AUSTINTOWN Home rule to get a hearing

The trustees said security at The Mill, a township nightclub, must be improved before next year.
AUSTINTOWN -- A hearing will take place next month so that residents can voice their opinions on limited self-government for this township.
Township trustees scheduled the hearing for 6 p.m. Dec. 10 in the township building. Ohio law requires trustees to have a public hearing before voting on limited self-government, called home rule.
Home rule would allow trustees to pass laws regarding the health, safety and welfare of township residents. They currently are only allowed to pass laws similar to laws set forth in the revised code.
Home rule has failed each of the three times it has appeared on the township ballot. However, the law still allows the three trustees to impose home rule, but they must do so unanimously.
Where trustees stand: Trustee-elect Bo Pritchard said several residents expressed their support for home rule to him during his recent campaign. He said he would like to have a hearing to discuss the issue in more detail.
Current Trustees Dave Ditzler and Richard Edwards have expressed support for home rule, but fellow Trustee Jeff Groat said he had no opinion on the issue.
Officials said they did not expect a vote on home rule before the end of the year.
Another matter: On Monday, trustees asked the township police department to oppose attempts to renew the liquor license of The Mill nightclub on South Raccoon Road. However, trustees added that they may take back the request if The Mill's owners improve security around the club in the next few months.
The state liquor control board is responsible for issuing and renewing liquor licenses. The board wouldn't hold a hearing on The Mill's license until next year.
Police have been called to the club's parking lot on several occasions in response to reports of fights, vandalism and theft. Trustees said they are willing to work with The Mill's owners to develop a security plan that will address some of the club's problems.
Trustees also announced that Pritchard had resigned from his position as an interim trustee. Pritchard was appointed by Groat and Ditzler earlier this year to serve in the place of former trustee Ken Carano until the Nov. 6 general election.
Carano resigned to become a state representative, and Edwards was elected on Nov. 6 to serve the remaining two years of his term. Edwards was appointed to the position Monday night pending certification of the general election results.
Pritchard and Ditzler were elected Nov. 6 to four-year terms as trustees. Groat did not seek re-election.

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