LISBON - Columbiana County commissioners have officially received an annexation request that would result in the relocation of an East Palestine auto dealership to the annexed area.
Commissioners on Wednesday accepted the annexation petition filed with them by East Palestine Municipal Manager Gary Clark, which seeks to annex into the village 10.7 acres located in Unity Township.
The application was filed on behalf of Tom Brittain of Brittain Motors, which is located in downtown East Palestine. Brittain intends to relocate his Chevrolet dealership to property he owns at the intersection of state Route 14 and North Market Street, a move being required by General Motors.
In January, East Palestine council passed legislation to obtain funding to help cover the estimated $310,000 cost of extending village water and sewer service to the property, but it must be annexed first before that can occur.
The application was filed as a expedited type 2 annexation, which means the township trustees have no objection and it has the approval of all affected property owners: Brittain, Mark and Cynthia Powers, Anthony and Mary Ann Rich and the Imperial Heights Co., a Brittain-owned company.
The annexation filing came a week after East Palestine Councilman Don Elzer hosted a public meeting to inquire if any residents living in the vicinity of the annexed area wished to have their property included in the application. The meeting generated little interest among property owners, so the application submitted by Clark focused on the original annexation plan.
The annexation will automatically be approved by commissioners if and when the application is found to be in full compliance with the law. The earliest commissioners can act is about a month, depending on how quick village council approves the necessary resolution committing to provide utilities to the annexed area.
In other business, commissioners created a health insurance fund for the county health district in the auditor's office because the health department is planning to opt out of the county's employee health insurance plan and obtain its own coverage.
"We've haven't had the board confirm a plan just yet, but I expect them to do so at their March meeting," Health Commissioner Wes Vins said, when contacted after the meeting.
The news comes one week after the county engineer's office also decided to leave the county plan because of increased costs commissioners are passing onto employees and offices. County Engineer Bert Dawson said the change would save him an estimated $150,000 and prove cheaper for his employees.
"We have been exploring some health insurance options for our staff since last fall," Vins said. "We've gotten something for the board to act on but we needed to set up the fund to get the paperwork started."