Annexation to Massillon—What it would mean to you:
- Government that meets your needs
- Full-time Departments
- Increased Services
- Professional police and fire protection
- Greater representation that is responsive to you
- Imaginative Leadership
- Identification with a strong and growing City
Frequently Asked Questions About Annexation
What does annexation mean?
ANNEXATION HAS MANY BENEFITS. Annexation occurs when citizens of an unincorporated area (a township) petition to become part of a neighboring city. It is a matter of landowner rights. When the landowners in an area near a City determine it is in their best interests, they petition to be annexed.
Must I be notified before my property can be annexed?
YES. When an annexation is proposed, (whether by private citizens or the City government) the land owners of the area are notified. This is because the land owners usually have a meeting with city officials to express their opinions about annexation. If a majority of landowners in an area desire annexation, an annexation petition is prepared and signed after a public hearing.
How does annexation work?
OHIO ANNEXATION LAW PROTECTS THE RIGHTS OF PROPERTY OWNERS. Annexation occurs using strict procedures under the Ohio Revised Code. In order to start an annexation, some part of the proposed area for annexation must touch the city’s existing borders. A majority of the land owners in the proposed area must agree by signing a petition for annexation. The petition is then sent to the Stark County Board of Commissioners for approval. Notifications and publication of the petition and the hearing required by law are made. Then, after a public hearing, the annexation is granted and the City accepts the properties into the City.
What happens to my real estate taxes upon annexation to Massillon?
YOU SAVE MONEY. Generally, real estate taxes are lower for landowners in the City of Massillon than for landowners in the townships because they have to pay for levies through their real estate taxes. Your property value stays the same or goes up upon annexation. Some examples.
Will my child attend the same school if my property is annexed into Massillon?
YES. Your child will continue to attend the same school. School districts do not change due to municipal annexation. However, because the State of Ohio has an open enrollment policy, your child could change school districts if you so desired. Portions of the City of Massillon are in Jackson Local, Perry Local and Tuslaw Local School Districts. Massillonians are Tigers, Polar Bears, Panthers, and Mustangs!
Will annexation benefit the school district?
YES. Annexation generally means growth for the area through new construction. Since most annexations contain some undeveloped land, eventual development of that land adds to the tax base of the City and the School District. Of course, until development of vacant lands occur, the effect on the School District is neutral—the schools continue to receive the same funding from the annexed land as before annexation.
How will my sanitary sewer rates be affected if my property is annexed into Massillon?
YOU SAVE MONEY. The City of Massillon has lower sewer rates than does Stark County. By the existing agreement between the City of Massillon and Stark County, you will become a City sewer customer upon annexation. Compare rates per year.
I have a septic system that works fine. Can I keep it if my property is annexed?
YES. The EPA requires that any person whose property line is within 200 feet of a sanitary sewer system must hook up to the system, regardless of whether you live in a township or city. The City of Massillon is committed to eventually extending sanitary sewer to all city residents. However, some areas added to the City through annexation are still served by functioning septic systems. If your septic system fails, you will have to replace it at considerable cost (between $8,000-$12,000). Upon annexation, the City of Massillon can provide you with sanitary sewer hook-up to your property for $50, compared to the County’s fee of $470-$650. You then pay the annual fee outlined in question 5 in quarterly installments.
I keep horses and other livestock on my land. Will I be able to keep them upon annexation to Massillon?
YES. By Ohio law, the City must allow you to continue any legal use of your land that you maintained in the township. Your current zoning classification from the township will continue until it is brought under the City zoning classification that is closest to the township zoning class. You will then have the option of requesting a different zoning classification if you so desire.
I have a farm. Does annexation benefit me?
YES, YOU BENEFIT. Farming has long been a vital part of the City of Massillon’s commercial and cultural heritage. Massillon was perhaps the first City in Ohio to adopt an “agricultural” zoning classification (in 1985). To date, a number of landowners in the City have requested and received agricultural zoning. Typical “city” restrictions have been removed or relaxed for agricultural lands in the City. You can still farm commercially, hunt, trap, discharge firearms, and perform all of the farming functions as in the townships. And “city” services and amenities are available.
How does paying a city income tax benefit me?
