Effort to change county government to protect aquifer drilling

The Williams County Alliance is petitioning to have voters decide if Williams County government should be ran by a charter.

Posted: Apr 1, 2019 9:39 PM
Updated: Apr 1, 2019 10:19 PM

BYRAN, Ohio (WFFT) - There is an effort to change the form of government in Williams County.

The Williams County Alliance is petitioning to have voters decide if Williams County government should be ran by a charter.

All meetings start at 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 2
Bryan Eagles
221 S. Walnut Street, Bryan

Thursday, April 11
Edon Community Center
320 Parkway, Edon

Tuesday, April 16
Montpelier Fire Station
107 S. Monroe, Montpelier

Tuesday, April 23
Kissel Building
509 N. Liberty Street, West Unity

Tuesday, April 30
Northwest Township Building (Former Cooney School)
15180 SR 49, Edon

This is in direct response to Artesian of Pioneer's proposal to drill wells in Fulton County, Ohio and sell the water to municipalities around Toledo.

The alliance has opposed this plan and has tried to stop it for nine months, with no success.

That's why it is proposing a charter form of government.

"The Ohio Constitution, under article 10, allows a group of citizens to put together a county charter petition," said Sherry Fleming, Williams County Alliance chairwoman.

There are two forms of government for municipalities in Ohio.

The most common is a statutory government, which means local officials don't have much power and the community operates under state laws.

A chartered municipality means local officials can set their own laws. Today, there are only two counties in Ohio with charters, both are in the Cleveland area.

The City of Van Wert is considering becoming a charter city.

The Williams County Alliance wants a charter form of government to protect the Michindoh Aquifer.

"The charter has language in it which would recognize the Michindoh as an ecosystem and it gives rights to the aquifer and give it legal standing in a court of law," said Flemming.

Toledo voters recently approved a similar measure with Lake Erie.

It is unclear if it will hold it up in court.

AOP CEO Ed Kidston said the Williams County proposal won't hold up to stop the project.

"A lot of times we are pumping water across county lines, we've even done it across state lines," Kidston said.

Williams County commissioners are looking into the charter.

The Williams County Alliance said it needs 1300 valid signatures to get the charter on the ballot in November.

It is hosting informational meetings on the issue in April.

All meetings start at 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 2
Bryan Eagles
221 S. Walnut Street, Bryan

Thursday, April 11
Edon Community Center
320 Parkway, Edon

Tuesday, April 16
Montpelier Fire Station
107 S. Monroe, Montpelier

Tuesday, April 23
Kissel Building
509 N. Liberty Street, West Unity

Tuesday, April 30
Northwest Township Building (Former Cooney School)
15180 SR 49, Edon

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