XENIA — The City of Xenia Aug. 10 began the process of annexing Central State University.
A resolution was introduced during the regular council meting, authorizing a petition to annex 40.931 acres located in Xenia Township, which is part of the Ohio to Erie Bike Trail. That is the first the first of what will eventually be the annexation of 159.066 acres.
“This is a unique opportunity,” City Manager Brent Merriman said. “There’s mutual benefit. There’s very little downside.”
CSU and the State of Ohio — which owns properties east of U.S. 42 — intend to submit an annexation petition jointly with the city for the first phase under the Type 2 Expedited annexation process.
“The Central State Board of Trustees places a high value on the university’s ability to drive strategic initiatives that increase operational efficiencies,” said Mark Hatcher, chairman of the board. “Gov. John Kasich has required Ohio universities to pursue efforts that lower overall costs in order to make college more affordable. CSU’s financial benefits from this partnership are undeniable.”
CSU has obtained some city services in the past by paying surcharges for water services and entering into a special contract with the city for fire/EMS. This arrangement has provided some needed services but at a greater cost than if CSU were within the city, according to an analysis from the economic development advisory board,.
Annexation — the report indicated — will provide lower-cost access to fire/EMS and water services, enabling CSU to reduce costs and free up resources for purposes closer to the core of its mission. Annexation will also provide CSU with qualitative benefits from other city services such as police protection, roadway maintenance, professional planning, economic development, and public relations services, the report said.
For the city, annexation provides the financial benefit of income taxes from CSU employees and contractors, which exceed revenues that the city has received from special services agreements with CSU and utility surcharges. Annexation would net the city $158,960 in additional annual funds, according to the report.
While some of the increase in the tax base will be offset by the loss of the fire/EMS and water contracts, CSU will free up the resources to continue attracting more students, thus allowing the school to increase its employee base of 350 and ultimately add to the income tax base, Merriman said. Around half of CSU’s employees will experience incremental impact on their tax withholding in mid-2018, according to a release from the school.
Merriman called it a “fantastic strategic opportunity.”
According to a timeline presented to council, the resolution authorizing the petition is slated to be approved Thursday, Aug. 24, along with emergency resolutions stating what and when city services will be provided and buffering of incompatible land uses — both of which must be filed with the Greene County Board of County Commissioners within 20 days of petition filing). The petition will be filed with the county Aug. 25 and if there are no objections by Xenia Township, the county could grant annexation Thursday, Sept. 21 or 28. The city would then accept annexation via resolution or ordinance 60 days after receipt of record of the commissioners’ decision.
Once the first phase is completed, the city will pursue annexation of the campus and properties owned by the non-profit CSU Foundation.
Future phases of annexation will require separate, subsequent action by city council.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.