Time running out on Rogers
It appears Rogers’ status as a village may be coming to an end.
Money is running out and most residents are opposed to enacting an income tax. Now, Village Council members have begun discussing what would happen if the village of 237 residents dissolves and becomes part of the township.
Village officials have been trying to arrange a meeting with Middleton Township trustees to discuss a merger, but trustees are said to be reluctant to discuss the issue in public for fear of being perceived as favoring the dissolution.
Kudos to the village solicitor, however, for recognizing the need to be transparent and warning council members that holding these discussions privately would be a violation of the Ohio Sunshine Law.
“This is a really important issue. You’re talking about a village going away, and that is something that deserves the utmost respect and transparency,” solicitor Michelle Simonelli wisely said.
Money, or the lack of it, isn’t the only problem facing Rogers. At the beginning of the new year, there will be no mayor. The incumbent chose not to run and no one else stepped up to seek the job. Council will also be short two members, and filling those positions has become almost a constant problem.
When looking at what changes village residents would face in a merger, councilmen determined that street lights are the only service that would be lost, since the village has no municipal water or sewer service and lacks a police department. Fire services are provided by the Negley Fire Department. Side streets in the village would still be plowed during snowstorms but not until after the school bus routes are cleared.
It doesn’t seem that the majority of residents are concerned enough to get personally involved in running their town and they are either unable or unwilling to dig deeper into their pockets to keep funding village services. Maybe it’s time to get down the road with these merger talks and face the inevitable.
Other villages of similar size and financial situations in the county should take heed and perhaps follow suit.