UNION CITY – Union City, Ohio, Council voted Monday night to suspend the last mayor’s court in the county.
Interim Chief Mark Ater, of the Union City Ohio Police Department, spoke to council at the March meeting to recommend eliminating Union City’s mayor’s court. Ater said the venture has been costing the village money for years, and the duties could easily be transferred to Darke County Municipal Court.
Ater noted a particularly excessive expense was when a person with an outstanding mayor’s court warrant was picked up by law enforcement in a different jurisdiction, it is the obligation of Union City Police to pick that person up and transport them back. This is particularly problematic as it could occur at any time, and Union City no longer has 24/7 police coverage. Also, when it does occur when a police officer is on duty, it means that officer has to leave the jurisdiction, and Union City is left without coverage.
Kathy Marker, court clerk for Union City, spoke in March in favor of keeping the court.
The matter was presented for a vote at Monday’s meeting, with Michael Coning, Shane Crawford, Vickie VanTrees and Duane Pouder voting in favor of suspending the court. John Fields voted against it, and Brad Horsley abstained.
Council also voted to reinstate the random drug testing policy for village employees, upon request by Fire Chief Pam Idle.
Council also heard a presentation from Chris Oakes, of Pavement Solutions Inc. Oakes explained the economic advantage of preserving and maintaining the village roads to extend their useful life and postpone the need for complete repaving work. The Federal Highway Department, Oakes said, is now recommending to municipalities that they take care to preserve their roads and adequately maintain them to both save money and keep the roads in better condition longer.
Oakes, who has been in the pavement preservation business for 30 years and has owned his own business for the past 16 years, explained lower cost options, including crack sealing to keep water out and help prevent potholes, slurry seal and microsurfacing.
Oakes explained that the roads are evaluated section by section, and those in moderate condition are given maintenance. As the prevention and maintenance program continues, newer parts of the roads are maintained, allowing the life of the road to be extended from 10 to 20 years.
Pamphlets and price lists were distributed to council, along with photos of work the company has done.
In other business, council passed a resolution in support of Darke County Parks for its 2016 Community Parks Improvement Grant Program.