130th Ohio General Assembly
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(123rd General Assembly)
(Substitute House Bill Number 315)



AN ACT
To amend sections 505.37 and 5535.08 and to enact section 505.707 of the Revised Code to authorize political subdivisions to enter into agreements with other political subdivisions to obtain or provide road construction or maintenance services; to authorize political subdivisions to provide emergency road repair and maintenance assistance to other political subdivisions in this state; to authorize boards of township trustees to appropriate township funds to a 501(c)(3) organization that serves a community purpose; and to require the township law director of a limited home rule township, rather than the prosecuting attorney, to approve specifications for fire-fighting equipment.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio:

SECTION 1 .  That sections 505.37 and 5535.08 be amended and section 505.707 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:

Sec. 505.37.  (A) The board of township trustees may establish all necessary rules to guard against the occurrence of fires and to protect the property and lives of the citizens against damage and accidents, and may, with the approval of the specifications by the prosecuting attorney or, if the township has adopted limited home rule government under Chapter 504. of the Revised Code, with the approval of the specifications by the township's law director, purchase or otherwise provide any fire apparatus, mechanical resuscitators, or other equipment, appliances, materials, fire hydrants, and water supply for fire-fighting purposes that seems advisable to the board. The board shall provide for the care and maintenance of fire equipment, and, for these purposes, may purchase, lease, or construct and maintain necessary buildings, and it may establish and maintain lines of fire-alarm communications within the limits of the township. The board may employ one or more persons to maintain and operate fire-fighting equipment, or it may enter into an agreement with a volunteer fire company for the use and operation of fire-fighting equipment. The board may compensate the members of a volunteer fire company on any basis and in any amount that it considers equitable.

(B) The boards of township trustees of any two or more townships, or the legislative authorities of any two or more political subdivisions, or any combination thereof, may, through joint action, unite in the joint purchase, maintenance, use, and operation of fire-fighting equipment, or for any other purpose designated in sections 505.37 to 505.42 of the Revised Code, and may prorate the expense of the joint action on any terms that are mutually agreed upon.

(C) The board of township trustees of any township may, by resolution, whenever it is expedient and necessary to guard against the occurrence of fires or to protect the property and lives of the citizens against damages resulting from their occurrence, create a fire district of any portions of the township that it considers necessary. The board may purchase or otherwise provide any fire apparatus, appliances, materials, fire hydrants, and water supply for fire-fighting purposes, or may contract for the fire protection for the fire district as provided in section 9.60 of the Revised Code. The fire district so created shall be given a separate name by which it shall be known.

Additional unincorporated territory of the township may be added to a fire district upon the board's adoption of a resolution authorizing the addition. A municipal corporation that is within or adjoining the township may be added to a fire district upon the board's adoption of a resolution authorizing the addition and the municipal legislative authority's adoption of a resolution or ordinance requesting the addition of the municipal corporation to the fire district.

If the township fire district imposes a tax, additional unincorporated territory of the township or a municipal corporation that is within or adjoining the township shall become part of the fire district only after all of the following have occurred:

(1) Adoption by the board of township trustees of a resolution approving the expansion of the territorial limits of the district and, if the resolution proposes to add a municipal corporation, adoption by the municipal legislative authority of a resolution or ordinance requesting the addition of the municipal corporation to the district;

(2) Adoption by the board of township trustees of a resolution recommending the extension of the tax to the additional territory;

(3) Approval of the tax by the electors of the territory proposed for addition to the district.

Each resolution of the board adopted under division (C)(2) of this section shall state the name of the fire district, a description of the territory to be added, and the rate and termination date of the tax, which shall be the rate and termination date of the tax currently in effect in the fire district.

The board of trustees shall certify each resolution adopted under division (C)(2) of this section to the board of elections in accordance with section 5705.19 of the Revised Code. The election required under division (C)(3) of this section shall be held, canvassed, and certified in the manner provided for the submission of tax levies under section 5705.25 of the Revised Code, except that the question appearing on the ballot shall read:

"Shall the territory within ........................

