UNION CITY — The effort to start razing blighted properties in the village of Union City, Ohio, was slowed again at Monday evening’s council meeting, but it was done with a mind to public health concerns.
After months of discussion, the council finally had before it an emergency resolution to take possession of the property at 206 East Main St., but the property cannot be inspected for possible asbestos until after the village takes possession. The property could still be torn down, due to an EPA waiver that allows one property a year to be razed without an asbestos waiver. However, the property is surrounded by occupied structures and could pose a danger to public health if it contains asbestos — which is likely — and proper remediation measures are not taken.
Council members Brad Horsley and Michael Coning voted against taking possession of the property, so it passed with a vote of 3-2 in favor, with one member absent. As an emergency resolution, four votes in favor would be required to pass.
Horsley raised the objection of tearing down the house and potentially endangering neighbors if an inspection was not done. He also noted that if someone develops a health problem because of asbestos released into the air by tearing down the house, the village could be held liable.
The property cannot be inspected until the village takes ownership. The village currently has a quote of $4,400 to take down the house, but if remediation measures are required for asbestos, that could increase substantially.
Upon hearing Horsley’s objections, Council Member Meta Sue Livingston echoed her concerns for public health, and council voted to form a committee to address the issue, including finding out the potential cost of tearing down the property with appropriate asbestos handling.
Council members Horsley and Coning agreed to sit on the committee, as did Village Clerk Karen Stubbs, and community members Dick Grimm and Paul Hartzell.
In other business, council had three bid openings on the agenda — for trash hauling, for a farm land contract and for a cell tower.
Council voted to continue with Best Way out of Indiana for trash pick-up. It had the lowest bid of two received, at $11 per unit. Rumpke also entered a bid of $15.35 per unit.
Four bids were received for the 115.9 acres of farm land. Council gave that to the top bidder of J.J. Sargent Farms for $227 per acre. The current farmer, Kyle Warvel, bid $221 per acre. Other bidders were Matt Longfellow, $208 per acre, and Jamie Campbell of J&K Swine Farm, $180 per acre.
Two bids were received for 50-year contracts for the cell tower — one for a lump sum of $136,000 and one for $137,000, with payment options also included in both bids. Both bidders were represented through offices of the agency Lease Advisor, in California. Council opted to have the solicitor review the bid packages.
A public hearing was held on the vacation of 16.5 feet of alley situated between lots 251 and 252, from Main Street to Orange Street. Citing no objections, an ordinance will be prepared to be presented at the November council meeting.
Council members received the first draft of the 2016 village budget, which includes the needs of a new salt trucks, replacement of village pick-up trucks, a new police cruiser and an ambulette for the EMS.
Mayor Scott Stahl noted that brush pick-up will end Oct. 19, and leaf pick-up will begin Oct. 20. He also reminded the public that community members are still needed to serve on the park advisory board and the CIC.
The council also approved the Halloween schedule for Oct. 31. It is as follows: 3-4:15 p.m., trunk or treat at Railroad Park; 4:15-5:30 p.m., costume pageant and parade at the downtown park in Union City, Indiana; 6-8p.m., trick or treat in Union City, Ohio; 8-9:30 p.m., Halloween Jam at the police and fire building with free food and entertainment.