NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – A Howland woman made a personal plea Wednesday against the possible annexation of part of her township into the City of Niles.
“Everything across the street, City of Niles. So we are literally on the border,” Michelle Gooding said.
Annexation would mean parts of Howland and Weathersfield townships would become Niles.
Gooding has lived in her home on Ravenwood Drive in Howland Township for 25 years. She worries should annexation move forward, her property would be in Niles.
“We’re all up in the air,” Gooding said. “Our property values are going to severely decline. I’ve already talked to my insurance company. My homeowners insurance is going to go up, my car insurance is going to go up.”
One of the reasons she chose this house all those years ago was its close proximity to Howland’s fire station in Bolindale.
“It’s even more important now that my mom has Alzheimer’s,” she said.
Gooding is now a full-time caretaker for her 79-year-old mother, Jackie Hamamey. She said her mom is a fall risk.
“The delay in an ambulance could mean the difference between life and death for my mother, and that’s not a risk I’m willing to take.”
Since Howland Township voters passed a levy in November, the fire station a mile from her home will soon have an ambulance staffed full-time.
“We’ve enjoyed the fact that our tax dollars for Howland go to protect the residents with those services that we desperately need,” Gooding said.
The Howland Fire Department provides fire, rescue and medical services for people who live in the township.
“You will not receive a bill, if you are a resident of Howland Township, for an ambulance service,” said Howland Fire Chief James Pantalone.
However, for the people who live in the township who fear their property is in jeopardy should Niles be successful in their annexation, that too could change.
“The cost of a private ambulance can be absolutely outrageous and when you’re taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s, all your resources goes to that. There’s not much left over,” Gooding said.
This is just one person’s story. We are committed to telling you all sides and will continue to do so throughout the process.