Sylvania Township News
Sylvania Township News, February 18, 2021
by Mike Jones
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Latest on Annexation  February 18, 2021

The periodic and fractious efforts of the City of Sylvania attempting to annex portions of Sylvania Township should no longer arise due to an agreement unanimously approved by both the Sylvania Township Board of Trustees and the Sylvania City Council.

The most immediate effect of the agreement will be to end the current attempt by the city to annex residential properties in the area of Brint and King roads.

That effort began in 2018 when the city sent letters to property owners in the area demanding they sign a petition to be annexed into the city. 

The longer-term effect of the agreement is that “the city will not require annexation of existing residential  properties in the city’s water service area in the unincorporated areas of Sylvania Township.”

Although property owners will still have to sign the water-service agreement, “the city will not seek to enforce these agreements during the initial  (10-year) term or any successive renewal term of this agreement.”

Renewal terms are scheduled to follow the initial term in five-year increments.

John Crandall, chairman of the trustees, congratulated Oliver Turner, township administrator, and William Sanford, Sylvania’s economic development director,  for what he termed a fair plan.

He acknowledged that in the past he had given up on the idea of a resolution to the annexation issue which has always simmered with the tension between the two governments and sometimes boiled over.

The overall agreement includes the continuing implementation of what is known as the Oak Leaf Village Joint Economic Development District.  That district has a board of directors that has met since late last year and has worked to implement the collection of a 1.5 percent income tax for those in the district.

The income tax is meant primarily for the maintenance of the district. After a 2 percent administrative fee to the city of Sylvania and a contribution to the JEDD maintenance fund, the city and township will divide any remaining funds evenly. 

Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough said he was particularly pleased with the inclusion of JEDDs in the agreement.

“It has been my hope for over 20 years to get a JEDD agreement,” he said adding that the document also addresses the touchy issue of annexation.

He thanked Mr. Turner and Mr. Sanford for their work in negotiating the agreement over the last several months.  

There is a section in the agreement stating the city and township will continue to discuss creating a separate JEDD with Sylvania Schools. If such a JEDD is established the city will retain income tax revenue and any funds remaining after expenses would be divided with 65 percent going to the township and 35 percent to the city. 

Other properties mentioned as sites for future JEDDs include the Mercy Hospital emergency room location at King Road and Central Avenue, Lucas County property in the 3700 block of Silica Road, and unnamed nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and urgent care centers.

Revenue from additional JEDDS will be split 75 percent to the township and 25 percent to the city.

The agreement also calls for township payments to the city for improvements and public service.

The payments are to be: $75,000  this year and next; $125,000 in 2023 and 2024, and $225,000 in 2025. After that, payments will be indexed to the township’s inside millage.

The agreement does not bar annexations when they are voluntary on the part of property owners.

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Variance approved February 3, 2021

The Sylvania Township Board of Zoning Appeals has approved a variance in a sign regulation to allow the gas station/convenience store at Holland-Sylvania Road and Central Avenue to allow for a “Speedway” sign on the canopy over fuel islands at the site.

The company intends to demolish the building later this year and construct a new facility on the approximately 1.4-acre site.

Under a formula regulating the amount of space, such a sign can cover, the Sylvania Township planning and zoning department calculated that the company should be limited to a sign covering 42 sq. ft.  The company’s standard sign would cover 47.25 sq. ft. on the canopy.

Daryl Graus, manager of planning and zoning, recommended that the BZA approve the variance request, noting that the difference is minimal and should not have an adverse effect on motorists or neighboring businesses.

The razing of the current store and construction of a new one is expected in late fall or early winter.

2020 Final Budget Numbers  January 26, 2021

David Simko, Sylvania Township fiscal officer, said he “could not be more pleased,” with the final township budget numbers for 2020.

Mr. Simko reminded trustees at their most recent meeting of the concern they all shared for revenue when the pandemic became obvious and menacing early last year.

Although he said he still has concerns for the next few months, last year showed that each of the four major funds received more revenue than was budgeted.

On the expense side of the ledger, Mr. Simko said it is clear that employees of the township worked hard to rein in spending where possible.

He noted that revenue isn’t under direct control by the township, but expenses can be. He said township management “all the way to the new hire,” should be commended, “It’s a credit to our entire team,” he said.

Expenditures for 2020 by the general fund were $1,757,065, or 85 percent of what had been budgeted; the road and bridge fund was $2,311,686, or 65 percent of its budget, the police fund spend $7,381,857, 87 percent of its budget, and the fire fund spent $9,448,525. or 93 percent of its budget.

Mr. Simko has often said he knows of instances where expense budgets are set high so that it isn’t difficult for an entity to come in at less than 100 percent.  He has added that budget negotiations aren’t like that in Sylvania Township.

Departments have to show that their projected costs are necessary, so it takes continuing attention to end the year with expenditures under 100 percent, Mr. Simko said.

On the revenue side for last year, the general fund had $2,609,000, or 159 percent of its budget, the road and bridge fund had revenue of $2,845,000, 112 percent of what was budgeted, the police fund had $7,996,000 in revenue, at 106 percent, and the fire department had $11,248,000 in revenue, 116 percent of what was expected in the 2020 budget. 

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