(description of the proposed territory to be added)

be added to fire district,

(name)

and a property tax at a rate of taxation not exceeding ...... (here insert tax rate) be in effect for .......... (here insert the number of years the tax is to be in effect or "a continuing period of time," as applicable)?"

If the question is approved by at least a majority of the electors voting on it, the joinder shall be effective as of the first day of July of the year following approval, and on that date, the township fire district tax shall be extended to the taxable property within the territory that has been added. If the territory that has been added is a municipal corporation and if it had adopted a tax levy for fire purposes, the levy is terminated on the effective date of the joinder.

Any municipal corporation may withdraw from a township fire district created under division (C) of this section by the adoption by the municipal legislative authority of a resolution or ordinance ordering withdrawal. On the first day of July of the year following the adoption of the resolution or ordinance of withdrawal, the municipal corporation withdrawing ceases to be a part of the district, and the power of the fire district to levy a tax upon taxable property in the withdrawing municipal corporation terminates, except that the fire district shall continue to levy and collect taxes for the payment of indebtedness within the territory of the fire district as it was composed at the time the indebtedness was incurred.

Upon the withdrawal of any municipal corporation from a township fire district created under division (C) of this section, the county auditor shall ascertain, apportion, and order a division of the funds on hand, moneys and taxes in the process of collection except for taxes levied for the payment of indebtedness, credits, and real and personal property, either in money or in kind, on the basis of the valuation of the respective tax duplicates of the withdrawing municipal corporation and the remaining territory of the fire district.

A board of township trustees may remove unincorporated territory of the township from the fire district upon the adoption of a resolution authorizing the removal. On the first day of July of the year following the adoption of the resolution, the unincorporated township territory described in the resolution ceases to be a part of the district, and the power of the fire district to levy a tax upon taxable property in that territory terminates, except that the fire district shall continue to levy and collect taxes for the payment of indebtedness within the territory of the fire district as it was composed at the time the indebtedness was incurred.

(D) The board of township trustees of any township, the board of fire district trustees of a fire district created under section 505.371 of the Revised Code, or the legislative authority of any municipal corporation may purchase the necessary fire-fighting equipment, buildings, and sites for the township, fire district, or municipal corporation and issue securities for that purpose with maximum maturities as provided in section 133.20 of the Revised Code. The board of township trustees, board of fire district trustees, or legislative authority may also construct any buildings necessary to house fire-fighting equipment and issue securities for that purpose with maximum maturities as provided in section 133.20 of the Revised Code. The board of township trustees, board of fire district trustees, or legislative authority may issue the securities of the township, fire district, or municipal corporation, signed by the board or designated officer of the municipal corporation and attested by the signature of the township, fire district, or municipal clerk, covering any deferred payments and payable at the times provided, which securities shall bear interest not to exceed the rate determined as provided in section 9.95 of the Revised Code, and shall not be subject to Chapter 133. of the Revised Code. The legislation authorizing the issuance of the securities shall provide for levying and collecting annually by taxation, amounts sufficient to pay the interest on and principal of the securities. The securities shall be offered for sale on the open market or given to the vendor or contractor if no sale is made.

(E) A board of township trustees of any township or a board of fire district trustees of a fire district created under section 505.371 of the Revised Code may purchase a policy or policies of liability insurance for the officers, employees, and appointees of the fire department, fire district, or joint fire district governed by the board that includes personal injury liability coverage as to the civil liability of those officers, employees, and appointees for false arrest, detention, or imprisonment, malicious prosecution, libel, slander, defamation or other violation of the right of privacy, wrongful entry or eviction, or other invasion of the right of private occupancy, arising out of the performance of their duties.

When a board of township trustees cannot, by deed of gift or by purchase and upon terms it considers reasonable, procure land for a township fire station that is needed in order to respond in reasonable time to a fire or medical emergency, the board may appropriate land for that purpose under sections 163.01 to 163.22 of the Revised Code. If it is necessary to acquire additional adjacent land for enlarging or improving the fire station, the board may purchase, appropriate, or accept a deed of gift for the land for these purposes.

(F) As used in this division, "emergency medical service organization" has the same meaning as in section 4766.01 of the Revised Code.

