Clearcreek Twp. trustees split over plan for new park

Clearcreek Twp. trustees are split about the terms of a proposed agreement to commit $500,000 in township tax revenue to a new park in Springboro.

Last week, trustees debated, then set aside the money for construction of Kacie Jane Park.

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Instead trustees Ed Wade and Jason Gabbard gave Trustee Steve Muterspaw authority to take up negotiations with the city.

The current agreement, good through 2021, calls for the township to turn over to the city 25 percent of inside property tax millage otherwise collected by the township within city limits.

The new deal, proposed at the meeting for approval as an emergency measure on first reading, would have doubled the percentage going to the city and committed $50,000 a year to the new city park.

“I think this will create a huge problem,” Muterspaw said during the debate at the Feb. 11 meeting.

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Under the proposed agreement, “The city and township shall be recognized and credited as equal developers of the park.”

All of Springboro is within the limits of Clearcreek Twp. The township provides fire protection and ambulance services to the city as well as unincorporated areas of the township through a property tax levy.

Since 1989, the city and township have used the “coterminous” agreements to set boundaries beyond which no annexation would take place without the township’s support.

“You’ve never been through fights over annexations,” Wade said to Muterspaw.

The new deal would better protect the township from annexation, according to Trustee Jason Gabbard.

Wade also said the millage split was altered to the township’s benefit more than 20 years ago through support from city officials.

Wade and Gabbard pointed out the agreement enabled township residents to use city parks without potentially being required to pay a fee. It also prevents the city from pulling out of the township and fire district and forming its own fire and ambulance service.

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Wade said the agreement preserved the “longevity of the township,” where no local income tax is levied.

The trustees agreed an additional tax levy would be needed in coming years to fund the fire department, regardless of the terms of the coterminous agreement.

Muterspaw said the township should take advantage of being in the “sweet spot” of the agreement, only required to pay the city 25 percent of the property tax, rather than the 50 percent paid annually from 2013-2017.

Kacie Jane Park, featuring a splash pad and playgrounds, is to be built by the city on the southwest corner of Lytle-Five Points and Crosley roads.

The Hausfeld family is donating a total of $1 million across five years toward the park. Tom Hausfeld, 50, and his daughter Kacie, 21, were killed April 1, 2010, when the plane he was piloting crashed at Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport just after takeoff.

Muterspaw was given 60 days to negotiate an agreement with the city.

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