|Minutes: May 31st, 2005|
A special meeting of the Catawba Island Township Trustees was held on May 31, 2005 in the conference room with William Rofkar, Gary Mortus, Robert Schroeder, Dorothy Gulau present; also Clint Mauk, Paul Tait, Carin Starr from Black Swamp Conservancy and thirty residents.
Chairman William Rofkar called the meeting to order and asked Mr. Mauk to speak. Mr. Mauk stated application for funding to purchase the Vollmer property was made two years ago and some how it slipped thru our fingers and the property was sold to the developer, Mr. Svete. This sixty-five acres of property should be preserved and the R-1 zoning will permit approximately 125 homes to be built on the property. We intend to put a conservation easement on this property which will go on forever. We are applying for an $800,000.00 grant from the Clean Ohio fund and are requesting a 41% match of funds from the Township which would be about $535,000.00.
John Carroll asked about working with Marcy Kaptur and Clint advised Marcy is definitely for preserving land. Herb Roder asked what is the potential use of the property and Clint stated it would just be green lands and a nature preserve. Allison Falls asked if the money the Township would need is available and Gary Mortus stated it is but in the last meeting we asked about putting a levy on the ballot to see how much interest there would be to keep the property from development. At one time the Township was willing to buy the property and it was sold to the developer.
William Rofkar stated the property was appraised at $800,000.00 and now the price of the land is way above the appraised value. Carin Starr read the appraisal of $855,000.00 which was made in 2003 when it was zoned Agricultural and currently the agricultural value is $11,000.00 If zoning was not changed the property would be sold at this price. Ross Pfeiffer stated there is still a law suit on this property and also a zoning referendum that will be on the ballot in November.
William Rofkar stated in the future the Board does not want to look back and see where we spent 25% of the budget for property and would have to put a levy on the ballot to cover regular expenses. I think it should go on the ballot now and see if the residents really want this property preserved.
Robert Schroeder asked whose name the deed of the property would be and Mr. Mauk stated it would be in the Township’s name and there is no way the property could be sold. Carin Starr stated the application should state conservancy for the property and if the Township would have to sell it in the future, it would have to be paid back two and one-
Half times of the price to Clean Ohio.
John Carroll asked if the Township was willing to buy this property two years ago for $800,000 why are you quibbling with $500,000 now? Bill Rofkar stated at that time there were no ties on the property and now the Township would not be able to ever sell the property. We are not guaranteed we will even get this grant. Carin Starr stated this application is only for the Township to ask for this money and it needs to be very clear as to what the property’s use would be. Gary Mortus stated there is another financing source and that is some inside mills. About fourteen years ago we turned back one mill and it would be available now which would generate about $230,000.00. The same with cablevision if you will note on your bill we do not collect a franchise fee. In the early ’70s Camp Yukita was sold for approximately $150,000.00 but no one had a vision of purchasing that property for the future and probably finances were not available. Bob Schroeder stated if you talk to the younger firemen they are not interested in the Township buying property; they just are not willing to pay higher taxes. Bill Rofkar stated there is other land that will be available.
Ross Pfeiffer asked if there will have to be a decision tonight and feels property owners need to be willing to help pay for the property. Carol Smith stated you mentioned other property available but is this funding a one time thing? Carin Starr stated Clean Ohio funding is only available now and you will know by the end of August whether you will get the grant. Mr. Tait stated there is two million dollars available for District 5 in Northwest Ohio in Clean Ohio and anyone that has a project will apply for this money. Clean Ohio was signed in July 2001 for four years and the last funding went back to the State as there were not enough applicants.
James Stouffer stated his family has lived on Catawba Island for thirty-five years and are in favor of the Township having the opportunity to preserve this property but am very concerned with the details that have to be worked out. Suggest getting legal advice as to whether the property could be split. Carin Starr stated the Township would have to evaluate what the property would be used for and if there would be easements. Bob Schroeder stated he has nine acres of property to preserve and really has to work on it to keep it that way. On the other Township nature trail people dump grass clippings and trash everywhere so this property would mean more work for maintenance. Reggie Langford stated he is very much in favor of the Township buying the property to preserve it for nature and I just want to inform everyone here that spraying for the gypsy moth will start tomorrow.
A motion was made by Gary Mortus and seconded by Robert Schroeder to proceed with the application for Catawba Island Township to purchase the Vollmer property with a match of 41% or approximately $538,000.00 for the grant from Clean Ohio.
William Rofkar stated if we are dealing with a fair deal like a couple of years ago but now the value of property has gone up. My job as a Trustee is to provide fire and police protection for residents and maintenance and will never be in favor of adding inside mills back on taxes.
The vote: William Rofkar-no, Gary Mortus-aye, Robert Schroeder-aye.
A motion was made by Gary Mortus and seconded by Robert Schroeder to adjourn at 9:30 p.m.. All voted aye.