ELIDA — An ongoing debate over whether Elida schools should annex its new elementary school into the village of Elida could delay construction if a resolution is not reached soon.
The debate started not long after Elida schools passed its bond issue in May 2018, when the Elida village council adopted an ordinance which would require the new school building — which lies outside village boundaries — be annexed into the village to receive Elida water and sewer services.
But annexation would subject elementary school staff to the village’s income tax, the primary issue behind the school district’s opposition to the requirement.
“We feel that (annexation) is purely a money grab on their part and the school district would get no other benefit from annexation than we get right now,” said Elida schools Superintendent Joel Mengerink. “We would like to see the village drop that demand.”
Elida Mayor Kim Hardy offered a different analysis, telling The Lima News that the ordinance had been under development for at least one year prior to the Elida schools bond issue to prevent the village from becoming landlocked.
“From the village’s viewpoint, by being annexed in they have an inside rate on water and sewer,” Hardy said.
Elida schools is exploring whether it could connect the new school to Allen County’s water and sewer lines if the village refuses to drop the annexation issue.
Doing so, Mengerink said, would delay construction of the new school by six to 12 months. The school is presently slated to open by Labor Day 2021.
“We’re resigned to the fact that we’re the fallback if an agreement can’t be made,” said Allen County Commission President Jay Begg, who met with Elida Mayor Kim Hardy and the village’s administrator on Tuesday. “But I think it’s in everyone’s best interest that an agreement is made.”
The Elida council on Tuesday voted to stand by the ordinance’s annexation requirement, Hardy said. Should Elida schools agree to annexation, Hardy explained that the superintendent and school board will both need to sign a letter of intent before the village will begin work on the project.