Bath trustees: Township must find a better way


By Brad Baxter, William Degen and Robert Sielschott - Guest Columnists

As the elected representatives of our Bath Township residents, we have a mandate to insure to the degree possible that our residents receive the basic services that fall within our responsibility. In addition to that responsibility, we also believe it is within our mandate to pursue and encourage policies that lead to a higher quality of life, higher living standards, enhanced economic opportunities and ever-improving educational opportunities for our residents.

To pursue this additional mandate, it is our intention to assist those persons or enterprises (within the statutes and regulations than govern our authority) who wish to pursue activities or investments in Bath Township that advance these priorities. Currently, we believe there are instances where these priorities may be advanced.

Specifically, we believe that our outstanding school system, incredible parks, access to the OSU branch and other fine local colleges and universities, rapidly growing employment opportunities, our excellent fire department and high level of public safety and our location directly on the Interstate 75 corridor make Bath Township an outstanding community for new workers to not only work, but to live.

Currently, however, we have significantly lagged behind other townships in having an inventory of lots and subdivision development that could accommodate a varying value range of new homes for these potential new residents. Every new home adds about $400 annually to our township tax base, and a new family in a new home that sends two new students to our school adds over $10,000 per year to our school’s funding. So the completion and filling of our two existing uncompleted subdivisions and the addition of a new one could add 200 households to our community.

Assuming half of the new residents have families, such a development would add $80,000 per year to funds available for township services and nearly $1.2 million in funding for our schools. Most importantly, we would have new, economically stable households and new neighbors in a vibrant and growing community. This would be a good thing.

To make this happen, we will need governmental and regulatory bodies to proactively assist builders and developers navigate the incredible numbers of barriers and requirements involved in such endeavors, and to make sure that sewer and utility fees are competitive with surrounding counties.

Currently there are several private entities attempting to invest private capital and repurposing existing empty and/or dilapidated buildings on the I-75 corridor in our township. Improved appearances, significant new employment, enhanced safety and lower fire risks, and new or rehabilitated structures replacing empty ones would all be very good things.

For such projects to happen, that new risk capital should be made to feel welcome. Governmental and regulatory agencies will need to proactively and positively assist these enterprises as they try to navigate the extreme hurdles involved in such endeavors.

Currently there are residential communities in our township that may wish to have sidewalks or other improvements, and others would benefit from projects that add walkways and bike paths connecting them to parks, schools and other neighborhoods. Such projects increase home values, enhance public safety and ultimately increase the quality of life for our residents. Occasionally funding comes available for the creation and future maintenance of such improvements in our township, and seizing such an opportunity would be a good thing. To make such projects happen, state agencies, the county and our own homeowner associations would have to work together to pursue funding and secure resources for the building and future maintenance of these beneficial improvements.

Currently our many fine local employers located in Bath Township continue to struggle with accessing assistance and attention from building regulators and others in order to complete expansions of extremely high-quality facilities and the associated very good jobs. Clearly, site selection officials are watching our community to see if our local development and regulatory environments are healthy, helpful and welcoming to these projects that produce such high-quality employment.

Such employment and expansion lead naturally to higher levels of school and government service funding, increased demand for existing homes, new housing development and “spin off” enterprises that produce more jobs. These are good things, and require the positive and helpful attention of everyone involved.

We would like to invite the Allen County Commissioners, the Allen County Engineer and that office’s “access” regulatory mechanism, the Lima Building Department and its various permit and inspection mechanisms, the Bath Zoning Board and Board of Appeals, the Lima-Allen County Regional Planning Commission and its 12 standing committees and members, the Regional Development Agency, the Bath school board, our Ohio senator and state representative and all other regulatory bodies to join us in a reassessment of how we apply our missions and goals.

It is our intention to improve the atmosphere for those who are trying to do “good things” in our community, and to encourage everyone to reach out, guide, help and assist them. In doing so, we hope to improve the community that we ultimately serve, and we invite you all to join us in this effort.

By Brad Baxter, William Degen and Robert Sielschott

Guest Columnists

Brad Baxter, William Degen and Robert Sielschott are Bath Township trustees. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News.

Brad Baxter, William Degen and Robert Sielschott are Bath Township trustees. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News.

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