BRADFORD — The Bradford Council approved assessing costs to residents’ property taxes including the annual street lighting assessment during its meeting on Thursday evening.
The village will assess the total cost of $33,000 for street lighting, an increase of $1,000 from last year’s annual street lighting assessment.
The village also will seek reimbursements from specific property owners for overdue utilities and mowing conditions that the village abated. The total amount that the village will seek for overdue utilities will be approximately $1,506, and the total amount that village will seek for mowing costs will be approximately $489.
The costs of those special assessments will be submitted to the Miami County and Darke County auditors, who will then place those costs on the affected property taxes.
The council waived the three-reading rule for each of those resolutions.
The council then approved an ordinance updating its tax code, instructing businesses to file local taxes through the Ohio Business Gateway and waiving the three-reading rule.
The council also heard the second reading of an ordinance to increase the seriousness of charges for repeat offenses of property maintenance violations. Village Administrator Rick Looker previously explained that people charged with property maintenance violations are currently facing a fourth-degree misdemeanor. This ordinance would charge repeat offenders with a third-degree misdemeanor and higher up the scale if needed.
Looker, during his administrative report, discussed a need for a positive, village-wide impetus to inspire people to improve their properties in addition to legislation.
“I don’t think the strong-arm tactic is working,” Looker said.
The council discussed partnering with community organizations and churches. Looker and the council also discussed creating a plan to have resources available for residents consistently throughout the year, which Looker said could be “a form to grow upon for years to come.” The council decided to continue a discussion about what this plan might look like during a meeting in October.
In regard to property codes, the ordinance committee decided to meet on Aug. 30 to discuss drafting a policy and ordinance in regard to sheds and soft-sided structures.
Also during Looker’s report, he said the Wastewater Treatment Plant is having issues again meeting EPA regulations for phosphorus.
“We’re back to square one again,” Looker said. “The phosphorus has increased over the limits.”
Looker said there previously was enough phosphorus through biological means, but now the village needs to look at improving its chemical removal process of phosphorus.
Next, Looker discussed the village’s contract with Hometown Cable. The council approved renewing the village contract with Hometown Cable, which provides village offices and buildings with free internet access in exchange for Hometown Cable being allowed to have an antenna on the village’s water tower. The village is expected to use Spectrum for internet access at the village offices, but the village will still need Hometown Cable for internet access at the wastewater and water treatment plants.
Looker then advised the council on the old railroad property that the village owns, suggesting to the council that it complete an improvement study on the 30-acre property to find out possible uses for it and routes to take. Looker said he would look into firms suggested to him that complete those types of studies.
The council then went over costs for installing additional cameras within the village. The village’s current vendor provided estimates of approximately $7,711 for two cameras outside of the administrative building; $9,957 for cameras at the Water Treatment Plant; $5,166 for a camera on East Main Street at Liberty Street; and $8,158 for a camera at Klinger Road and State Route 721.
Council member Bob Daugherty said he personally believed the village needed those cameras, but he was unsure about staying with the village’s current vendor. The vendor was recently not available for a period of time when the village had a few cameras go down, so the council discussed the possibility of asking for a maintenance plan on the cameras. The council did not vote on any additional camera purchases during its meeting.
Earlier in their meeting, the council also discussed the issue of junk vehicles with Miami County sheriff’s deputies present during the meeting. The deputies said they will actively look at possible junk vehicles while in the village.
Council member Sandra Miller was absent.