Many people ask, what do the Township Trustees do?
State law authorizes Ohio townships to operate under a basic form of government and perform a wide variety of functions. There are 1,308 townships in Ohio and they are varied in population size, annual operating budget, and range of services delivered to residents.
Ohio townships most commonly provide residents with services such as road maintenance, cemetery management, police and fire protection, emergency medical services, solid waste disposal, and zoning. Ohio townships have direct responsibility for maintaining 41,000 miles of roads and streets, and townships manage more than 2,400 cemeteries.
The maintenance and repair of township roads is the largest function of most of Ohio’s townships today, and includes such activities as asphalt repair, snow removal and weed control. Ohio townships receive part of the state’s motor vehicle license fees and gasoline tax, as well as generating additional revenues through local taxation to fund road maintenance. Middlefield Township has approximately 22 miles of roads, some of which are shared with other townships.
Other Township Functions
Township trustees also have responsibilities for ditches, drains and other surface waters; line fences between adjacent properties; township hospitals or township hospital districts; and the control of weeds and brush. Trustees also have permissive authority to erect monuments to commemorate those who died in the service of their country, and a board of township trustees may provide artificial lighting when it is determined that public safety requires such lighting. The township may install its own lighting system or contract with an electric company.
Townships receive revenue from local property taxes and from the gasoline and motor vehicle license taxes, as well as the local government fund from the state. Increases in property taxes must be approved by voters. Townships collect less than 6 percent of local property taxes in Ohio.
Many people also want to know when and how trustees are elected?
Candidates for Ohio township office – as a trustee or fiscal officer – must be a resident of the township in which they are running for election.
Nominations of candidates for election as township officials must be made by a nominating petition, unless a majority of township residents have petitioned for a primary election. The nominating petitions must be signed by 25 township residents and filed with the county board of elections at least 90 days before the general election.
Township officials are elected on a nonpartisan ballot in the November general election, in odd-numbered years. The filing fee for candidates is $10.
Every other year, half of the township officials are up for election. Two township trustees were elected in 2017, and their term began in January, 2018. In 2019, the remaining township trustee and fiscal officer will also be up for election.
Township trustees and fiscal officers serve four-year terms, unless an official retires or steps down, at which point someone is appointed to carry out the remainder of the term. Term of office for a township trustee begins Jan. 1 following election, and township fiscal officers start April 1 after election.
Township trustees and fiscal officers must take an oath of office. That oath is administered by an elected or appointed official.