Chapter 703: CLASSIFICATION

703.01 Classification - federal census.

(A) Municipal corporations, which, at the last federal census, had a population of five thousand or more, or five thousand registered resident electors or resident voters as provided in section 703.011 of the Revised Code, are cities. All other municipal corporations are villages. Cities, which, at any federal census, have a population of less than five thousand, shall become villages. Villages, which, at any federal census, have a population of five thousand or more, shall become cities.

(B)

(1) No municipal corporation shall have its classification as a village changed to that of a city by virtue of there being counted, in determining the population of that municipal corporation, either of the following:

(a) College or university students in attendance at an educational institution located within the municipal corporation if the residential addresses of those students when not in attendance at the institution, or the residential addresses of the guardians of those students, as determined by the records of the institution kept by its registrar, are at a place other than the municipal corporation in which the institution is located;

(b) Persons under detention in a detention facility located within the municipal corporation if the residential addresses of those persons when not detained in that facility, as determined by the records of the facility, are at a place other than the municipal corporation in which the facility is located.

(2) After each decennial census, the secretary of state shall issue a proclamation certifying the number of permanent residents in a municipal corporation in which a college or university or in which a detention facility is located and the number of students attending a college or university or the number of persons detained in a detention facility located within the municipal corporation.

(3) As used in division (B) of this section, "detention facility" has the same meaning as in section 2921.01 of the Revised Code.

Effective Date: 10-29-1999

703.011 Village with more than 5,000 electors becomes city.

In addition to the method of determining classifications of municipal corporations set out in section 703.01 of the Revised Code, villages, which at the most recent general election had more than five thousand resident electors registered with the board of elections of the county in which the village is situated or, when more than five thousand resident electors have voted at the most recent general election, in such village, shall become cities. In such case, the board of elections of the said county shall immediately certify to the secretary of state the number of resident electors registered or voting within said village, and the secretary of state, upon receiving said certification from the board of elections, certifying that there are five thousand or more resident electors registered or voting within said village, shall issue a proclamation to that effect. A copy of the proclamation shall forthwith be sent to the mayor of the village, which copy shall forthwith be transmitted to the legislative authority of the village, read therein, and made a part of the records thereof. Thirty days after the issuance of the proclamation the village shall be a city.

Effective Date: 08-22-1995

703.02 Enumeration after census.

When the preliminary federal census report of a city indicates that such city will return to the status of a village, the legislative authority of the city may by resolution direct the city auditor to make an enumeration as provided in sections 703.03 to 703.05 , inclusive, of the Revised Code.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

703.03 Report of result of enumeration.

Upon presentation of the resolution as provided in section 703.02 of the Revised Code, the city auditor shall cause an enumeration of the population of the city to be taken and shall report the results thereof to the legislative authority of the city and to the secretary of state.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

703.04 Appointment of enumerators - compensation - duties.

Within five days from the time he is directed to cause an enumeration to be taken as provided in section 703.02 of the Revised Code, the city auditor shall appoint five persons to make the enumeration. The enumerators may be paid an amount necessary to assure competent personnel, but in no event shall the amount paid exceed ten dollars per day. Each person so appointed shall take an oath or affirmation to make such enumeration accurately and truly to the best of his skill and ability. Each enumerator shall be provided with a book in which he shall record correctly the name of each resident of the city with the name of the street and number of the house in which he lives.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

703.05 Time for completion - oath of enumerators.

Within ten days from the date of their appointment as provided in section 703.04 of the Revised Code, the enumerators shall complete the enumeration and return their books to the city auditor. With the return of the enumeration to the auditor, each enumerator shall certify with his affidavit that he has taken the census accurately and truly to the best of his knowledge and belief and such lists contain only the names of persons who were residents of such city at the time the said names were placed on the lists. Any officer authorized to administer oaths may administer such oath or affirmation, and take and certify such affidavit.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

