BUCKEYE LAKE – Buckeye Lake Village Mayor Clay Carroll told village council members Monday night he has a plan, although not quite complete, to use village equipment and personnel to mow properties whose owners refuse to do so, and not only stop paying outside contractors to do the work but make money for the village street department as well.
“This will help a little with building up funds in the street department,” Carroll said. He said the village has been paying outside contractors quite a bit to mow private properties after zoning has warned property owners to do it on their own. Once the work is complete, the fee to mow the property is charged to the property owner’s taxes. Unfortunately, it can take a long time for the village to recover the expense.
Carroll said he would rather have the village street department do the mowing for far less than it costs to hire a contractor, but still bill the property owner for the amount the village would’ve had to pay a contractor. Once the money would be recovered from the property owner, it would be placed in the village’s street fund.
For example, Carroll said it may cost the village roughly $20 per hour to mow a yard, but the village would pay a contractor $50 per hour to do the same job. So, the village would charge the property owner the $50 rate. Payment to the village employee would come from the village’ general fund. “We don’t have all the details worked out, but I think we have a plan in place to make this work,” he said.
“I don’t understand how that’s building funds in the street department,” said council member Peggy Wells. She said it’s like taking money from one village account and placing it into another.
“Because we’re billing at the same rate the subcontractor did,” Carroll said.
Wells said it often takes a long time to recover many when it’s charged to a property owner’s taxes.
“We’re going to pay it anyway,” Carroll said, whether a village employee or subcontractor the work. “So, we might as well pay it to ourselves. At least the profit we are making will stay in our own till.”
In other council news:
• Carroll said the village would have price estimates on creating two crosswalks soon. Once the estimates are in, the public safety committee will discuss them. Carroll said the crosswalks would likely be placed across Ohio 79 near the Post Office and somewhere across the four-lane section further north.
The crosswalks will be funded with a $20,000 allocation from a 2015 Creating Healthy Communities (CHC) grant from the Ohio Department of Health and the Licking County Health Department to create two crosswalks.
Carroll said any crosswalk crossing the four-lane section would have warning lights. “I feel we’re jeopardizing the residents to put a crosswalk on the fourlane and not have lights,” he said. Carroll said if necessary money from the village’s streetlight fund could help cover crosswalk warning lights.
The crosswalks will have further discussion in committee.
• Carroll said the area of Cranberry Lane that has completely failed should be extended further west, for a total of roughly 170 feet and its complete replacement would cost roughly $34,000. He said funding would be split between the water department fund and the “permissive fund,” or revenue generated through license plate fees. Carroll didn’t say when work might begin.
• Wells asked council president Jeryne Peterson why the council member comment period at the end of each meeting has been eliminated from the agenda.
“The reason is because we couldn’t be civil and treat each other like civil human beings,” Peterson said. “It became a badgering session of employees and each other and I won’t tolerate it; it’s unprofessional, period.”
Wells said the council rules state that at the end of each meeting, each council member would have three minutes to make a comment or announcement. Members may defer their three minutes to another member.
Peterson said she’d consider it, but at the present time there would be no council comment period.
“Point of order,” Wells said. “We’re not following council rules.”
Peterson said that rule is not in the village charter. “You’re taking up the people’s time,” she said. “They didn’t come here to hear you take the floor and run the meeting. I’m sure we’ll read about it in your paper.”
“Council President does not have the authority to change the agenda or throw out a council rule whenever it suits her motives,” Wells said in an email Wednesday. “We don’t need a dictator who slams the gavel down and says, ‘I have spoken and that’s the way it will be.’ We were all elected to serve the people, not the council president. To earn respect, you must first give respect. I’ve been quiet long enough about this. Since she wants to censor me at the meetings and no other council member is speaking up with regard to their own censorship, I have no other choice but to speak publicly about this.
“Council rules were revised Nov. 25, 2013, after I was elected but before I took office. They used to have eight pages and now there are 20! It’s mostly about censorship, monitoring council members’ conduct, sanctions and expulsion.”
Wells continued, “According to Rule 43, each council member ‘will have a three minute time to make a comment.’ Rule 45 speaks to public comment but also refers to that period at the end of the meeting for council comments. Questions asked by the public can be referred to committee chairs and those council members can take their three minutes at the end of the meeting to respond to the questions. Therefore, the recent censorship action of council president not only interferes with freedom of speech of the council members but is also detrimental to the public. It denies them the opportunity to get their questions answered at council meeting.
“Council President often lecdoes tures about how we need to study the council rules and understand them. Ha, what a joke! I’m certain that I will be facing some sort of bogus sanction for this (statement) or maybe I’ll be required to stand in the corner or put my nose in a circle on the chalkboard. No doubt, another five or ten pages will be added to the rules,” Wells said.
• Resident Marianne Perine said the restrooms at Ryan-Braden Park are one again functional. She said dividers between stalls are still on order so people may want to use them one person at a time for privacy’s sake for a little while. Perine emphasized that none of the plumbing is copper and that security is tight.
• Buckeye Lake Fire Department Captain Dave Ruton said the state’s new biennial budget includes $2 million to help Ohio villages pay for MARCS radio service. He said that provision cuts Buckeye Lake Village’s MARCS radio service fees in half, to $10 per month per MARCS radio unit. This rate is retroactive to July 1. Ruton said the state may help reduce MARCS radio fees even further in the next budget. “I think we’re well on our way to getting very low or none, fees in the future,” he said.
Previously, EF Johnson Technologies donated 20 portable MARCS radios – five went to the police department and the rest to the fire department. They are valued at $2,500 each, but each requires a $10 monthly service fee. The village has a total of 30 MARCS radios.
• Carroll said the new Supercruise, which coincides with National Trail Raceway’s annual Mopar event, starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 8. Supercruise is a driving event with stops along the way where auto enthusiasts may display their cars, listen to live music, and socialize. There will be four stops along the route: anchoring the Northern end, Tri County Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep- Ram will welcome drivers of Mopar-brand vehicles to display their cars, listen to live music, and more. Continuing south, the next stop is Coughlin Hyundai and Toyota. This is open to all makes of vehicles and will feature live music, door prizes, and more. Further south into the Village of Buckeye Lake there will be stops hosted by the Buckeye Lake Historical Society and Jim Matheny Car Showz. The last stop features a live band and more at the KOA Campground in Buckeye Lake.
• Council clerk Valerie Hans asked any residents who still have Waste Management trash totes to contact the village office. Hans said Waste Management is no longer the village trash service contractor and all their totes should be returned to them.