UNION CITY, Ohio — State Rep. Jim Buchy made a special visit to the Union City village council meeting Monday evening.
Buchy presented a commendation to Mayor Scott Stahl honoring his record of service to the community on the occasion of his last council meeting. Stahl has served the village for decades but decided to step down rather than stand for election again. Council member Zach Pruitt will be the next mayor beginning Jan. 1.
Buchy, who is planning to retire at the end of his current term, Jan. 31, 2017, offered a brief summary of progress at the state level.
Buchy applauded the voters’ defeat of the recent marijuana legalization ballot initiative. He acknowledged, “There is a need, perhaps, for medical marijuana,” but he quickly added that he would oppose “any smokeable marijuana” for as long as he remains in office.
The state legislator praised the Mississinawa Valley School system and the local FFA program, noting that its success in his district is being reflected in its implementation in urban Ohio school systems in the Cleveland and Cincinnati areas.
Resident Paul Hartzell questioned council on the status of the blighted properties in town. Stahl responded to him that there may be a state program available next year to help with such properties. His statement met with enthusiasm from council.
Stahl distributed to council quotes received for the demolition to two blighted properties, one on North and one on Main. Council also voted to have the village take ownership of the property at 206 E. Main St.
Council passed ordinances to contract with Washington Township for fire and medical protection services. Temporary appropriations were set for 2016, and the income tax ordinance was amended to comply with changes in state law.
Stahl reported the village debt has been reduced by nearly 60 percent — from more than $1 million — over the course of the past four years.
Council discussed what will be done about two council seats that will be empty come the first of the new year. The seat now occupied by Pruitt will have two years remaining on its term, and Meta Sue Livingston opted not to seek re-election, so a full four-year term seat also will be unoccupied. Council decided to advertise for residents to submit a letter of interest to the village, specifying the two- or four-year opening, by Dec. 31. Those who submit a letter of interest also are requested to attend the Jan. 4 regular meeting.
Council has a month to select members to fill the vacancies. After that time, the mayor must appoint someone.
An announcement also was made that the last day for leaf pick-up will be Dec. 15.