JACKSONTOWN – It’s a matter of taxation without services, Bill Settles, president of the River Oaks homeowners association, told the Licking Township Trustees Monday night. “We have no means to receive your services,” he said.
The Villages of River Oaks is an Epcon Lifestyles condominium community in the City of Heath, which also remains in Licking Township following an expedited annexation to Heath. So the community pays taxes to both Licking Township and Heath, while Settles said River Oaks receives all its utility and emergency services from Heath or other sources outside of Licking Township. “The time has come to be released to Heath,” he said, adding that the River Oaks residents would have nothing to gain by supporting township levies.
“The township really has no control over it,” said Licking Township Trustee President Joe Hart. It’s just something that happened, he said. Hart said some inside millage to the township may be shared with Heath, but, “it might be a moot point,” he said. Hart said the boundaries were never confirmed until a couple years ago.
Hart said Settles’ request is extremely reasonable; however, “We’d be remiss if we didn’t take a look at how it affects River Oaks and Licking Township.”
Settles said he completely understood. “This has festered for a couple of years,” he said. “We would like to see a cutting of the cord.”
But, this may be easier said than done.
“My understanding of this ‘expedited’ annexation is that the property can’t be removed from Licking Township,” said Licking County Deputy Auditor Roy VanAtta. “Our staff is looking deeper into the matter; however, I believe I’m correct in saying that the property will need to remain in Licking Township.”
“We have verified that these were Expedited II annexations from Licking Township to Heath City,” said Licking County Chief Deputy Auditor Brad Cottrell. He said in the case of Expedited II annexations, parcels are forever simultaneously part of the city and the township, subject to the taxing authority of both the city and the township, and cannot be conformed.
“Regular annexations or Expedited I can be ‘conformed’ by an incorporated area, and would thereby be removed from the Township,” Cottrell said.
In other township news:
• Fire Chief Mike Wilson said Wyatt Letki, who is a senior at C-TEC and enrolled in its fire and EMS training program, was part of a C-TEC team that placed second in a statewide EMS competition. Letki’s father, J.P, has served with the Licking Township Fire Company for many years. Wyatt Letki will go to Anaheim, California to participate in a national competition in June.
Wilson said the competition is basically a series of mock squad runs where the C-TEC students and competitors are graded on their ability to handle various emergency scenarios. “I’m really proud of him,” Wilson said of Letki. “And, it speaks volumes for what C-TEC is doing.”
“I think that’s remarkable,” said Trustee John Holman of Letki’s achievement.
• Zoning Inspector Forrest Cooperrider said he is aware of a trailer near Edgewater Beach that has no water or sewer hook-up. “I think there are people living in it,” he said.
• Trustees agreed to sell an old township-owned grader privately for $1,000.
• Township Fiscal Officer Andrea Lynch said the township qualifies for a $1,300 ODOT safety grant to help pay for new signage and other highway safety features.