703.06 Proclamation of population.

When the result of any federal census or an enumeration as provided in sections 703.02 to 703.05 , inclusive, of the Revised Code, is officially made known to the secretary of state, he forthwith shall issue a proclamation, stating the names of all municipal corporations having a population of five thousand or more, and the names of all municipal corporations having a population of less than five thousand, together with the population of all such municipal corporations. A copy of the proclamation shall forthwith be sent to the mayor of each such municipal corporation, which copy shall forthwith be transmitted to the legislative authority of such municipal corporation, read therein, and made a part of the records thereof. Thirty days after the issuance of such proclamation each municipal corporation shall be a city or village as the case may be.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

703.07 Status of city or village officers.

Officers of a village advanced to a city, or of a city reduced to a village, shall continue in office until succeeded by the proper officers of the new municipal corporation at the regular municipal election, and the ordinances thereof not inconsistent with the laws relating to the new municipal corporation shall continue in force until changed or repealed.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

703.08 Reduction to village by action of citizens.

A city, from which territory has been detached since the last federal census, may surrender its corporate rights as such city and be reduced to a village in the manner provided by sections 703.09 to 703.19 , inclusive, of the Revised Code.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

703.09 Content of petition.

A petition, requesting that the city, from which territory has been detached, surrender its corporate rights and be reduced to a village, signed by at least one hundred citizens of the city, shall be presented to the legislative authority setting forth that by reason of the detachment of territory the population of the city has been reduced to less than five thousand, and that a majority of the citizens thereof desire to surrender its corporate rights, and requesting that it be reduced to a village. Such petition shall also contain a prayer that the legislative authority authorize the taking of a census in the city for the purpose of ascertaining its population.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

703.10 Resolution to take census.

Upon presentation of a petition as required by section 703.09 of the Revised Code the legislative authority, by resolution, at its next regular meeting, shall authorize the city auditor to take a census of the city and report the result thereof to the legislative authority. The resolution need be read but once, and it shall be published as are other resolutions of a general or permanent nature.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

703.11 Census enumerators.

The city auditor shall, within five days from the time he is authorized to take a census as provided by section 703.10 of the Revised Code, appoint five persons to take the enumeration, who shall each be allowed by the auditor, out of his contingent fund, three dollars per day as compensation for services. Each such person shall take an oath or affirmation to make such enumeration accurately to the best of his ability. For the purpose of taking such census, each enumerator shall be provided with a book in which he shall record correctly the name of each resident of the city, with the name of the street and the number of the house in which such resident lives.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

703.12 Certification of enumeration.

Each census enumerator, with the return of the census enumeration to the city auditor, shall return the book containing the list of the names and addresses, and shall certify with his affidavit that he has taken and returned the census accurately to the best of his knowledge and belief, and that such list contains the names of all persons so enumerated and no others. The auditor or any officer authorized to administer oaths may administer such oath or affirmation, and may take and certify such affidavit.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

703.13 Resolution of surrender.

The census enumerators shall, within ten days from the date of their appointment, complete the enumeration and return their books to the city auditor. Such auditor shall then make an abstract of the enumeration and transmit it to the legislative authority at its next regular meeting after the report of the enumerators to the auditor. If the result of the census shows that the population of such city is less than five thousand, the legislative authority, by resolution, shall declare the corporate rights of the city surrendered and that each city is reduced to a village.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

703.14 Procedure upon failure to act.

If the legislative authority fails to authorize the city auditor to take the census of a city, or, if the auditor fails to proceed under authority properly given, upon the presentation of a copy of the original petition provided by section 703.09 of the Revised Code to the board of county commissioners, such board shall forthwith appoint five resident electors of such city as enumerators, who shall perform the duties provided in sections 703.11 and 703.12 of the Revised Code. Such enumerators shall take an oath or affirmation to take the census of the city accurately to the best of their ability.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

