FORT SHAWNEE — A petition to put a dissolution vote on November’s Fort Shawnee ballot is about halfway to the minimum goal of 507 signatures, organizers said Friday.
If they succeed, the question will go on the Nov. 6 ballot alongside the village’s 3.25-mill property tax request, a key part of Mayor Pete Mariotti’s plan to restore solvency and vital services to the financially distressed municipality.
“What we’re seeing now is a very strong effort by people who don’t support it to try to delay the collection of signatures,” said Craig Bradford, who is spearheading the dissolution petition. “I’m sure the last thing they want to see in November, sitting right next to their request for a 3.25 mill property tax, is a question, do you want to dissolve the Fort?”
Bradford and other critics of Mariotti’s administration say the focus has turned away from service and toward revenue. Police stops and ticketing, zoning enforcement and trash collection all have become tools for generating money instead of serving the village and its residents, Bradford said.
“People have concern about that,” he said. “It’s no longer an administration that’s serving the will of the people. It’s more like an administration that’s economically driven to use whatever functions they can to generate revenue.”
The 507 signatures represent a percentage of the registered voters who participated in the most recent election. Bradford said they intend to substantially exceed that number.
“When you have a contested issue like this, they have the ability to challenge the names on your petition ... and reduce your number to where you don’t hit the bare minimum,” he said.
Petition canvassers have registered voter lists and are carrying registration forms along with the petitions, he said.
The group intends to present the signatures at the Aug. 6 village council meeting in order to comply with deadlines for putting the referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot, Bradford said.
For more information, visit the group’s Facebook page, Fort Shawnee Vote.
If the petition succeeds in placing the question on the ballot, and if a majority of voters opt for dissolution,
The village would be required to surrender corporate power, said Ken Terry, Allen County Director of Elections, citing Section 703.20 of the Ohio Revised Code which reads: “If the result of the election is in favor of such surrender, the village clerk shall certify the result to the secretary of state and the county recorder, who shall record it in their respective offices, and thereupon the corporate powers of such village shall cease.”
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