2011-08-20 / News

Opponents dominate input on single hauler contract

By Charles Prince

JACKSONTOWN - Last week’s unanimous rejection of a single contract to haul residential waste in Walnut Township seems to have energized opponents of a similar proposal in Licking Township.

Licking Township Trustees held their second public input meeting on the possible contract Monday night. The first session was July 5 where proponents slightly outnumbered opponents. Monday night only Ed Monroe representing the Dogwood Lakes Homeowners Association urged trustees to proceed with the single contract plan. Monroe has been asking trustees to move ahead since early this year. The subdivision spans Bowling Green and Licking townships. Monroe cites the benefits that the Bowling Green Township residents have received since the township contracted exclusively with Big O Refuse earlier this year. He wants members living in Licking Township to get the same benefits.

Like Walnut Township Trustees did, Trustee President Joe Hart opened the input session by asking for questions first. He was quickly asked why the matter was even being considered. “We taking input at the request of some of our residents,” Hart responded.

Other residents wanted to know if they could vote on the proposal or if there would be an opportunity for a referendum if trustees decide to proceed. Hart said he didn’t know if their decision would be subject to a referendum or if the issue could otherwise be put on the ballot. He promised he would have an answer before trustees make their decision.

Comments focused on freedom of choice and supporting local businesses. “Government has their hands in too much,” one resident said. “They don’t need to have their hands in our garbage.”

“I don’t think three guys (the trustees) should tell me who is going to be my trash man,” another resident commented.

Several residents said lower prices and better service were available from some small companies like CMI Waste. They want to continue to give their business to these small businesses because more of the money stays in the community.

Daniel Shackelford, President of CMI, said the single hauler contracts are threatening his company’s ability to survive. “Low rates are available,” he added. Hart asked him to confirm a July 5 comment that a $75,000 bid bond kept CMI from even bidding on the Union Township contract. He said that was the case. Shackelford told The Beacon after the meeting that CMI has offered low rates and will do so again to the Dogwood residents in Licking Township.

After spending nearly an hour on the issue, Hart said he doubted trustees would formally seek more public input. He also said that trustees would be making their decision on the merits of the opinions, not some effort to add up the numbers of those in favor and those opposed. Several opponents had challenged Monroe’s right to assert that he represented 32 families that favor a single contract without presenting a signed petition.

In other business Monday night, The Shelly Company of Thornville was the only bidder on the township’s annual road resurfacing contract. After a brief discussion, trustees unanimously agreed to accept the $197,190.20 proposal. Shelly proposes to start by Sept. 15 and finish by Nov. 15. Hart asked Trustee Dave Miller, who has primary responsibility for township roads, to ask Shelly to move up the finish date if at all possible. The work includes resurfacing a bridge on South Fork Road and he wants that work done before November.

Roads to be resurfaced are:

• White Chapel from west end to Lake Drive: $25,192.80;

• South Fork from Heath corporation limit to White Chapel: $49,584.60;

• Davis Drive from Lake Drive east across the former railroad tracks: $40,555.80;

• Lexington Avenue: $13,323.60;

• Mount Vernon Avenue: $13,323.60;

• Zanesville Avenue: $12,596.40;

• Lancaster Avenue: $8,653.40; and

• Amherst Drive: $33,950.00

With the exception of Amherst Drive, the other roadways will receive a two-inch asphalt overlay. The currently failing concrete Amherst Drive in Harbor Hills will be totally replaced. The concrete will be removed and replaced with a three-inch aggregate base topped with a total of three inches of asphalt.

Hart followed up on an issue that former Perry County Commissioner and Thorn Township Trustee Thad Cooperrider had raised at the August 1 meeting. Cooperrider leases property on the west side of Ohio 13 across from the Hilltopper Restaurant. He told trustees that he had sold produce at the site since 2008 and started constructing a permanent structure there this spring to grow plants and flowers as well as sell produce. Cooperrider said he checked with township zoning inspector Joe Walker on whether he needed a permit for the structure. After confirming its use for agriculture, Cooperrider said Walker told him that a permit isn’t needed.

Cooperrider said Jack Pryor of the Licking County Building Code Department issued a stop work order on May 27, quickly followed by an adjudication. Coopperrider is appealing that action and wants something in writing from Walker to document what happened. He asked for a Notice of Violation if Walker now believes the structure doesn’t qualify for the agricultural exemption or a Certificate of Exemption if he still agrees with his original position.

While emphasizing that he wasn’t telling Walker how to handle the issue, Hart suggested that he first talk with the township’s legal counsel in the prosecutor’s office before giving Cooperrider anything in writing.

“I’m not requiring a permit,” Walker said August 1. “I’m satisfied it is agriculture.” He added that he planned to take Hart’s advice. “I either want it to be OK or a violation,” Cooperrider said.

“I haven’t given him a letter nor have I heard from him (Cooperrider),” Walker told Hart Monday night.

In public comments, Monroe said problems have come up again on Somerset Road at its intersection with US 40. He said Robert Snedden Sr., who has had a long running dispute with trustees about the encroachment of Somerset Road on his property, is obstructing the view of the stop sign with a sign and has once again placed obstructions in the roadway.

“The rocks are actually in the road,” Hart said. “If they are on the road we have to take them off.” He asked Monroe to report the rocks to the sheriff’s office before the township removes.

At this point, the sign isn’t obstructing view of the stop sign based on a report from two deputies responding to a complaint filed by Trustee Ron Acord.

The trustees next regular meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 6 due to the Labor Day holiday. Meetings are held in the Licking Township Fire Co. Station 3 on Jacksontown Road (Ohio 13).

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