Why Limited Home Rule Authority?
The limited home rule form of government gives broader powers to townships that enact it, and it allows a township and its citizens to be more proactive in creating legislation of benefit to those within the community. Limited home rule allows townships to enact resolutions to improve the health, safety and welfare of its citizens.
Limited home rule is comparable to having the authority of a municipality but with specified limitations expressed by state statute. The township may not exercise any power that conflicts with the general laws of the State.
Types of Legislation Permissible Under Limited Home Rule
- Adopting property maintenance codes
- Instituting building, plumbing, electrical, refrigeration, machinery, piping, boiler, heating, air conditioning, fire, fire hazard, fire prevention codes (where county has not adopted such codes)
- Establishing speed limits on township roads
- Passing nuisance and public safety resolutions
- Broader powers to regulate junk vehicles
- Passing curfew restrictions for minors
- Instituting recycling measures
- Instituting emergency traffic/parking ordinances
- Broader powers to enforce zoning codes, and other resolutions
- Regulation of parking, noise control, abating nuisances
- Regulation of manufacturers, dealers, peddlers and amusements
- Regulation of transient dealers and solicitors
- Regulation of noxious weeds, brush and litter
- Broader power to deal with other political subdivisions
- Regulation of public gatherings and concerts
- Regulation of parks and public facilities
- Impounding animals
- Regulation of street vendors
- Regulation of fences and signs
- Traffic and parking regulations
- Appropriate funds for community projects
Townships may, under limited home rule, collect civil fines and penalties up to $1,000 and use the courts to collect such fines and penalties.
Non-Permitted Legislation Under Limited Home Rule
- No resolution may be in conflict with the general laws of the State. Limited home rule grants broad authorizations to townships to act legislatively, so long as the action does not conflict with Ohio law, specifically in Section 504 of the Ohio Revised Code.
- No tax other than as authorized under the general laws. A township-wide income tax cannot be imposed.
- May not encroach upon the powers, duties, and privileges of elected township officials.
- May not modify the form or structure of the township government unless required by law.
- May not create a criminal offense or impose criminal penalties
- May not impose civil fines other than as authorized
- May not establish or revise subdivision regulations, road construction standards, urban sediment rules, or storm water drainage regulation.
- May not establish or revise building codes or standards or other standard codes except as authorized.
- No ability to establish regulations effecting hunting, trapping, fishing, or the possession, use, or sale of firearms.
- No power to establish or revise water or sewer regulations except as stated.
Other Benefits of Limited Home Rule
- Under the traditional form of township government, there are limits on the amount of indebtedness that can be incurred equal to 5% of the total assessed property valuation in the township. A commitment to increase debt requires a vote of the residents. Such debt can be committed only up to 10 years
- Limited home rule townships can expand upon debt options. The debt can be incurred up to 10% of assessed property value and of that 10%, 5.5% can be incurred on a trustee vote. The time period over which debt can be carried increases in some instances from 10 years to 30 years.
- Limited home rule gives townships authority to hire an independent engineer to work on roadway projects in the township with the approval of the County Engineer.
- Authority in areas not previously permitted to legislate.
- More powerful and efficient means of enforcing resolutions, collecting fines, and penalties for infractions.
- Direct promotion of quality of life for residents.
- Improved residential, industrial, and business development within the township.
Requirements for Columbia Township to Become a Limited Home Rule Township
Population greater than 3,500 – MET
Have an administrator- MET
Budget of $3.5 million or greater – MET
Hire township law director – MET
Establish police district – MET
Final Steps to Become a Home Rule Township
The electors of the unincorporated areas of the township must petition the board of township trustees to adopt a resolution to cause the board of elections to place the question of limited home rule government before the voters in the next general election occurring at least 75 days after the certification of the resolution. The petition must be signed by 10% of the electors of the unincorporated area of the township as determined by the total number of votes cast in the unincorporated areas for the office of Governor at the most recent election .If a majority of voters cast votes in favor of limited home rule government, it becomes the form of government on the first day of January immediately following the election.