703.15 Transcript to be transmitted to legislative authority.

The census enumerators provided for by section 703.14 of the Revised Code, within ten days from the date of their appointment, shall complete their work of enumerating and return their books, duly verified, to the board of county commissioners. Such board shall then canvass the result of such census, and the county auditor shall make a transcript thereof and transmit a certified copy of such transcript to the legislative authority of the city for which the enumeration was taken. A copy of such transcript shall be spread upon the journal of the legislative authority and if the census shows the population of such city to be less than five thousand the legislative authority shall pass a resolution as provided by section 703.13 of the Revised Code, and the city shall forthwith become a village.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

703.16 Record of resolution - copy to secretary of state.

The city auditor , upon the passage by the legislative authority of a resolution surrendering the corporate rights of the city, shall make two certified transcripts of such resolution, one of which shall forthwith be delivered to the county recorder, who shall record it in the official records , and the other shall be forwarded to the secretary of state.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 41, HB 72, §1, eff. 1/30/2014.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

703.17 Effect of surrender of corporate rights.

The surrender of corporate rights by a city, as provided by sections 703.08 to 703.16 , inclusive, of the Revised Code, does not affect rights accrued or liabilities incurred by such city or the power to settle claims, dispose of property, or levy and collect taxes to discharge liabilities incurred. Such rights, liabilities, and powers, and the corporate character of such municipal corporation in respect thereto, shall remain in effect as though no surrender had been made.

After the presentation of a petition requesting such surrender, the city or legislative authority thereof shall not incur or create any new debt or liability, enter into any new contract, or increase the debts and liabilities of such city in any manner during the pendency of such petition until the result of the census is declared, except that current expenses may be paid or provided for.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

703.18 Collection and disbursement of taxes.

Taxes which remain due and unpaid at the time of the surrender of corporate rights pursuant to sections 703.08 to 703.16 , inclusive, of the Revised Code, shall be collected, and shall, with all moneys in the city treasury, be applied to the objects for which they were raised. Moneys which remain on hand after the debts and liabilities of the city are discharged shall be paid into the village treasury, and all property owned by the city at the time of the surrender shall become the property of, and the title thereto shall vest in, the village.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

703.19 Payment of expenses incurred by commissioners.

When the census of a city desiring to surrender its corporate rights as such city and be reduced to a village is taken pursuant to the order of the board of county commissioners under section 703.14 of the Revised Code, the necessary expenses thereof shall be paid from the county treasury as other county expenses, but shall be charged against the municipal corporation in which the census was taken, and the amount so paid by the county shall be retained by the county auditor from funds due such municipal corporation at the time of making the next semiannual distribution of taxes.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

703.20 Surrender of corporate power by villages.

Villages may surrender their corporate powers upon the petition to the legislative authority of the village of at least forty per cent of the electors thereof, to be determined by the number voting at the last regular municipal election, and by an affirmative vote of a majority of such electors at a special election, which shall be provided for by the legislative authority, and conducted, canvassed, and the result certified and made known as at regular municipal elections. If the result of the election is in favor of such surrender, the village clerk shall certify the result to the secretary of state and the county recorder, who shall record it in their respective offices, and thereupon the corporate powers of such village shall cease.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

703.201 Dissolution of village.

(A) As used in this section, "condition for surrendering corporate powers" means any of the following:

(1) The village has been declared to be in a fiscal emergency under Chapter 118. of the Revised Code and has been in fiscal emergency for at least three consecutive years with little or no improvement on the conditions that caused the fiscal emergency declaration.

(2) The village has failed to properly follow applicable election laws for at least two consecutive election cycles for any one elected office in the village.

(3) The village has been declared during an audit conducted under section 117.11 of the Revised Code to be unauditable under section 117.41 of the Revised Code in at least two consecutive audits.

(4) The village does not provide at least two services typically provided by municipal government, such as police or fire protection, garbage collection, water or sewer service, emergency medical services, road maintenance, or similar services. "Services" does not include any administrative service or legislative action.

(5) The village has failed for any fiscal year to adopt the tax budget required by section 5705.28 of the Revised Code.

(6) A village elected official has been convicted of theft in office, either under section 2921.41 of the Revised Code or an equivalent criminal statute at the federal level, at least two times in a period of ten years. The convicted official with respect to those convictions may be the same person or different persons.

