MC Commissioners unwillingly OK annexation


By Eamon Baird

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TROY — The Miami County Commissioners reluctantly voted to approve a petition authorizing the annexation of 296.236 acres from Bethel Township to Huber Heights on Thursday, Feb. 22.

The commissioners issued the following statement in a press release:

“The Commissioners voted to deny this annexation petition in April 2022 despite immense legal pressure. Unfortunately, the Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second Appellate District, mandated that the commissioners approve the petition. The Court’s decision has provided the board with no legal option but to approve this recent petition.

“The board is profoundly disappointed and concerned with the inaction of the state of Ohio and its legislative representatives to preserve the rights of township residents impacted by expedited type 2 annexations. The impact of these annexations on utility infrastructure and the county’s exemplary school systems is profound,” the statement continued.

Despite the unanimous disappointment of the board in its legal obligation, we ask that this be a call to action in the following ways:

1. The city of Huber Heights Council has not yet approved the annexation. It’s important to note the portions of the city are already in Miami County. As such, the city’s elected officials should be accountable for considering the county’s best interest. The commissioners encourage Miami County residents to attend the next city council meetings and express concern.

2. Contact state legislators across Ohio to encourage reform of this legislation.

Commissioner Greg Simmons also read a portion of a letter the commissioners sent to the city of Huber Heights Council on Jan. 30.

“We kindly request your opposition to the annexation in consideration of both the democratic values that we uphold and the responsibility that we share as neighboring legislative bodies,” Simmons said.

The commissioners unanimously voted to approve the annexation but stated their disappointment with the vote.

“We must act according to the laws that are written, not necessarily how we wish they were written,” Commissioner Wade Westfall said. “I want to thank the citizens of Bethel Township and especially their trustees for their efforts on this matter.”

“This needs to change,“ Commissioner Ted Mercer said. “I know we’ve done some due diligence to try to help make that change. I believe in the rule of law. The law is structured today whether we like it or not. We as commissioners must approve this type of annexation.”

“To simply have a board of commissioners rubber stamp these decisions is not acceptable. When the future of our counties is at stake, accountability needs to be held at the legislative process,” Westfall added.

Julie Reese, a resident of Bethel Township, spoke to the commissioners during the meeting.

“Thank you for all you have done to this point to delay this annexation, but as you already know, I am in disagreement with your vote today,” Reese said.

The next Huber Heights City Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 26, at 6 p.m.

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