Patience with rutted streets wears thin
BUCKEYE LAKE – While Buckeye Lake Village’s torn up streets are a blessing for auto mechanics who do front-end work and tire dealers, residents have had enough.
“The roads are in far worse condition that they ever were,” resident Kitty Zwissler told the council members Monday night. Installing a public water distribution system left the village’s streets in shambles and repaving is still several weeks away. She wondered who is responsible for following up with the contractors who dig the trenches in the road.
Resident Karen Deutsch asked why federal grant money is being used to demolish derelict homes the Buckeye Lake Park Co. owns, yet grant money cannot be used to repave the roads it owns, namely the Carlin Addition. “Nothing can be done about our streets,” she said, adding that she understood that Carlin Addition residents must pay for some of the repaving when others in the village aren’t required to do so. She also wondered why Klotz Street appears nearly fully paved. “Something’s wrong with that,” said Deutsch.
ME Companies engineer Jack Christy said streets will be patched until a contractor is selected to repave the streets early next month. He said that Klotz Street was so mangled that it took nearly a complete layer of asphalt to get it to the point where it’s passable. He said the asphalt does not cover the road’s full width and it’s a thin layer. Christy said the village will advertise for paving contractors June 16 and will likely choose a contractor July 7.
Council member A. Kaye Hartman assured everyone that the roads are far from being finished. “They’re not done; it’s not the end of the story,” she said.
Buckeye Lake Service Director Tim Matheny said Tuesday that village officials are discussing the possibility of paving private streets like the Carlin Addition, provided the streets are turned over to the village afterward and it’s accomplished with money earmarked for the project, not the village’s general fund.
Zwissler said a friend who could really use some of the $100,000 block grant money set aside to help low income property owners connect their homes to the distribution system was denied because the house she owns is on leased property. Zwissler said it’s important for as many people as possible to connect to the water system to keep everyone’s costs down and it bothered her that her friend was denied.
Tuesday, Licking County Development Specialist Beth Jones said the Ohio Department of Development is providing the funds and according to its rules the homeowners receiving the money must also own the land except for those with a life estate or a 99-year lease. She said the reason is probably because the water line is considered to be a permanent improvement to the property and will stay with the land regardless of what structure, if any, is there. “The landowner is ineligible because she is not an owner-occupant,” said Jones.
In other council news:
• For those squinting to read the lettering on the village’s new water tower, never fear. It’s about to be much larger. Eighty inch lettering will replace the original 42-inch lettering. “This is our billboard to advertise the village,” said Mayor Rick Baker. “We want this (water tower) to be our pride and joy.” The size of the lettering was simply underestimated. Baker said it will cost roughly $6,800 to repaint the letters, but, coincidentally, the price of the tower came in roughly the same amount below the original esti mate because some soil testing was unnecessary.
• The Buckeye Lake Community Action Committee raised $1,520 to purchase a welcome sign for the Village Gateway entrance on Ohio 79. The sign should be in place by Independence Day. Donors were Buckeye Lake Community Celebration Committee, Buckeye Lake Eagles Ladies Auxiliary, Cranberry Bay Homeowners Association, Sharon Haines and Laura; Linda Hengst and Betty, Jim and Sue Ward, Bill and Mary Muryn, Joy Pratt, Hope Walley, Chet Hauck, and The Shopper.
• Director of Development Valerie Hans said the demolition project is “moving right along” with seven uninhabitable properties will be demolished during the next two weeks.
• Council member Donna Thompson asked that an ordinance issuing $21,173.50 in bonds to purchase a Ford F-250 pick-up truck for the water department be tabled until she better understood the purchase. Matheny said the village already approved the funds and Park National Bank, the lender, requires the village to approve the bonds. “The truck is needed, we have to have it,” he said. “It’s water department money.” Matheny said the bonds will repaid through water bills. Currently, a village employee is using his own truck to manage the water system, which could be a major liability for the village.
“That’s the way Park National Bank does it now,” said Matheny, adding that it used to be a lease to purchase agreement. Now the bank buys the bonds from the village and the village makes payments to Park National Bank. Bonds will be retired in five years with a 4.58 percent annual interest rate. The ordinance was unanimously approved.
• Buckeye Lake Youth Association Director Jackie French said the association wants to sponsor a carnival July 24 and asked council to dedicate a parking area and asked for volunteers for the dunk tank. Council agreed to organize a parking area and Baker volunteered for the tank.
• Council President Charlene Hayden said Mathew Trombetta, Weathervane Playhouse artistic director who was killed in a traffic accident June 13, was her neighbor and will be sorely missed. “He’s done a lot of good in this community,” she said.