BACK TO NORMAL … Councils all across the county are getting “back to normal” since the covid restrictions have been lifted in Ohio. Seen here are (left to right) West Unity Fiscal Officer Sarah Higdon, Mayor Don Leu, and Council members Kevin Gray, Stephen Marvin, Terri Lebowsky, Mike Beals, Dave Short and Nathan Massie at the June 10, 2021 regular council meeting. (PHOTO BY REBECCA MILLER, STAFF)
By: Rebecca Miller
After the passage of the bills and the minutes for regular meeting on May 13, 2021 and special meeting on May 18, 2021 at the June 10, 2021 Regular council meeting, Mayor Don Leu explained to council of the need to remove a piece of legislation from the agenda.
Due to some confusion, they want to hold off on doing the readings of Resolution 05-2021-12, and get the details clarified before coming back to it.
Council approved waiting until Village Administrator Josh Fritsch can get things straightened out to make sure it is done correctly.
In his report, Fritsch announced that on June 14 they will begin the Summer Food Program, run by Noelle Chester, serving lunches from 11:45-12:15 to anyone who wants to come. They are still looking for volunteers.
Spring Pick up went well with $7,246.89 worth picked up. They put back $13,000 for the whole year of pick up so they might need to allocate more for the fall.
Mayor said they are going to be holding some discussion about people following the rules in order to have their trash picked up.
They are working on the Turnpike Plaza agreement. Due to the fact that the plaza has low flush toilets and no flush urinals, there is a high level of ammonia in the water. They are all looking at how to fix the problem.
They also get a lot of trash in the pumps and Fritsch said that Randy Mahlman is out there unplugging the pumps every week. There was some discussion of the water rates, and that they might need to go up as these issues continue.
The plaza wants to bring the rates down, so Fritsch has advised them to do something to stop those two problems. Attorney Katie Rakes has also been working with them.
Sidewalk replacement is looking really active this summer as a large number of residents are wanting to get their’s done this summer.
Of the $10,000 the village has allocated to assist residents in the cost, they have already had $8600 applied for by citizens.
Fritsch also reported that he had gotten an email that day from the Williams County Commissioners alerting the village that they have signed the Electric Aggregation Contract with Energy Harbor for 0.0459 per kilowatt hour, which is slightly lower than what the village had been paying. As West Unity is member of the aggregation.
Other items in his written report were:
-There have been no water main breaks since last meeting
-Water Tower project will be finalized soon
-ODOT will be putting in a Cross Walk at Kamco
-Bids will be accepted in the coming month for the next waterline project
-The first Mosquito spraying was done on June 9
Chief JR Jones reported that Julie Klinger had approached him that they will be having a Dog Parade at the Presbyterian Church at 11 a.m. on July 3. The police will be assisting with safety.
The other item he had was to remind everyone about the Egg N Fest parade and events at the park, which was scheduled to take place on June 12.
There were four tokens in eggs that would be given out and four children can win a bike. A $350 prize, and a Custom made egg by Bill McKinney, for the best of the 15 Mini Floats participating was to be awarded also. Dave Chester was scheduled to announce the floats. There was also a reminder of the Chicken Dinner at the park on the 11th.
Village Fiscal Officer Sarah Higden spoke about the renewal of the village’s CD, which is almost 20 years old, is up for renewal on June 16, for the Kissell Building.
Following some discussion, council approved a motion to “let it ride for another year” as the rates are not good right now.
Higden also reported that since the village signed up with RITA for tax collection, they have discovered that there are 192 delinquent families, that have not filed with the village.
The plan is to send out two letters alerting them to the need to pay the back taxes, before turning them over to the Attorney General’s office.
Council member Dave Short asked Higden to please let council know how much money that totals when it is all paid, adding that it should be pretty large amount.
She gave the good news that the village is getting a refund of $4,368 from RITA, and they are only being charged 1.37% instead of 3%.
In the Mayor’s Report to Council, Mayor Leu brought up the topic of the 11.2 acres of land which the village bought, that is located on CR 21, just south of Jackson St.
It was agreed that since building prices are so high right now, they will wait to do any improvements on that land.
They also let Fritsch now that they will have the attorney get paperwork together so he can rent it out for crops to an area farmer, until they are ready to use it. Council is hoping for prices to go down for lumber and also that they might be able to get a grant to help them when they decide what to do there.
His other topic was the possibility of a Splash Pad at the park. He and Fritsch have been checking around about the cost of water and the cost of upkeep for a splash pad and it is sounding quite expensive.
Mayor said he has applied for a grant for it and they should know by the end of June if they get one. He wanted to know if council wants to go ahead and put in a Splash Pad if they do get the grant.
Average costs to run one are hard to determine, and Higden said that the insurance is what would really be the most money they would have to spend.
Leu said that he has heard from some companies that they would be ready to donate to assist in the expenses.
In council members reports, they each thanked the village employees for the great job they all do. Councilman Steve Marvin brought up the topic of the $2000 which the village gives the park board each year.
There was some confusion as the Park Board asked for $4000 last year and Council had voted to give that to them, with the condition that they would skip the $2000 in 2021.
As Higdon was not around when that was in the minutes, she was unaware of that agreement and already gave them the $2000 this year.
Following quite a bit of discussion, it was agreed that since it was already in the budget for 2021, they would leave it as it is, as it is not the desire of the council to take the money back.
Marvin said he just wanted to be sure that the paperwork would be fine for Higdon and that she would not run into trouble with the auditor.
The final decision was to leave it alone, as it is a line item each year, and keep going with a $2000 donation each year. There was no need for a motion.
Other Council members:
-Terri Lebowski said she had told John Borton she would bring it up at council to consider whether the village would make a water adjustment for his pool.
There was some discussion, with the thought that as the village does allow for pool owners to have one adjustment each summer, that is what he got. Topping off the pool is up to the owners.
– Dave Short pointed out that the street light poles need to be painted as they are “a mess.” Fritsch said that Toledo Edison does it for free to the village but they may have been holding off as the village has been discussing getting new lights.
– Nathan Massie thanked the police department for the way they handled the vandalism on Sunday morning.
Apparently some tires were slashed and some words were spray painted. Chief Jones said that the case was all resolved.
Council went into Executive Session following the scheduling of Tree Committee and Safety Committee meetings to be held prior to the next regular meeting on July 8, 2021.
Executive Session was held “to consider the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion or compensation of a public employee or official.”
Rebecca can be reached at email@example.com