EAST PALESTINE — The possibility of joining forces with Unity Township for economic development is back on the table, according to two members of council.

On Monday, Councilman DJ Yokley said he and Councilman Doug Simpson met with Unity Township trustees during their trustee meeting to discuss a Joint Economic Development District (JEDD).

The village had discussed that possibility in May of 2016 on its own, but at that time some township residents were reportedly not in favor.

It now appears the township is warming to the idea.

“The response for that has been overwhelmingly positive and we are looking forward to working with them on a much bigger scale,” Yokley said.

In a JEDD the village would receive a portion of taxes levied without having to annex property, and the township could still collect property taxes and receive municipal water.

It would not involve police protection, however.

Simpson said an economic district gives more leeway for utility services as opposed to annexation, which was attempted in recent years but was not successful.

The village has wanted to run water and sewer utilities up North Market Street near the township in an effort to attract more economic development.

“We think with the economy the way it is, the timing is now to get it out there, and the trustee felt the same way,” Yokley said.

When or if a formal decision is reached, the township and the village would then need to enter into a contract to create a JEDD.

In other business, the village approved:

— Giving a second reading to legislation increasing pool fees at the park by $1 for daily admission and pool party rentals.

— Giving a second reading to legislation authorizing an encroachment agreement for 130 Concord Dr.

— Giving a second reading to legislation amending the income tax law to fall in line with state changes.

— An executive session to discuss pending litigation. No action was taken.

A finance committee meeting was set for 6:30 p.m. prior to the regular April 23 meeting.


Article originally published in the Morning Journal