BUCKEYE LAKE – Monday night, a majority of Buckeye Lake Village Council members agreed to spend more than $13,000 to repair the Village Office’s roof once the funds are properly appropriated.
They had the option of spending $800 to complete minor repairs, which would allow the village to put off major roof replacement for a while, but ultimately decided that the roof would need to be replaced eventually and the village already has the lowest bid for the job.
Council member Peggy Wells asked if the council could vote to move forward with repairs Monday night, and not delay the decision with another committee meeting.
“I’m with you, Peggy,” said council member Tom Wolfe.
Council member Arletta Ruton said she was fine with voting to spend $800 Monday night, but approving the $13,664 major repair was different; council needs to ensure that amount is in the budget before approving it on the spot.
Mayor Clay Carroll said the contractor would credit the village $400 if the contractor completed the $800 job now and returned next year to complete the larger $13,000 repair.
“What’s going to change?” asked council member Robert Masone. He said the village already has the best and lowest bid for the job. “This is not an elective thing,” Masone said, adding that the roof is leaky and needs to be repaired immediately.
Ruton said if the money isn’t available, the repair couldn’t be completed.
Wolfe said $13,664 was not appropriated in the budget as of Monday night.
Masone said the village has put off the repair for a long time.
Wolfe suggested voting for the major repair, and then hiring the contractor once the money is appropriated.
“Things should’ve been done concurrently,” Masone said. He said the village government should have ensured money was appropriated as it was collecting bids for the repairs, so they could be completed as quickly as possible.
“We did that and found we couldn’t afford it, which is why we were interested in the $800 repair,” Carroll said.
Wells said she thought there was carryover money in the budget to help fund repairs. “I’m a little confused,” she said. “(The roof) is just going to get worse and worse.”
Masone moved that council accept the $13,664 bid contingent upon the funds being appropriated.
Ruton voted against the measure. “This is going about this the wrong way,” she said.
All six remaining council members approved Masone’s proposal.
In other village news:
• Attorney Kip Kelsey introduced himself as a contender to become the village’s new magistrate. Former Magistrate John Berryhill agreed to resign following complaints of him using profanity in court and acting unprofessionally.
“I don’t swear (except for occasionally after a bad golf swing, he joked),” said Kelsey. He has practiced law since 1975 following his graduation from Denison University and the Syracuse College of Law. Kelsey, 69, is currently magistrate for Pataskala, Shawnee Hills, and other municipalities. Kelsey previously served as a prosecutor for Franklin County and was a defense attorney in private practice.
Kelsey said he was aware of the reasons for Berryhill’s departure and has a very different way of conducting mayor’s court. “I’ve been doing this for some time,” he said, adding he considers himself even-handed and even-keeled, meaning he’s fair and doesn’t become rattled easily.
Wells asked how Kelsey would be compensated. He said he charges $125 per hour with a one-hour minimum. He also charges for his travel time to the court from Columbus, which is an hour and a half total.
Wells said she visited a court session in Pataskala where Kelsey was presiding and she was impressed with him.
Kelsey explained his philosophy as a magistrate – if a single mother is charged with stealing supplies for her infant child, she would not be dealt with in the same manner as if she were caught stealing cigarettes and alcohol. Stealing for her child, she may be diverted to a social program and possibly receive probation. In other words, he would like the court to provide her guidance, not just a sentence.
However, Kelsey said driving while intoxicated “is a whole different animal. I don’t like drunk drivers. They hurt people.” Usually other people than themselves, he said. Kelsey has little tolerance for drunk drivers. The magistrate’s position was still open as of Wednesday.
In a related issue, Carroll said Buckeye Lake Mayor’s Court sessions would no longer be recorded. He said there are expenses involved with recording court sessions, most other municipalities do not record mayor’s court sessions, and state law does not require municipalities to record mayor’s court sessions. “We’ll probably cease to record those meetings,” he said.
• During the council member comment period, council member Tim Ryan said he prefers as much government discussion to take place in public as possible. He said he doesn’t like discussions to take place in private meetings or through email chains. Public discussion should be promoted. “I just don’t like backroom meetings,” he said.
Ruton said she strongly disapproves of village employees or affiliates being “bashed” in public, whether it’s through local media or otherwise. She said if members of the public have problems with a village employee they should go directly to the department head or committee chair. “Don’t do it to get your name in the paper,” Ruton said. She said doesn’t believe in the “bashing and unprofessionalism” toward village employees that’s occurred in the media for the last five years. Ruton clarified that Time Warner agreed to return roughly $5,800 to the village following a letter from Carroll. The company’s executive resolution team agreed to reimburse the village money it paid Time Warner following a phone hacking incident.
Carroll agreed to pay about $5,800 in February after someone hacked into the village’s telephone system and ran up a $16,000 bill for international calls in November. He said the April payment of $5,818.39 was necessary to keep Time Warner from shutting down phone and Internet service.
• Wells asked if the council could return to holding shorter committee meetings during one council meeting per month, as was done in the past. “I found it to be very efficient,” she said. Wells said council members clearly don’t want to attend as many committee meetings outside of council as they do, and holding short committee meetings during one council meeting per month would reduce the overall number of committee meetings.