2011-05-07 / News

Grants may be drying up for Buckeye Lake Village

By Scott Rawdon

BUCKEYE LAKE – After bagging literally millions in federal and state grants in the last several years, Buckeye Lake Village may be forced to come up with its own resources for future projects.

“Funding is not looking real good,” Mayor Rick Baker told Buckeye Lake Village Council member sat their April 25 meeting. Baker recently met with government representatives, including State Senator Tim Schaffer, to talk about grant funding availability.

Schaffer said he spoke briefly with Baker at a recent function. “ I agree that Buckeye Lake should qualify for a lot of programs and would certainly have my support in its application.”

However, Buckeye Lake residents shouldn’t hold their breath.

“My guess is, without researching specific programs yet, since the state ‘well’ is running dry and I know much of the federal ‘well’ is running dry, perhaps programs are still there on paper but money has not been appropriated or has run out,” said Schaffer. He said he and Baker discussed Local Government Funds, or LGF, and other sources of state revenue. Schaffer said LGF is slated for a 50 percent cut over the next two-year state budget in the “as introduced” version of the state budget. “The House may change it and I am sure the Senate will, too, if the House doesn’t,” he said.

Schaffer said the bottom line is federal and state resources alike are tight – very tight. “We have to make government work within this difficult economy with reduced revenue because an increase in taxes would send Ohio off the edge into a deeper recession and kill jobs,” he said. “We can’t do that, so we have to work with what we have.” Schaffer said he believes the good news is some things are being changed, like local government mandates, at the state level so local governments can better manage their money and resources. “We’ve got to keep them and their budgets in mind through this recession, as well as the state budget,” he said.

In other village news:

• Baker said he’s trying to gather as many government representatives and interested people as possible for a meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 9, at the Village Offices to “make sure everyone is on the same page” regarding cleaning up some properties around the village and continuing to demolish uninhabitable homes.

“I want to do everything I can financially and legally possible,” said Baker Wednesday. He said there’s some “controversy” in the village regarding the best method to accomplish Baker’s goal and he’d like some vigorous discussion. “We’ve made a lot of progress,” he said, regarding cleaning up some village properties, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.

Baker said his priority is to clean up properties and demolish derelict homes along Ohio 79, which travels through the center of the village. “Those are the ones I’m talking about,” he said. Baker said some property owners refuse to give the village permission to address their properties and he’s wondering if there’s any way to force the issue reasonably. He said he doesn’t like the idea of government telling people what to do, but some properties, particularly along Ohio 79, are in such poor condition that they’re affecting neighbors’ property values. “Maybe we can put some more teeth into our legislation,” said Baker, who’s open to all suggestions.

• Anyone driving golf carts on Buckeye Lake Village streets will be doing so illegally for a little longer. Council members have tabled ordinances that would allow “underspeed vehicles,” such as golf carts and ATVs, to roam the streets. “We may have to have a certified inspector for underspeed vehicles,” said council member Clay Carroll, who said the ordinances would be tabled until further notice.

According to the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office’s Underspeed Vehicle Information Packet, the Village of Canal Winchester in Fairfield County is a “golf cart community – an underspeed vehicle is four-wheeled and has a top speed of 20 miles per hour or less, or was not originally designed to operate on highways. Here are the steps necessary to prepare an underspeed vehicle for highway travel:

• Inspection fees must be paid.

• In Fairfield County, someone from the sheriff’s office contacts the vehicle owner to schedule a time for inspection.

• Proof of state minimum liability insurance coverage must be presented at the time of inspection.

• Next, the vehicle owner takes the inspection certificate, proof of insurance, and proof of ownership to the title office, where a certificate of title is issued.

• Finally, the vehicle owner takes the aforementioned items to a deputy registrar, who will verify all the steps are complete, then issue license plates for the vehicle.

According to the information packet, underspeed vehicles must be operated in accordance with all Ohio Revised Code motor vehicle laws, including having a valid driver’s license and adhering to legal alcohol consumption limits.

• Council President Charlene Hayden said she and council member Kaye Hartman discussed adding a member to council’s Finance Committee, increasing membership to four.

“In the process, we determined that it may be good to increase the number of council members on each committee,” said Hayden. They believe doing so would provide a better chance of having more committee members attend committee meetings. “So we thought about having four people on each committee, which would require each council member to chair one committee and sit on three others,” she said.

• No council members objected to transferring the former Catfish Charley’s restaurant liquor permit to Donatos at the Lake, which purchased Catfish Charley’s.

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