2013-05-04 / Editorials & Letters

Maybe no business in Kirkersville

Editor:

A local TV station reported an incident with Laurelville’s Police Chief Mike Berkemeier. I’m sharing this story since Berkemeier is a former Kirkersville Police Chief and, in my opinion, was one of the worst police officers I have ever encountered.

The headline on one story reads “Police Chief Recovering After Eating Cake Laced With Pot” and another headline reads “Ohio Police Chief Accidentally Scarfs Down Daughter’s Cake Laced With Weed...” Regardless, both stories are pretty much the same and explain that Berkemeier found a cake on his kitchen counter Easter morning and ate the whole thing without realizing it was baked with cannabis oil. It was brought into the house by his daughter’s friend according to the stories.

After eating the cake, Berkemeier begins to feel like he was “dying” and drives himself to the police station, a few blocks away, where he was allegedly met by medics. Berkemeier says he didn’t remember much of the drive and all he could think to do was to drive to the police station. So how did the medics know to meet him? Why would a police officer’s daughter have friends who would consider bringing a ‘pot cake’ into the house? Why didn’t he have the medics come to him rather than risk driving and causing harm to someone since he was impaired? Maybe Berkemeier should do some law enforcement in his own home!

On the other hand, I have had the pleasure of meeting two GREAT police officers from Hebron. They saved the life of an animal and I will share the story when they complete their investigation.

And, according to public records in Kirkersville, it’s business as usual..or maybe NO business. The town is looking like a ghost town and it may not get any better! Kirkersville has a “right-of-way fee” in place. Here are some direct quotes from the February and March council minutes:

Mayor Ashcraft said we need to discuss the right of way fee and asked Council what they wanted to do about it. Brian Zets said we need to look at whether or not Council wants to adjust the current application fee of $1,000 and also whether or not they want to adjust the current mileage rate, the rate that people will pay per mile to use the right of way which is currently $10,000 for the first mile and it then it’s a graduated scale depending how many miles you use over the first mile. Council member Woods said she wants to keep the application fee at $1,000. Council concurred with her. Council member Paglione said we need to make sure that is nonrefundable. Brian said it is not refundable, there is no language in the ordinance that says it is refundable so he will assume that it is not. He said the $1,000 application fee is fairly consistent with the Worthington, Westerville fees.

Council member Raines asked how is the mileage fee graduated. Brian Zets said it is $10,000 for the first mile or any part thereof, $7,500 for the next 9 miles, $20,000 for the next 90 miles $62,500 for the next 400 miles and he is not sure how many street you have to go up and down to get to 400 miles. He said this is a fee that is charged every year.

A citizen asked if this applies to the electric, gas and telephone companies. Zets said if they install new lines, yes. The citizen asked if this cost will then be transferred to the new property owner. He said that would be a really high cost each year for the property owner. Zets said the new owner will not get the bill each year. The cost will be absorbed into the utility company and they will spread that cost out to all of their customers.

Council member Woods said if a housing development goes in we have to recoup some money somewhere.

Brian (Zets) said he just needs some direction from Council so that he can amend the ordinance to read the way council wants it to. He said you do need to come up with a range of miles and amounts, you just can’t say the first ten miles and not have something after that.

Mayor Ashcraft said his opinion is that it is too much if you have to pay that much to hook up to cable or gas. If he was someone that wanted to build a business here in town and found out that he had to pay that kind of money he probably would not build here but he understands what we are dealing with also. This goes back a long time.

It was moved by Temple, seconded by Denton to recommend to the solicitor to amend the right of way ordinance to read: The fee should be $5,000 for the first two year and for the first 15 miles and then $4,000 over 15 miles. Following vote on the motion was recorded: yea, 6; Denton, Frischen, Paglione, Raines, Temple and woods. Nay, none. Chair declared the motion passed by a 6-0 vote.

Chris McCloskey of Bricker & Eckler was present on behalf of the school district. He said they really wanted to get the water hooked up to the elementary school but the biggest hurdle is the fee. He said that Ohio statute does allow for a municipality to waive the fee for another public entity and asked Council for their consideration in waiving the fee for the length of the line running to the building.

More soon...
Bonnie Mansfield
Buckeye Lake

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