At a February meeting, Clearcreek Twp. trustees publicly debated the terms of a new agreement with Springboro to help fund a new city park, limit annexations and split $1 million a year in property tax. STAFF/LAWRENCE BUDD STAFF/LAWRENCE BUDD
Photo: Lawrence Budd
Photo: Lawrence Budd

Clearcreek-Springboro deals split $1M a year, preserve partnership

The agreement also determines how much of more than $1 million a year in property tax goes to the city’s general fund, rather than to cover township expenses. It also prevents Springboro from breaking off and forming its own fire department.

Under the proposed new deal, the city would continue to refrain from creating a “paper township,” leaving Clearcreek Twp. and forming its own fire service, rather than sharing in the costs of and services of the Clearcreek Fire District.

“The city shall not form its own fire district during the term of this Agreement. Further, the Township shall have the exclusive right to levy taxes for a fire district within the entire limits of the of the City during the term of this agreement,” according to Section 4.

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Warren County Auditor Matt Nolan said this split of city and township has already occurred in Lebanon-Turtlecreek Twp. and Mason-Deerfield Twp. The cities gets all tax coming from property within their limits.

“By forming a ‘paper Township’, all of that money was taken from the Townships. Now Turtlecreek and Deerfield get no inside millage whatsoever from the incorporated areas of Lebanon and Mason respectively,” Nolan added.

For now, 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 During a February debate of the issue, Trustee Ed Wade told Trustee Steve Muterspaw annexation disputes are expensive and controversial.

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

Inside millage is the 10 mills in property tax collected without requiring voters to approve a levy.

In 2018, the township also received $719,000 in road and bridge inside millage on county property tax, according to Nolan. This is not split with the city, but to be used on township roads and bridges.

According to county property tax records, the township received more than $1.1 million in general fund inside millage in 2018.

Under the current arrangement, between 2018 and 2021, the city gets 25 percent, about $275,000.

The new agreement would split this in half for the next 10 years, with $500,000 of the township share going toward construction of Kacie Jane Park in Springboro.

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In February, the trustees delayed voting on the proposed new deal to give Muterspaw 60 days to win better terms.

On Friday, Muterspaw said he hesitated to lock in the township for another decade.

“There’s a whole lot of things that can be variables for the next 10 years,” he said.

Still after two sessions, the terms of the proposed new deal remain the same.

“As far as I know, nothing has changed,” Muterspaw said on Friday.

Trustee Ed Wade indicated the trustees would be discussing the new deal at last Monday’s meeting. He declined to comment on it until after this discussion. Wade did not respond to a request for comment after the meeting.

The trustees went into executive session at the end of Monday’s open meeting.

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It was unclear if the agreement was the subject of the closed-door session.

The township’s lawyer did not respond to a request to clarify the justification cited for the secret session.

On Friday, Muterspaw declined to comment on discussion during the closed-door meeting.

“I’m sure it was for an appropriate reason,” Muterspaw said.

Muterspaw indicated the trustees would vote on the proposed new deal at the next meeting.

The trustees’ next regular meeting is at 9 a.m., Monday, April 22.

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