communities have dissolved their local governance in the past decade, working with the state auditor’s office to close their books following local votes.
The Alexandria issue was brought to the ballot by Stanley Robinson and others amid the legal proceedings against Laura VanScoy Andrews, who was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading no contest to the theft in office of more than $167,000 and related charges.
Robinson, a former mayor who was one of three candidates running for the position that ultimately went to Jasper, still supports dissolution. Ending Alexandria’s local governance would avoid duplication of services already offered by the township and eliminate the expenses of village staff members, he said.
“It’s still an inefficient form of government for 200 homes,” Robinson said. “We still have streets that need repairs. We still have water saddles that are rotting beneath our feet. The water lines are rotting. ... We still spend a lot of money and get very little.”
The village has an annual budget of about $526,000, and the biggest expenses are the operation of its sewage plant; the purchase of water from Granville and maintenance of related systems; repair and maintenance of streets and lights; and the salaries of a handful of parttime employees, Jasper said.
While the village is open to working with the township on some issues — there are discussions about developing a joint economic development district, Jasper said — maintaining local control will better position Alexandria for dealing on its own terms with coming development from western Licking County, the mayor said.
“The towns around us are expanding rapidly,” Jasper said. “New Albany’s coming this way fast. ... But the people who are moving to Alexandria, they’re coming here for a reason. We want to keep it that way.”
Greg Sturgill, a retired systems analyst for Columbus City Schools, moved to Alexandria more than 20 years ago seeking a small-town atmosphere. He opposes dissolution, saying the larger township wouldn’t give the same attention to the needs of the smaller bedroom community.
“With our own government, we will be taking care of ourselves,” Sturgill said. “With someone else taking care of us, we’d be the stepchild.”
Jasper was among those who signed petitions to place the dissolution issue on the ballot, noting that more than one-third of the village’s registered voters added their names. Whether they support or oppose the move, Jasper said, the village should vote on it once and for all.
“I want to put it behind us as quickly as possible,” Jasper said. “Whatever happens to the village, it needs to be a majority decision, not a minority. ... Don’t let 15 people decide the fate of the village.”
Robinson said he’ll probably circulate a letter to residents voicing his support for dissolution or maybe make a statement on the sign where he posts messages on his Main Street property. He already has a list of 50 reasons why dissolution is warranted.
Otherwise, Robinson said, he doesn’t plan to actively campaign for the issue, which, he added, probably doesn’t have enough support for passage.
Either way, he said, he plans to remain engaged in local government.
“I’ll be active,” he said. “I’ll be a concerned citizen. ... I think they still need to be watched.”