CERTIFICATE OF APPRECIATION … During the January 12, 2023 West Unity Village Council meeting, Mayor Don Leu presented a certificate of appreciation to Jim Eisel. Leu thanked him for all that he does for their community, for being involved in so many ways and always being ready to serve. (PHOTO BY REBECCA MILLER, STAFF)
By: Rebecca Miller
The January 12, 2023 meeting of the West Unity Village Council was opened in prayer led by Solid Rock pastor, Robert Rodriguez, which was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
The room was full and more chairs were brought in, as Jim and Pamela Eisel, Frank Routt, Williams County Commissioner Lew Hilkert, and three council members from Montpelier were present besides the normal number of people who attend to give reports.
Council voted to have President Kevin Gray remain in the position of president for 2023 before moving on to accept the bills and the minutes for the December 8, 2022 meeting.
Mayor Don Leu stepped down to the other end of the room and asked West Unity resident Jim Eisel to join him.
A certificate which stated that it was awarded “in recognition and appreciation for your hours of effort and selfless contributions toward the betterment of our community.”
Eisel’s wife, Pamela, was smiling as her husband accepted the recognition.
Leu stated, “He is one of our recent retirees, but this is not because of that. It is because of all the other stuff he does in town!”
“He has been on the fire department for multiple years (40 some), EMS for multiple years, works as a businessman here as he owns the mobile home park, and has done a lot for our community. I think he deserves this certificate of appreciation. Thank you for all you do.”
Mr. Frank Routt was invited to speak and he asked Village Administrator Josh Fritsch to explain his situation to council.
Fritsch shared some details about Routt’s concern over water going too close to his house.
He said that he and Randy Mahlman have considered using the camera to check the drainage but it won’t go that far.
They will need to do some actual digging in order to get the camera in and make sure it is cleaned.
He said they hope to get the drainage to work better so it does not go that closely to Routt’s house, probably in the spring “hopefully before the spring rains.”
They have also considered putting in a catch basin but are unsure that would be a good idea.
Next to address council were the representatives from Montpelier concerning the Wabash Cannonball Trail.
Councilor Chris Kannel was the spokesperson, with councilor’s Heather Freese and Nathan Thompson adding their thoughts off and on throughout Kannel’s presentation.
Commissioner Hilkert also added his thoughts for the county’s portion of the trail.
Kannel explained that they are raising funds to pay for a $46,000 engineering study, to be done by Poggemeyer, that will show them what can be done and how much it will cost to pave the trail from Montpelier to the Fulton County line.
The trail passes through West Unity, so the village is seen as a stakeholder in the trail and what happens with it in Williams County.
Montpelier owns from County Road 13 to County Road 17 and the county owns from CR17 to the county line.
The trail is part of their goal to bring more “active transportation,” any transportation that is not motorized, including walking, hiking, biking, and horseback riding, to the county.
Kannel said that for one entity to foot that big of a bill is too much, but with all the stakeholders pitching in for the study it can be done more easily.
They will be applying for grant funding after the study is completed. He gave a number of details about the trails and how they are funded.
He shared that for the study, they have already received $5,000 in donations from the Village of Holiday City, the Jefferson Township Visitor’s Bureau, a family foundation, the Village of Montpelier, Friends of the Montpelier Parks, and Williams County Commissioners.
Following some questions and lengthy discussion, with the biggest concern being that they will come back asking for more money and the assurance that they will not be doing that, council voted to approve a motion to make a donation of $5,000 for the engineering study for the Wabash Cannonball Trail.
Those who were there to make that presentation thanked the council for participating in this endeavor which Thompson said, “is drawing our communities together in unity and we will keep you posted as things move along”, and left for the rest of the council meeting, along with the Eisels and Mr. Routt.
Council moved into the legislative portion of the meeting, approving the following items:
-Resolution 28: Authorizing Village Administrator Josh Fritsch to participate in the State of Ohio Cooperative Purchasing program (2nd reading)
-Resolution 29: Expressing intent to sell personal property by internet auction pursuant to Ohio Revised Code (2nd reading)
-Ordinance 12: Establishing manufactured/mobile home parks “MH” as a residential zoning district; amending Ordinance 1137.01(b) to include an “MH” district; and adding a new chapter to the village’s zoning ordinance for the regulation of such districts, with suggested changes (2nd reading)
-Ordinance 2023-1: Permanent annual appropriation ordinance for current expenses and other expenditures of the Village of West Unity. This was a 1st reading only as they did not have a quorum to do 3mergency passage. A special meeting was scheduled for Monday, January 16 at 5:30 to try to get a quorum and pass it declaring an emergency, or at least do the 2nd reading.
Village Administrator Josh Fritsch gave his report, letting council know the following:
-The storm sewer project on East Church St. is complete except for a few items to wrap up.
-Bryan Excavating said that the water Line project for Jackson, Jefferson and Church streets will begin in April.
-Some of the military banners that were taken down were in bad shape and those who purchased them are being notified.
-He is continuing to work with MVPO (Maumee Valley Planning Organization) to apply for the CDBG grant for the Main St. water line project.
There was a water main break recently on the South Main line and those pictures will be added to the CDBG grant packet.
-He and Mayor Leu are working with JDRM Engineering to get the street light project going, and it is about ready to start.
-There is a street light at the corner of East Jackson and South Liberty that is going to be removed when Bryan Excavating replaces the water line that goes by it. A new one will be put there when the new streetlights are installed.
-County prosecutor’s office has let them know that they can do the consent judgement for the railroad track property if the village will pay the taxes on it.
Fiscal Officer Sarah Higdon scheduled a finance committee meeting for Thursday, February 9 at 6:30 to review with the two insurance companies who have given quotes.
She said that council can then vote on it at the March meeting.
Mayor Don Leu informed council members that they will not be changing the committee members for 2023.
He scheduled a parks meeting for February 9th at 7:15 and streets meeting for January 16th at 5:40.
A motion was made and approved to turn over the paperwork from Katie Rakes to new Village Solicitor Bob Bohner for the sale of the railroad property project.
Council members thanked the village employees for all their hard work.
Councilor Nathan Massie shared that he enjoyed tours given to him by Sarah Higdon, Josh Fritsch and Randy Mahlman.
He recommended that all council members have them do tours for them as it is extremely educational and helpful.
He then shared some deep concerns on the condition of the roof on the Oak St. Pump Station.
He said it is leaking heavily from the roof onto electrical panels and is in dire need of being addressed quickly.
There was some discussion about that and what option they want to go with to make sure no one gets hurt. Mayor Leu said that it will be discussed further.
They agreed that at least rates should be raised to cover the extreme cost of running it as it is, as it is costing a lot.
Massie said that Randy also pointed out some concerns with the sewer access at the pump station near Manivals.
He said there are possible safety hazards and that needs to be addressed as well.
“If the light goes off it means we are getting sewer backed up,” he said.
Fritsch said that it has been an issue for a long time and it does need to be addressed.
A motion was approved to go into executive session (at 9:10 p.m.) to consider the purchase of property (both real and persona, tangible, or intangible), or to consider the sale of property (either real or personal) by competitive bid if disclosure of the information would give a competitive advantage to the other side by division (G) (2) of section 121.22 of the Revised Code.
There was no action taken and the meeting adjourned.
Rebecca may be reached at email@example.com