A board of township trustees, by adoption of an appropriate resolution, may choose to have the Ohio ambulance licensing board license any emergency medical service it operates. If the board adopts such a resolution, Chapter 4766. of the Revised Code, except for sections 4766.06 and 4766.99 of the Revised Code, applies to the organization. All rules adopted under the applicable sections of that chapter also apply to the organization. A board of township trustees, by adoption of an appropriate resolution, may remove its emergency medical service organization from the jurisdiction of the Ohio ambulance licensing board.

Sec. 505.707.  A board of township trustees may appropriate from the township general revenue fund moneys not appropriated for any other purpose to an organization that the board determines serves a community purpose and that is exempt from federal taxation under subsection 501(a) and described in subsection 501(c)(3) of the "Internal Revenue Code of 1986," 100 Stat. 2085, 26 U.S.C. 1, as amended.

Sec. 5535.08.  (A) The state, county, and township shall each maintain its roads, as designated in section 5535.01 of the Revised Code; however, the county or township may, by agreement between the board of county commissioners and the board of township trustees, may contribute to the repair and maintenance of the roads under the control of the other. The state, county, or township, or any two or more of them, may, by agreement, may expend any funds available for road construction, improvement, or repair upon roads inside a village. A village may expend any funds available for street improvement upon roads outside the village and leading thereto to the village.

(B)(1) In the case of an emergency, any political subdivision having authority to repair and maintain roads or streets may provide emergency road or street repair and maintenance assistance to any other political subdivision if the political subdivision seeking to provide the assistance has adopted a resolution or ordinance stating that it will participate in the provision of emergency road or street repair and maintenance assistance within this state, on a case by case basis, whenever it is possible for that political subdivision to do so. The resolution or ordinance shall identify any employees authorized to provide that assistance outside the boundaries of the political subdivision.

(2) Chapter 2744. of the Revised Code, insofar as it applies to performance of road or street repair and maintenance services, applies to a political subdivision having authority to repair and maintain roads or streets that has adopted a resolution or ordinance under division (B)(1) of this section, and to the employees of such a political subdivision, when the employees are providing emergency road or street repair and maintenance assistance outside the boundaries of the political subdivision.

(3) Employees of a political subdivision who provide emergency road or street repair and maintenance assistance outside the boundaries of that political subdivision pursuant to a resolution or ordinance adopted under division (B)(1) of this section may participate in any pension or indemnity fund that their employer establishes and are entitled to all rights and benefits of Chapter 4123. of the Revised Code, to the same extent as when performing road or street repair and maintenance services within the political subdivision that employs them.

(C)(1) In nonemergency situations, any political subdivision having authority to construct, reconstruct, resurface, improve, repair, and maintain roads or streets may enter into an agreement, under terms agreeable to all parties, with any other political subdivision having that authority to obtain or provide road or street construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, improvement, repair, or maintenance services. The cost, if any, of services obtained under the agreement may be paid from general fund moneys of the political subdivision receiving the services, or from any other funds available for the repair and maintenance of roads or streets within that political subdivision.

(2) Chapter 2744. of the Revised Code, insofar as it applies to the performance of road or street construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, improvement, repair, or maintenance services, applies to a political subdivision having authority to perform those services that has entered into an agreement authorized by division (C)(1) of this section, and to the employees of such a political subdivision, when the employees are performing those services outside the boundaries of the political subdivision under that agreement.

(3) Employees of a political subdivision who perform road or street construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, improvement, repair, or maintenance services outside the boundaries of that political subdivision pursuant to an agreement authorized by division (C)(1) of this section may participate in any pension or indemnity fund that their employer establishes and are entitled to all rights and benefits of Chapter 4123. of the Revised Code, to the same extent as when performing those services within the political subdivision that employs them.

(D) As used in this section, "emergency" means a natural disaster, or a state of emergency as declared by the governor or a county sheriff, that has occurred or been declared in the county, township, or municipal corporation receiving emergency road or street repair and maintenance assistance authorized by this section.

SECTION 2 .  That existing sections 505.37 and 5535.08 of the Revised Code are hereby repealed.

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