Village increasing vehicle tax
BALTIMORE – Village council members are expected to approve an ordinance May 28 to levy an additional $5 annual license tax on motor vehicles registered at addresses within the Village of Baltimore. The additional fee would be effective Jan. 1, 2014.
The move comes as Fairfield County Commissioners are considering a similar increase that would apply county-wide. “If we don’t enact the $5 (fee), the county will enact it and it will all go to the county,” council member Tony House explained. The permissive tax is limited to $20 per vehicle per year.
“If we don’t act, they (county commissioners) are going to take Baltimore’s money and use it all in the county,” Village Administrator Scott Brown added.
Fiscal Officer Flo Welker estimated the additional fee could bring in another $800 - $1,000 a month for the village.
“This is additional money for matching grants,” Mayor Bob Kalish said. “We do need to be doing our streets. We need to get back to it.”
Kalish and council members want the proposed ordinance to go all three readings so residents have time to comment on it. The second reading will be Monday, May 13, with the final reading and vote set for the Tuesday, May 28 meeting. Council members unanimously pushed back the May 27 meeting due to the Memorial Day holiday.
Council members heard the first reading of another ordinances and one resolution at their April 22 meeting. The proposed ordinance would erect “No Thru Trucks” signs at the intersection of Granville and Market streets and on Cliff Street at the intersection of Main and Cliff streets. “We’re trying to keep semi’s out of the area where they can’t drive,” House explained.
The proposed resolution would establish a public park on property donated to the village at the southwest corner of Main and Water streets. The small park would be known as Bope Warehouse Park. Council member Jim Hochradel said a three-story warehouse that served canal traffic used to stand on the site. The property was previously owned by the Baltimore Area Community Museum Corporation; and Michael H. Heavener, Elizabeth Sue Heavner, Jack Hickel Jr. and Barbara Ann Hickel.
Council members unanimously suspended the three reading rule to approve an ordinance authorizing Welker to pay up to $90,000 to Bricker & Eckler, LLP. The Columbus law firm is representing the village in the lawsuit filed by the Village of Thurston concerning the extension of water and sewer services along Ohio 256 and Ohio 37 east of the village. The suit is being heard in Court of Common Pleas of Fairfield County.
Council members also unanimously approved the third reading of an ordinance to create two one-way streets and two one-way alleys around the Liberty Union football stadium. Kumler Street will become one-way west from Brown Street to Yencer. Brown Street will become one-way north from Washington Street to Kumler Street.
An alley running east of Oak Street and west of Yencer Street will become one-way north from Washington Street to Kumler Street. An alley running east of Yencer Street and west of Fremont Street will become one-way north from Washington Street to Kumbler Street.
The changes were originally proposed by the Liberty Union- Thurston School District to provide additional parking for football games on Yencer Street and to ease traffic flow for football games. Council had previously held a public hearing on the proposed changes.
In other reports at the meeting, Kalish said the Board of Zoning Appeals granted a conditional use permit to allow an existing day care facility at 114 Holder Road accept up to 12 children. He said the project still has to go through the village’s Building Department.
In his mayor’s report, Kalish said a realtor has asked for resident only parking in front of a home for sale at 109 West Mulberry Street. The request will be considered by council’s Safety Committee first. He also proposed that council members tour village facilities before council meetings until September. Kalish also asked for some feedback on council holiding a long range planing session that might discuss five to six items.
In the village administrator’s report, Brown said one building in Baltimore may qualify for the Moving Ohio Forward program which funds the demolition of dilapidated buildings. The village website has a new host and should now be live.
Brown said the Tree Commission has selected 26 locations for new trees which will be planted by village workers.. Several trees will be planted downtown.
He said the new sanitary sewer line along Ohio 256 is in service. At the April 8 meeting, Brown said the village’s wastewater treatment plant used 35 percent less electricity in March 2013 compared to March 2012 while processing about the same amount of waste. He has focused on cutting operational expenses at both the wastewater and water treatment plants.
Council’s next regular meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 28.