(B) If the auditor of state finds, in an audit report issued under division (A) or (B) of section 117.11 of the Revised Code of a village that has a population of one hundred fifty persons or less and consists of less than two square miles, that the village meets at least two conditions for surrendering corporate powers, the auditor of state shall send a certified copy of the report together with a letter to the attorney general requesting the attorney general to institute legal action to dissolve the village in accordance with division (C) of this section. The report and letter shall be sent to the attorney general within ten business days after the auditor of state's transmittal of the report to the village. The audit report transmitted to the village shall be accompanied by a notice to the village of the auditor's intent to refer the report to the attorney general for legal action in accordance with this section.

(C) Within twenty days of receipt of the auditor of state's report and letter, the attorney general may file a legal action in the court of common pleas on behalf of the state to request the dissolution of the village that is the subject of the audit report. If a legal action is filed, the court shall hold a hearing within ninety days after the date the attorney general files the legal action with the court. Notice of the hearing shall be filed with the attorney general, the clerk of the village that is the subject of the action, and each fiscal officer of a township located wholly or partly within the village.

At the hearing on dissolution, the court shall determine if the village has a population of one hundred fifty persons or less, consists of less than two square miles, and meets at least two conditions for surrendering corporate powers. If the court so finds, it shall order the dissolution of the village and provide for the surrender of corporate powers in accordance with section 703.21 of the Revised Code. The attorney general shall file a certified copy of the court's order of dissolution with the secretary of state and the county recorder of the county in which the village is situated, who shall record it in their respective offices. Upon the recording in the county recorder's office, the corporate powers of the village shall cease.

(D) For purposes of this section, the population of a village shall be the population determined either at the last preceding federal decennial census or according to population estimates certified by the department of development between decennial censuses.

(E) The procedure in this section is in addition to the procedure of section 703.20 of the Revised Code for the surrender of the corporate powers of a village.

Effective Date: 08-29-2003; 12-20-2005

703.21 Rights and liabilities not affected by surrender of corporate power - disposition of township assets.

The surrender of corporate powers by a village under section 703.20 or 703.201 of the Revised Code does not affect vested rights or accrued liabilities of the village, or the power to settle claims, dispose of property, or levy and collect taxes to pay existing obligations. But, after the presentation of the petition mentioned in section 703.20 of the Revised Code or receipt of the audit report and notice mentioned in section 703.201 of the Revised Code, the legislative authority of the village shall not create any new liability until the result of the election under section 703.20 of the Revised Code is declared or the decision of the court of common pleas under division (C) of section 703.201 of the Revised Code is declared, or thereafter, if the result, in either case, is for the surrender of the village's corporate powers. If the auditor of state notifies the village that the attorney general may file a legal action under section 703.201 of the Revised Code, but the attorney general does not file such an action, the village shall not create any new liability for thirty days after receipt of the auditor of state's notice.

Due and unpaid taxes may be collected after the surrender of corporate powers, and all moneys or property remaining after the surrender belongs to the township or townships located wholly or partly within the village. If more than one township is to receive the remaining money or property, the money and property shall be divided among the townships in proportion to the amount of territory that each township has within the village boundaries as compared to the total territory within the village.

After the surrender of corporate powers, all resolutions of the township or townships into which the village's territory was dissolved shall apply throughout the township's newly included territory.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.141, HB 509, §1, eff. 9/28/2012.

Effective Date: 08-29-2003

703.22 Identical municipal and township boundaries.

When the limits of a municipal corporation become identical with those of a township, all township offices shall be abolished, and the duties thereof shall be performed by the corresponding officers of the municipal corporation. All property, moneys, credits, books, records, and documents of such township shall be delivered to the legislative authority of such municipal corporation. All rights, interests, or claims in favor of or against the township may be enforced by or against such municipal corporation.

Effective Date: 02-14-1967

703.23 Judicial notice of classification.

All courts shall take judicial notice of the classification of municipal corporations, and of their advancement, reduction, and surrender of powers.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953