City Law Director Declines to Invalidate Courthouse Ordinance
On Wednesday, September 25, 2019 the Save Your Courthouse Committee presented a written demand that the Medina City Law Director invalidate Medina City Ordinance 98-19. That Ordinance authorized the City to spend potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars for the planning and design of a joint Medina Municipal and County Courthouse. The Ordinance initially gave $133,000 of City taxpayer’s money to Medina County towards the City’s 25 per cent share of the cost for the City/County Courthouse project. The emergency passage of the Ordinance violated the Charter of the City of Medina.
On October 11, 2019 the City Law Director declined to invalidate the Courthouse Ordinance. In the correspondence the Law Director cited a 1951 case that relied on a statute that has since been repealed to declare that Ordinance 98-19 was valid. The October 12, 2019 headline “Ordinance Ruled Valid” was referring to the expected statement of the Medina City Law Director that the Medina City Ordinance is valid.
Taxpayer Lawsuit Will Likely be filed if Law Director Does Not Take Action
If the Law Director does not take the necessary steps to invalidate the Ordinance, Save Your Courthouse Committee plans to file suit to invalidate the Ordinance. Ohio law requires that the City Law Director be given the opportunity to invalidate the Ordinance before a taxpayer lawsuit. The Law Director has until October 16, 2019 to take the requested action. The Save Your Courthouse Committee is prepared to file its taxpayer lawsuit if the Medina City Law Director declines to act.
City Courthouse Money Ordinance is Invalid
Ordinance 98-19 is invalid because its enactment violates the City Charter. The City/County Courthouse demolition and construction project is a joint project of the City of Medina and Medina County. Under the Medina City Charter when the City engages in a project with another entity, the enabling ordinance cannot be passed as an emergency. Ordinance 98-19 was passed as an emergency. The Committee contends that the Ordinance, that authorized City funds for a joint City/Council project could not be validly passed as an emergency.
Initiative Petition Not Allowed on Ballot
Previously, the Committee collected more than 1,000 signatures to prevent the City from spending taxpayer money on the Courthouse project without a vote of the people. On September 17, 2019 the Ohio Supreme Court rejected the Committee’s request for additional time to gather more signatures.
There is no provision in Ohio law for a county-wide vote that is started by citizens. Only the Medina County Commissioners can put it on a countywide ballot.
Law Suits Filed Against Medina County Entities Dealing with Courthouse
Two law suits that were filed in Medina County Common Pleas Court allege that Medina County kept the Courthouse project secret. If the law suits are successful, the County Commissioners will have to scrap the architects and the $2.66 million contract and begin again. We hope to convince them to stop the entire project.
You can read the lawsuits here:
What Our Public Officials Think:
Those that do not think the people deserve a vote?!:
County Commissioner Bill Hutson said that the people should not have a vote (on 7/11/2019).
State Rep. Steven Hambley said that the people should not have a vote (on 7/22/2019) .
County Commissioner Pat Geissman stated she was in favor of the Courthouse Project (on 8/13/2019).
Commissioner Colleen Swedyk said that she was not for a vote of the people (on 8/27/2019).
Please contact your public officials and let them know we deserve a vote!