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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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        A disagreement between Lake Township and the Village of Walbridge over which entity is responsible for maintaining a stretch of Drouillard Road may be decided in court.

        The township has filed a complaint in Wood County Common Pleas Court, asking for a declatory judgment to force the village to meet obligations set in a 1977 agreement that was part of an annexation by the village of township land adjacent to Drouillard.

        The township is claiming the agreement binds the village to maintain Drouillard from the village limits south to where the road curves toward Cummings Road in exchange for the township not opposing the annexation of property that included land where the Stanley rail yard is located.

        The disagreement came to a head recently when the township submitted an invoice for $116.31 to the village for repairing a pothole in the northbound lane of Drouillard, south of Ayers Road. The village has refused to reimburse the township.

       In addition, the township claims it incurred $367 in labor costs and $208 for salt to remove snow between Jan. 12 and 31 of this year.

        In a January 2017 letter to the township trustees, James Bishop, village administrator, argues the signers of the 1977 agreement were not authorized to hold the jurisdictions to it in perpetuity. He also contends the village has been maintaining Luckey Road, which sits west of Stanley yard, even though village officials consider it the responsibility of the township. Bishop ends the letter by requesting township and village officials meet to “chart-out a plan for maintaining these roadways for 2017 and beyond.”

        In response, Philip Dombey, township solicitor, wrote to Bishop that the rule of perpetuities has “no bearing on this type of agreement between government bodies” and declined a meeting until Bishop could cite case law or statute that would validate the village position.

        In April 2018, the village informed the township that the village was going to cease maintaining Drouillard effective June 1 of that year.

        “This decision is supported by legal boundaries, taxing and police jurisdictions and the significant demographic changes in Lake Township,” a letter from Bishop to Dombey says.

        According to testimony at the 1977 annexation hearing before the county commissioners, the township would be losing about $1,900 annually in property taxes and the village was bolstering its income tax base with a net gain of about 200 railroad employees when the property became part of the village.

        “That the Village does hereby agree to maintain, repair and improve Drouillard Road between the Southern boundary of the incorporated limits of the Village of Walbridge and the South Section line of Section 16 of Lake Township. That the Village will at its own expense make the necessary repairs and maintenance to preserve the condition of the highway, and will service said highway in regard to snow removal etc.” the agreement says.

        The case has been assigned to Judge Matthew Reger.

       

 

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