WAYNE LAKES — A Village of Wayne Lakes Council Meeting began with the swearing in of newly elected Mayor R. Ellen Brown, by Mayor Pro Tempore John McRoberts, Monday night.
In addition, incumbent council members Joan Falknor and Karen Sink were sworn in, with new member Melissa J. Capps. Following, a motion to accept Robert “Joe” Shumaker as council president was approved by council. Shumaker had been serving as president. Mayor Brown asked for patience, as re-organizing is still in progress, since the late Mayor Gary Lee Young passed away last year.
“Things are still moving forward,” she said.
Council discussed the process of getting a village office set up at the front of the garage. The cost is around $2,000 for work on walls, ceilings and lights, according to Mayor Brown. Office equipment will come from Young’s home, such as a computer and a printer, she said.
Complaints were made about the following: a resident encroaching on another resident’s property, Tecumseh Lake being full of soil and a dog that constantly barks. Advice was given to call the Darke County Dog Warden or the Darke County Sheriff’s Office. In the meantime, Mayor Brown said the village is seeking advice from village Solicitor Travis Fliehman, on formally notifying residents and issuing fines.
A new order of business brought some discussion from council and the floor. Former Mayor McRoberts said he had formed an ad hoc committee to interview engineer firms December 19, to start an investigative process into sewer options and finding grants for the village. According to McRoberts, Solicitor Fliehman was chair of the committee, with three more people, including Mayor Brown, who was not yet mayor. While three engineering firms showed interest, according to McRoberts, two showed up: Mote & Associates, Inc., and Access Engineering Solution, LLC.
“Access got the nod, because they seemed to be more open and flexible, and tried to present other options,” McRoberts said.
A request was made for council to approve to hire Access. The motion was tabled, due to objections from Councilwoman Melissa J. Capps. She requested more information on the project and objected to council’s ad hoc committee, claiming it did not follow Ohio Revised Code Section 713.01, that states the village council may establish a Planning Commission of five members, including the mayor, one council member, and three village citizens. She said she was also concerned about the possibility of the village being over taxed to pay for the system.
“We are a non-charter village, and we are making decisions as a charter village,” Capps said.
Comments from the floor included: concerns about the cost to hire the engineer; the legality of forcing residents to get the sewer system; the types of sewer systems being considered; and the possibility of raw sewage leaking into the drinking water, if a new sewer system is not installed.
“They are exploring opportunities, to see if there are grants they can get to off-set the cost to help us in the long run,” a resident said. “If we don’t do something, the village will not be fit to live in.”
Council President Shumaker said the planning committee wanted to look at other systems that did not include grinder pumps.
“There are other ways we can go,” he said.
One resident said that the village could not afford the sewer system.
“That is all we tried to do tonight, to get an engineering firm to explore, get prices, and find out what it will take to do this,” Councilman Mike Bland said.
“Access has its own grant funding, and we believe they will do everything in their power to underwrite everything,” Mayor Brown added. “We can’t get the cart before the horse. I appreciate your input and concern on this Melissa (Capps).”
Former Mayor McRoberts said he would discuss the objection of the ad hoc committee with Solicitor Flieman, and will return it to council next month.
In other news, Councilwoman Falknor received permission from council to pursue interest in a village carry-in for Saturday March 17. She suggested hiring a DJ and having games for the free event. Councilwoman Sink requested that everyone reply to their village newsletter emails, in an effort to validate working email addresses. Council voted to approve a permit allowing someone to trap in the village.
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