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Hayden wants to replace Cortez

BUCKEYE LAKE- The Buckeye Lake Village Personnel Committee’s recommendation to fillformer council member John Cortez’ seat is complicated.

The committee met Monday afternoon to review applications and decide upon whom to recommend to fillthe vacancy. Cortez had two years left in his term when he was dismissed from council two weeks ago for having eight absences this year; the Buckeye Lake Village Charter allows council members only seven absences per year.

The village received three resumes from candidates including residents Arletta Ruton, Donna Thompson, and Council President Charlene Hayden. Hayden currently serves on council and both she and Thompson are running for council positions in November. Hayden’s current term expires at the end of the year.

The committee recommended appointing Hayden to the Cortez’ vacancy, where she would serve for two more years before having to seek re-election. Hayden said after the meeting that she originally intended to withdraw her name from this November’s ballot if she’s appointed to Cortez’ vacancy. But, she said several people have encouraged her to remain on the ballot because they believe that she could earn a four-year position. Hayden said she hasn’t decided whether she’ll remain on the November 2007 ballot.

Of course, if Hayden is appointed to Cortez’ vacancy, then Hayden’s current seat, which expires at the end of the year, would be open until then. The committee recommended appointing Thompson to fill the remainder of Hayden’s current term. Thompson, if appointed, would still need to seek re-election in November if she wishes to serve on council past the end of 2007.

Council members Drew Bourne and Hilde Hildebrandt were absent from Monday night’s council meeting and the remaining four council members weren’t comfortable making a decision upon the personnel committee’s recommendation until a future meeting when more members of council are present. Council may discuss the appointments further during the Sept. 10 meeting.

Not everyone approved of the committee’s recommendation.

“I findit really bizarre,” said council member Jeryne Peterson Monday night. “I have a serious problem with this.”

“It’s far from unprecedented,” said Mayor Frank Foster, who thought the recommendation made sense. He said both Hayden and Thompson are running for four year terms, which shows their interest in serving on council, and Hayden is an experienced council member.

Peterson asked if a current council member is applying for an open position, then is that council member afraid of not being re-elected? Peterson said she asked the question in general terms and wasn’t trying to attack Hayden, specifically.

Foster said this type of appointment happens often in the corporate world – the most qualified person is given the open position. “It seems like the most reasonable position of all, frankly,” he said.

Peterson added that she wasn’t notified that the personnel committee was meeting at 2 p.m. Monday, and understood that the committee was meeting at 6:30 p.m., before Monday night’s regularly scheduled council meeting.

Council Clerk Tim Matheny said all council members were notified by email at the same time and the meeting was properly posted.

Peterson said that because of her work schedule she’s the only member of council who is currently unable to attend afternoon meetings.

In other council news:

• Foster said the village will not actively seek to shut-down games of skill establishments in Buckeye Lake. Ohio Governor Ted Strickland issued an executive order Aug. 22 defining “game of skill” within the Ohio Administrative Code and allowing Attorney General Marc Dann’s officeto order hundreds of establishments that operate games of skill machines to shut them down or face thousands of dollars in penalties. However, the executive order has been legally challenged and the 10th Ohio District Court of Appeals ruled that Tic-Tac-Fruit games–the most common game of skill of which there are nearly 50,000 in Ohio–are legal, or at least not illegal.

Foster said Monday night that Strickland’s executive order isn’t law and the village could face lawsuits from games of skill operators should the village attempt to shut them down. The village licenses establishments and individual machines. Foster said the village solicitor said the village does not administer the Ohio Administrative Code so the village is not obligated to act upon the governor’s order. If the order becomes law or case law is established against the machines, then the village will need to act “appropriately,” he said.

• Foster received an Aug. 22 letter from Michael Carder, president of GGC Engineering – the company serving as the Village of Millersport’s engineers — outlining potential conditions set by the Millersport Board of Public Affairs for the sale of bulk water to the Village of Buckeye Lake. The letter, which was not discussed or mentioned during Monday night’s council meeting, said:

1.) Millersport would construct a 10″ potable (drinkable) water line to the outskirts of the Buckeye Lake corporation limit. The line extension has been designed and could be offered for bidding immediately after a signed agreement is received by Millersport. We should estimate the line would take approximately four months to construct.

2.) The only capacity limitation would be the water volume that would be able to be conveyed by the 10″ line or by the existing wells.

3.) The bulk water rate would be in the neighborhood of $3 per 1,000 gallons.

4.) A water meter would be installed near the Buckeye Lake connection point and read monthly. Buckeye Lake would receive one bill per month. That invoice would be due and payable within 13 days. Millersport would not read individual water meters in Buckeye Lake.

5.) A line charge, or service connection fee, of approximately $300,000 would be charged at the time of connection to the Buckeye Lake distribution system.

“Mayor Foster, please consider the above as starting points in any discussion,” said Carder in the letter. “We are available at your convenience to discuss and negotiate any possible item of contention. The Millersport Water Plant is on schedule for operation this October and bids for the first phase of the 10″ water line project are to be opened September 12 (now Sept. 19).”

Foster, Hayden, and Development Director Valerie Hans met with Carder in administrative (non-public) session Wednesday afternoon. The village is also talking with Hebron about the purchase of bulk water.

• Foster said that as of 30 days from Monday, the Buckeye Lake Planning Commission can negotiate exactions from developers on a case by case basis. Exactions encourage developers individually to give back to the community by making improvements to infrastructure affected by their subdivisions or to make improvements to the surrounding community; exactions are very flexible and could include anything from purchasing EMS equipment for the village to making road improvements.

• Village Zoning Inspector Rod Riley wondered why the signs for Charles Slater Boulevard – in honor of Buckeye Lake Village’s late first mayor – haven’t been erected yet. The village will dedicate the boulevard section (four lane portion) of Ohio 79 in the village to the late mayor. Officialpost officeaddresses will not change for residents or businesses along that section of Ohio 79.

Foster said he’s asking the Firebelles, as a courtesy, to comment on the proposed locations of the signs because the Firebelles take care of the landscaping at either end of the boulevard, where the signs will be placed.

• Hayden said the Queen of the Lake II, a large 55-passenger pontoon boat operated by the Buckeye Lake Historical Society, is ready to give tours of Buckeye Lake. Tours are $10 per person. Contact J-me Braig at 740-929- 1998 to book tours and for more information.

Council’s next regular meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. on Monday, September 10.

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