MILLERSPORT – Village council members had a spelling quiz Tuesday night.
What is the correct spelling for Chautauqua Boulevard? Does it have two or three u’s? The issue arose when a voter seeking GPS directions to his polling place used Fairfield County’s official spelling of Chautaqua and came up empty. Millersport’s street signs use the three “u” version which comes up on a GPS.
Council members are going to stick with their version which is the correct spelling for the popular adult education movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. One of these traveling ‘assemblies’ was planned for the Apostolic Campgrounds, hence the name of the street heading there. That means the village will now petition the county to change the official spelling to the three ‘u’ version.
In more weighty matters, council members hear the first reading of two resolutions designed to address issues on Park Street. Last year, council member Donna Thogmartin brought up complaints about some East Park Street residents leaving their trash containers at the side of the street 24/7. She said the containers made it very difficult for two vehicles pass on the street without striking one. The containers were also unsightly.
A public plea to remove containers promptly from the curbside was ignored, Mayor Dean Severance said, leading to the proposed resolution. The resolution would first require that all loose debris be placed in containers. Trash containers could be placed curbside any earlier than 4 p.m. on the day before the scheduled collection and must be removed by 6 a.m. on the day after collection. A warning would be issued for the first offense. Future offenses would carry a $25 fine.
Resident Eric Scher, who attends most council meetings, questioned whether it is necessary to take such a rigid response to what he believes is a very limited problem. Several council members thought the 6 a.m. deadline to remove the container was much too early, proposing that noon would be more reasonable.
Severance said both resolutions would be read three times to give residents plenty of time to comment on them. He also agreed to discuss a different approach with Scher.
The second resolution is to address a continuing yard sale on Park Street. One resident has a table of items for sale out all the time. Scher had similar concerns, asking whether it is really necessary to start a yard sale permit program.
The proposed resolution limits an address to three garage sales in a calendar year. Each sale is limited to two consecutive days. Free permits are required and applications must be made at least 24 hours before the sale is to start. All goods for sale must be at least 10 feet back from the street. There are very strict limitations on signs – one on the sale premises and just two off the premises. Signs can not be posted more than 12 hours before the sale starts, must be removed within 12 hours after the sale and never posted on a utility pole. Violators would first receive a warning and then would be subject to $50 per day fines and guilty of a minor misdemeanor.
Council members also unanimously accepted a $90,300 bid from Birkhimer Asphalt of Zanesville to resurface Canal, Chautauqua and East Park. Birkhimer’s bid was the lowest of five bids opened August 5. The other bids were: Decker Construction – $102,904; Spires Paving – $114,256; The Shelly Company – $115,666; and Columbus Asphalt Paving – $123,685. Birkhimer’s bid was about $10,000 below the engineer’s estimate. Work will be delayed until after the Sweet Corn Festival.
Council members quickly spent the $10,000 savings, agreeing to spend $11,030 for full drawings to improve the village’s chances of obtaining an Ohio Public Works Commission grant to address storm water management problems in the Broad and Mill street area. The work would include adding at least one catch basin and installing additional drainage tile. The project scope is currently being defined and the total cost could reach $90,000. “There is in-kind work we can contribute,” Street Superintendent Gilbert Arnold said. Fiscal Officer Susan Ramsey believes the village might have to come up with about 41 percent of the cost, either in cash or in-kind work. That was the village’s share of the cost to rebuild Laker Drive.
Severance urged residents not to blow grass clippings into the street. The clippings can clog storm water drains . ‘It causes us big issues,” Mayor’s Assistant Vince Popo added.
Police Chief Mark Consolo promoted Officer Eric Sanford to sergeant. Severance administered the oath of office to him. Consolo praised Sanford for his work with the Community Watch program. He will now oversee all patrol activities. Now up to two patrol officers are equipped with body cameras that record all contact with the public.
Consolo also reported that he is setting a physical fitness standard for police officers. It expect it will be ready in 30-60 days. Four applicants are winding their way through the review process.
Consolo reported that the department had 61 dispatched runs in May, 41 in June and 50 in July. Watch Captain Mark Thogmartin presented its report. The program has ten trained volunteers including two husband and wife teams. Volunteers patrolled 36 hours in June and 625 in July.
“There is no rhyme or reason when we patrol,” he explained. “That way no one can predict when we will be out.”
Thogmartin said a watch volunteer spotted and reported a possible drunk driver. Police stopped the driver and discovered that she wasn’t intoxicated but she was texting and driving under suspension.
Popo reported that the pool will operate at a deficit this year. “The weather just isn’t cooperating,” he explained. On a positive note, he said he has some new volunteers to help with fundraising.
The village is waiting for a judge to sign an order giving it control of the old Sohio station on Lancaster Street. Once the village has ownership, Popo it will be demolished as quickly as possible via the Moving Ohio Ahead program.
“It is a good commercial property,” he said. “You (council members) need to be thinking about what you are going to do with it.”
Popo also reported that it will cost about $2,000 to replace the sculpture at Veterans’ Memorial that was destroyed when a wind storm toppled the flag poles. The cost is covered by insurance and the Millersport Rage baseball team raised $300 to cover the $250 deductible. The new sculpture should be ready by the end of September. That leaves enough time to get it installed in time for its rededication on Veterans Day.
Council members agreed to set Treat or Trick from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 31. Popo said area communities are trying to set it for the same day so no community is overrun with visitors.
Linda Wood submitted the high bid of $825 for the 1988 Chevy 3500 stake body truck that recently was declared surplus. Two other bids were received.
Last month, council members selected Thomas Middleton to serve the six months left on Jim Wright’s term. Wright resigned for health reasons. Middleton was selected over Eric Scher.