The Toledo City Council will be mailing out a survey rather soon to residents living just outside the city limits asking about their attitudes about annexing into the city – that is – bringing their properties inside the city limits.
While the first reaction might be, “Why should I annex inside the city – my taxes will go up?!” Mayor Billie Jo Smith says that may be true but there are both cost reductions and new freedoms given to property owners who might want to develop their properties to an extent not necessarily allowed by county zoning. Other benefits could include better police protection since very stretched county sheriff’s patrols frequently mean delayed responses for calls.
Mayor Smith also points out that those who annex into the city would have their water bills cut in half, if they’re already getting their water from the city. Sewer and water service extensions would be a lot easier to provide. And those who would like to develop their land to higher densities than allowed in the county, annexation into Toledo would mean higher density city zoning would translate into a much higher rate of return on anything property owners might want to pursue.
Annexation could also mean better street maintenance.
There is also a longer range benefit in having Toledo’s growth areas better planned and laid out – with parks properly created in the right places. Bicycle lanes and in-city hiking and biking trails could more efficiently connect neighborhoods. Such a plan could also establish shopping closer to residential areas so car trips to and from stores would shortened. Baskets on bicycles might once again come into vogue.
So if you live just outside the Toledo city limits, you’re likely to get an “Annexation Survey” in your water bill or in the mail. It’s also likely you’ll be able to take the survey on the city’s website: CityofToledo.org Depending on how the survey goes, it will determine what the next step might be in formulating costs and savings for those who are considering “living in the city” as something desirable. If the city comes up with solid figures of costs, savings and other benefits, the city council would then be in a position to put such an annexation expansion on a future city ballot.
Should Toledo build a new municipal pool?
Another major issue facing Toledo is its aging municipal swimming pool. It’s at last 50 years old and the roof that was put over the pool as an after thought is getting…shall we say…rather worn. Incidents of torrential downpours, heavy winds or substantial snow loading can force the pool to shut down for extended periods – all in the interest of public safety.
Over the past few years, the city has studied the costs of renovating the pool but a consensus these days appears to point to a new pool. Fixing up the old one would be costly as well, and you’d still have an old pool.
A group of pool enthusiasts have been tasked with coming up with a plan for a new pool and to analyze various methods of funding it. The council this week said it wants to establish a timeline on getting the plan ready for action. And part of that action may involve establishing a special Toledo Area Parks and Recreation District that would spread the cost of the pool over a much larger area than just the city – since many people who don’t live in the city use the pool as well.
Mayor Smith says swimming lessons for youngsters is literally a life safer for many families. A new swim center would attract far more users, including Baby Boomers, who love to exercise in water – it’s easier on the joints – and it’s indoors! And the pool could attract some of the local, regional – even statewide swim team events.
So swim center boosters have their “grass roots” work cut out for them. The council says if they get busy and begin assembling the feasibility study for a new pool, the council will continue to subsidize the current pool through the end of this year. And if they come up with a viable proposal on the kind of pool the town would like to see and use, along with a funding scheme to reduce its load on the city budget (and it is quite heavy at the moment), the council would keep the current pool open through the end of 2017.
So we’ll see how it goes on a brave new effort to keep Toledo in the swim center business!