ELIDA — The debate over whether Elida schools should annex its new elementary school into the village of Elida may take a new turn, as the school district considers a lawsuit to challenge the village’s annexation ordinance.
The new school is being constructed outside Elida village boundaries, near Pioneer Road. But a 2018 village ordinance could require annexation of the school into the village in order to receive water and sewer service, which would in turn subject employees at the school to village income taxes.
The Elida schools board of education on Thursday approved a resolution that would allow Superintendent Joel Mengerink to work with the law firm Bricker & Eckler in drafting a potential lawsuit.
“We don’t believe the ordinance that the village is trying to use pertains to our building project,” Mengerink told The Lima News on Friday. “We’re trying to look out for the interest of our employees, as we believe this is just a money grab on the part of the village.”
Mengerink said the school district does not believe it will receive any additional benefit from annexation, as the village already provides water and sewer to other Elida schools properties, some of which are also outside village boundaries.
The dispute is jeopardizing timely construction of the new elementary school, which was originally intended to open by Labor Day 2021 but may be delayed if the school district chooses to use Allen County water and sewer services rather than annex the school into Elida.
“This just seems like an overstep on their part,” Mengerink said. “We’re hopeful to come to some sort of resolution, but we feel in order to protect the district, students, employees and taxpayers, that this is the avenue we’re going to have to go.”
Elida Mayor Kim Hardy declined to comment Friday on the pending litigation. He told The Lima News earlier this month that the annexation ordinance was originally intended to prevent the village from becoming landlocked.
No lawsuit had been filed as of Friday afternoon.
In May of 2018, voters approved a 2.8 mill bond issue and a 0.50 mill levy for the construction of the new building. Officials broke ground in September.
The 30-year bonds total $17.9 million to build the new school, and Elida will receive $18.1 million in contributions from the State of Ohio toward the project.
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.