Middleton keeps close eye on Rogers, especially the roads

NEGLEY – Should the nearby village of Rogers disband because of the large debt owed to the state for routine audits, Middleton Township will need to take over responsibility of the roads.

Township trustees previously told two township residents they are aware of the financial straits Rogers is facing, but they are hoping for a positive outcome.

The township itself is already encumbered with expenditures related to road maintenance and just last year requested a 2-mill replacement road levy to help cover the rising costs.

The levy was approved by a margin of roughly 7 percent and won’t take effect until 2014.

The township is currently collecting on a road levy renewed by voters every five years since the mid-1990s. That levy generates $73,500 annually while the replacement levy will generate $111,700.

The township road department maintains approximately 53 miles of roadway itself. While Rogers is a small community, there is a high volume of vehicle traffic from the two state routes and oil and gas drilling companies traveling through to nearby shale drilling sites.

The township would not be responsible for state Routes 7 and 154 as those are maintained by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

According to minutes of the March 18 township meeting, Trustee Eldena Gearhart told residents Marlene and Jack Shaffer that the township is keeping an eye on Rogers and it is too early to “speculate” whether the roads – including the street lights and red light – will need to be maintained by the township.

In March it was reported that Rogers has had a history of problems with its state audits. The village currently owes the state auditor’s office about $50,000 for routine audits dating back to the mid 2000s.

The amount owed is significantly more than the village’s annual operating budget and residents approved a 2-mill operating levy approved last year. The levy generates about $4,600 a year.