TROY — The city of Troy is seeking to adopt legislation opposing a state issue regarding a constitutional amendment to reduce penalties relating to illegal drug crimes.
State Issue 1 would convert fourth- and fifth-degree felony drug possession charges to misdemeanors with no jail time for first and second offenses within a two-year period; keep drug trafficking crimes as felonies; prohibit judges from sending offenders to prison for probation violations other than new crimes; reduce prison time for offenders who participate in rehabilitation programs with the exception of violent and sexual offenders; and use funds reserved for prison services to be used for drug treatment and victim services.
A vote “Yes” would be in favor for the proposed State Issue 1 changes; a vote “No” would oppose the changes. Early voting began on Oct. 10. The issue will appear on the Tuesday, Nov. 6 ballot.
On Tuesday, the law and ordinance committee reviewed the proposal.
Director of Public Service and Safety Patrick Titterington said the city and law enforcement is concerned of the negative impact it would have on the community and region as a whole.
“We are concerned and we are asking the city be on record as opposing State Issue 1,” Titterington said.
“It is amazing to me that given the history of drug problems in the state of Ohio that someone would think this is a good idea,” said council member John Schweser.
Council member Todd Severt echoed comment and noted local court officials Ohio Second District Court of Appeals Judge Jeffrey Welbaum and local Common Pleas Court Judge Jeannine Pratt’s opposition to the state issue.
“I don’t want to get on a soap box, but I think there are some merits to looking at some alternate care for people who truly have problems, but that’s not the role of the constitution to be amended and it would best be served through the legislature so I would obviously oppose the issue,” Severt said.
Council member Bobby Phillips asked if there was any cost estimates how it would impact the city of Troy if it passed.
Titterington said there are no firm numbers of costs and some groups say it would save money, yet he pointed out that one of the proponents of Issue 1 claim if there were any cost savings it would be delegated to rehabilitation programs.
Titterington said due to the city of Troy being located off of Interstate 75, which is a known drug trafficking highway in the country, it would lead to local governments being negatively impacted. He also said if Issue 1 is passed, the state of Ohio could have one of the most lenient drug offense laws in the country.
The committee agreed to oppose Issue 1 with emergency designation. Council will review the recommendation at its next council meeting on Oct. 15.
In other committee news:
The finance committee will recommend a loan application for Chacres LLC from the small business development revolving loan fund for $100,000 for the purchase of 2 E. Main St. for the relocation and expansion of Haren’s Market.
Loan terms include a 30-year loan term, 4.5 percent simple interest, and collateral will be a second mortgage on the real estate and personal guaranties. Owner Connor Haren proposed to purchase the 2 E. Main St. portion of the building and convert it into Haren’s Market. As part of the purchase price of $375,000, Haren proposed to assume the existing two loans as well as the new request for a small business development loan. In the report, Abbey Credit Union will also loan funds for the project for remodeling and equipment purchase costs. The total cost of the project, including city loans, is $875,000.
Six months of deferred payment from the closing, followed by interest only payments, was also requested.
WEST MAIN CORRIDOR GRANT
The finance committee OK’d a request for the city to seek a Surface Transportation Program grant application for the West Main Corridor Project Phase 2. The grant would commit the city to paying no greater than 25 percent of the total project.
The grant was due to the Miami Valley Regional Planning Committee on Oct. 10. Titterington said the city recently learned they would be eligible for the grant.
The West Main Corridor project is from the Public Square to the Interstate 75 area. Improvements include widening of lanes, curbs and gutter, sidewalks and stormwater systems as well as a median adjacent to the Kettering’s Troy hospital and curb lawns. Phase 1 will be from the Public Square to Ridge Avenue and Phase 2 will be west of Ridge Avenue to the I-75 northbound ramps. According to the report, the ODOT Urban Resurfacing Project is for the entire length of the West Main Corridor. ODOT has agreed to work with the city of Troy for both phases with a funding split of 80/20. Phase 1 of the project is scheduled for fiscal year 2022 and will be bid in March 2022.