After decades of being known as one of the nation’s most notorious speed traps, New Rome, Ohio, is no more. Franklin County Judge David Cain ruled Friday that the 12-acre village is dissolved. His ruling concurs with the efforts of Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro, who has been trying to put New Rome out of business since he was state auditor three years ago. Petro sought the elimination of New Rome under a new law that allows dissolution of villages with fewer than 150 residents if the state finds a pattern of wrongdoing or incompetence. The last census said New Rome has a population of 60, though the former mayor said it was 38.
Petro cited, among other things, that New Rome has no 2004 operating budget and may have violated state election laws. Mayor Connie Tucker has said she will appeal the ruling. In July 2003, then-Mayor Jaime Mueller disbanded the 12-member police department and padlocked the trailer used as headquarters. Over the years, thousands of motorists had been caught by New Rome police as they drove the 1,000 feet along U.S. 40, where the speed limit drops 10 mph to 35. The village, on the western edge of Columbus, collected an estimated $300,000 a year in traffic fines. New Rome police would sit at the town limits and monitor motorists’ speed. Police also cited drivers for such minor infractions as missing license plate bolts or failure to turn on headlights in the evening.