Fort Shawnee council preparing for the worst

August 20, 2012

FORT SHAWNEE — Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.

Fort Shawnee Village Council went that route Monday night, adopting resolutions setting the language for a dissolution ballot question and passing the first reading of an ordinance to be used only if voters decide Nov. 6 to dissolve the village.

Council is still urging voters to back a 3.25-mill property tax levy that would pull the village out of financial distress in two years.

On Aug. 6, promoters of a vote to dissolve the village presented council President Doug Harris with their petition to put the dissolution question on the Nov. 6 ballot. A simple majority vote would make the ballot question binding, and the village would be required to surrender corporate power, according to Section 703.20 of the Ohio Revised Code.

Ordinance No. 16-12 would establish fiduciary agents “authorized to act on behalf of the Village to assist the Village to settle claims, dispose of property, or levy and collect taxes to pay existing obligations.”

The ordinance designates Mayor Pete Mariotti, Finance Director Jo Ann Johnson and Law Director Nicole Winget as fiduciaries. It also sets a pay rate for each: $375 per month for Mariotti; $8.94 per hour plus health benefits for Johnson and $123.60 per hour for Winget.

Responding to a question from Councilman Dan Henry, Johnson said the Ohio Auditor’s Office had approved the rates of compensation listed for the three fiduciary agents, and that the rates had been changed from an earlier draft distributed to councilors Friday.

If Fort Shawnee dissolves, the village would remain responsible for its accrued liabilities and have the power to settle claims, dispose of property and collect taxes to pay existing obligations; according to the draft ordinance, Section 703.21 of the Ohio Revised Code charges villages with the responsibility for their accrued liabilities and grants them the power to settle claims, but it doesn’t establish who acts on behalf of the village to fulfill these responsibilities.