YOU CAN SAVE MONEY. Particularly on property taxes. The reason that property taxes in cities are generally lower (in many cases by a great deal) than in the townships is that taxes on income mean less taxes on property. The income tax is seen as fairer than property taxes by most taxpayers. The income tax is only on earned income (investments, retirement/pension fund payments and social security payments are not taxed), so retirees generally do not pay city income taxes. Also, the income tax is a flat tax, meaning everyone pays the same rate. There is no penalty for earning more. Further, the income tax is on people who work in the City and use our City services and resources. They, too, pay a fair share meaning City residents have to pay less to provide the same level of services. And the current 1.8% tax can only be increased by a vote of the people, which is how the current tax was approved. If you already work in a city that has an income tax, like Canton (2%) or Akron (2%), you do not pay any additional income tax to the City of Massillon, because Massillon grants full credit for municipal income taxes paid through their workplace outside of Massillon. If you work in a city with a lower income tax rate than Massillon (North Canton has 1.5%) you pay only the difference between Massillon’s tax rate and that city’s rate. For example, if you work in North Canton, you would pay 0.3% to Massillon. If you work in the City of Massillon, you already pay this income tax. You DO NOT pay twice.
How does City government compare with township government?
CITY GOVERNMENT IS MORE RESPONSIVE TO YOUR NEEDS. A city is run by a Mayor elected every four years, and nine Council-members elected every two years. Of the nine Council Members, six are “ward” Council Member whose specific job it is to represent your interests and those of your neighborhood; only the voters of that ward vote to elect that representative. Administrative duties are shared by elected officials (Auditor, Treasurer, Law director) and various appointed officials who provide technical expertise. Nearly all of these are full-time officials and employees. City Departments provide the services and amenities that are part of City life. Because Cities have “home rule”, an important Constitutional right not available to townships, the citizens of a City can determine the type and amount of government they desire. They are not limited in the services they can choose. There is a strict separation between the lawmaking and administrative roles. Thus, your representatives make the laws and other officials (mostly full-time) are responsible for carrying out the services.
Township government is run by three Township Trustees and a Clerk-Treasurer elected every four years. No one Trustee represents you specifically or is accountable directly to you. You must compete for a Trustee’s attention along with all other township residents. Part-time Township Trustees are charged by law with combined lawmaking as well as administrative duties. So it is more difficult to provide a high level of services to their citizens. Services are restricted to those specifically permitted by the Ohio Revised Code. The Township form of government was designed and intended (and works best) in sparsely populated rural areas. With the urbanization of the area, many feel that Township government is not responsive to their needs.
Would Massillon City government benefit ME?
YES. City government provides many services, funded by its income tax, that townships simply cannot offer. The City of Massillon provides a Community Development Department, Building Department, Economic Development Department, Street Department, Engineering Department, Safety Department, Sewer Department, Planning Department, Waste Collection Department, Parks and Recreation Department and its own Health Department. Massillon also provides street lights to its residents. In addition to these resources, the City of Massillon is served by a Law Director, as well as Building and Zoning Inspectors. Little, if any, of these services are provided by townships.
Among the greatest advantages of living in the City of Massillon versus a township are the services of its Police and Fire Departments. Massillon’s Police Department is 55 officers strong. While Jackson and Perry Townships offer full-time police departments (although limited in size), townships like Tuscarawas and Bethlehem have limited, if any, full-time police protection and are served by the County Sheriff.
Massillon is proud of its 48 full-time firemen and paramedics. While Jackson Township does offer a full-time fire department, Perry, Tuscarawas and Bethlehem Townships are served by volunteer departments. It stands to reason that a full-time fire department and paramedics that is manned 24 hours a day, with strategically placed fire stations, would have faster response times than those of a volunteer department. Response times for the City of Massillon Fire Department are approximately 2 and a half minutes in nearly all cases.
Finally, when it comes to providing services for citizens of Massillon, City government has broad authority to respond to its citizens and their needs. The City can adopt its own criminal and traffic ordinances to better serve its taxpayers. Townships are limited to the State’s already existing code of law, and have no authority to adopt ordinances that could better serve the local community.
I want to have my property annexed to Massillon—how do I start?
Contact the City of Massillon’s Annexation Consultant or the Mayor’s office at the numbers listed below and tell them that you are interested in annexation. They are here to assist you in getting an annexation area proposed and starting a petition.