By DENISE DICK
The township is looking for ways to ensure developers or businesses that put a drain on resources help foot the bill.
One possibility is development impact fees on new or expanding businesses or subdivisions. These fees would be assessed to a property owner based on the projected impact the development will have on community services.
Administrator Jason Loree said the township has asked the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s office to research such fees to determine whether the township should pursue them.
“We’re a home-rule township,” Loree said. “We can do a lot things that cities can do.”
Loree said the township isn’t singling out any company. But the idea was broached with WalMart officials who visited about a month ago to talk about expanding the Doral Drive store into a super store.
The company hasn’t submitted any blueprints or plans to the township, Loree said.
Wal-Mart officials couldn’t be reached last week.
A printout of police dispatch calls to the discount store shows 640 calls between January 2009 and last week. The calls include accidents, abandoned vehicles and fraud, but most are for shoplifting.
“Every time there’s a shoplifting call there, we lose a police officer off of the streets for one to two hours,” said Trustee Thomas Costello.
If officers respond to a private-property crash at the same time, that’s another officer off of the road, he said.
“If we have six or seven officers on the road and two of them are there, that’s a third of our department” that’s on duty, on patrol at one time, Costello said.
The township believes that the owner should help pay for that, he said.
When Loree and trustees traveled earlier this year to Columbus for the annual Ohio Township Association meeting, they spoke with representatives of other townships that use impact fees.
One of those townships is Hamilton in southwest Ohio, also a home rule township.
That township enacted the fees in 2007 and the implementation survived a court challenge late last year.
Read the full story Monday in The Vindicator and on Vindy.com.