FU­TURE

The Columbus Dispatch - - Front Page - Mko­vac@dis­patch.com @OhioCap­i­talBlog

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.”

[BROOKE LAVALLEY/ DIS­PATCH]

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