GREENVILLE – During a Village of New Madison City Council meeting, Feb. 6, a resolution was passed to allow Mayor Lisa Garland to sign the contract with the Ohio Department of Transportation (DOT) to complete the Safe Routes to School Project.
According to the DOT, the purpose of Safe Routes to School is to encourage and enable students, in grades K-8, to walk or ride their bicycles to school. Projects can either be engineering, such as improved crossings and sidewalks; or non-engineering, such as education and encouragement programs.
Mayor Garland said that she, some other village representatives and Grants and Funding Specialist Susan Laux with Mote & Associates did a walk-through on Main Street for the Safe Routes to School project that should be starting late spring or early summer. According to Laux, there are some areas with different – sized curbs and gutters. After the project is complete, all of the curbs and gutters will be the same. Council passed a motion to choose the 4-inch curb and gutter combo to replace the curbs, based on one of Laux’s recommendations.
“This will help us match up to all of the yards and keep everything draining towards the street,” Laux said.
Under Old Business, in response to a conversation from last meeting regarding safety at the the Tri-Village Schools crosswalk, and speeding drivers, Mayor Garland reached out to Tri-Village Superintendent Josh Sagester for help. She said he did not offer any ideas, but he is willing to support the council.
A continuing financial issue with the trash led council to approve an increase to each person’s trash bill by $2 per month. Fiscal Officer Roberta Hocker said subsidizing residents’ trash bills takes $500 out of the general fund each month.
“That is $6,000 a year we are covering on our trash bill,” she said.
Adding $2 will increase the residents’ total bill to $14.50 per month. In addition, Mayor Garland said they continue considering future options for trash disposal, as many residents have complained about Rumpke Waste and Recycling’s service quality. She said the contract with Rumpke lasts until 2018. Councilwoman Monyca Schlechty suggested Council get a quote from Best Way Disposal and to see if it is possible to get of of Rumpke’s contract.
“The quote that Best Way gave me over the phone – I think their lowest price was $15 – but Rumpke’s rate is going up January 18, Mayor Garland said. ”
In other news, the Fort Black Masonic Lodge, located at 118 E. Washington Street, in New Madison, has a new owner. Whitestone Development, Inc. (WDI) of Kettering, Ohio, recently purchased the building last month. WDI President Charles Reynolds said he is “open for business” and wants to rent the building now called “Heritage Hall” for community activities.
Reynolds requested reduced rates of water and sewage for the building. Some council members said they did not know of any churches or other buildings in the village getting reduced rates.
“I will forward this to the Board of Public Affairs (BPA) and then it will come back to us for final approval,” Mayor Garland said.
In an attempt to save money, council approved a one-year contract with Garbig & Schmidt law firm to serve the as Village Solicitor, at $130 an hour, effective in 30 days. The village was paying $175 per hour to a solicitor who could only attend the meetings once a quarter, according to Mayor Garland.
In a committee report, Councilwoman Nancy Hill said council needs to follow up on some letters sent to residents that need to clean-up their properties.
“A couple of the properties in town are atrocious and nobody should have to live beside them,” Hill said. “We either need to do nothing about them or prosecute them.”
Hill also said updates should be done on the employee hand-book, the zoning hand-book and the village ordinances.
“Everyone is going to have to help with that,” she said. “We have to go through them and get them on the computer. It needs to be done.”
Council President Doolin said he would have council committees finished by Friday.
Another concern presented by Council President Doolin is the village’s water tower. Grants and Funding Specialist Susan Laux with Mote & Associates said the tower is at least 75-years-old.
“We have ice chunks falling off of it, and I know that is only a winter issue, but it leaks in the summer,” Council President Doolin said.
“It is not small,” Mayor Garland added. “Drive by there when it is cold – there is a ring of ice.”
“That is our main water too,” Doolin added.
“If something happens to your tower, you end up having to bring in a tank to keep your water pressure up, the price is about $5,000 – $8,000 a week for the size you would need,” Laux said.
According to Mayor Garland, the Village has $79,000 in a water tower fund.
“I know we are in for a grant and we won’t know until May,” Council President Doolin said. “We have problems with it now that we have to address with the BPA. If we don’t get this grant, we are going to have to spend our money to buy one.”
Council passed a motion to persue the Duffield Street project. Laux said they are ready to start work on the storm sewer and widening the street.
A complaint was made about an old pizza shop building and shingles flying from the roof. Mayor Garland said she has been in contact with the Building Inspector and will call again to find out more information.
The next Village of New Madison Council Meeting is Feb. 27 at 7:00 p.m.