member Brian Dunlap did not seek another term. The village will take applications from resident who would like to be appointed to a four-year position.
“Five members is pretty common,” she said, although having the full compliment of six members helps maintain a quorum should a couple members be absent from a meeting.
Patrick doesn’t believe Thornville would ever be dissolved into Thorn Township or be unincorporated for any reason. “That’s not the case in Thornville,” she said. However, “People need to run (for village positions),” said Patrick. She said people should be involved in their communities, have a basic understanding of how local government works, and people attend meetings. “That’s your checks and balances,” said Patrick. Often, council members can be unaware of certain problems in the village until a resident attends a meeting and informs them. Also, she said, residents can provide council members with ideas of better or different ways of doing things.
Thornville Village Solicitor Michael Crites agreed that Thornville is in no danger of being absorbed by Thorn Township, Perry County, or any other entity. “The council would have to make a decision as to how they want to proceed,” he said, adding that he doubts anyone on council wants to dissolve the village. Crites said a village could be in danger of being absorbed if it doesn’t have enough council members to create a quorum, which for Thornville is four members. However, there are safeguards against that in Ohio law, whereby the mayor can appoint members when necessary and current council members who are not seeking another term may be required to stay on council past the end of their terms until someone is appointed to their positions. As of Jan. 1, Thornville will have five members on its council. “You’ve got more than you need to operate the village,” he said.