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‘Watchdog’ sniffing around Buckeye Lake Village speed limits



Editor:

According to the September 2 Kirkersville Council minutes, just before his departure, former acting Police Chief Jason Lawless seemed to whine about council not getting them a new cruiser, claiming he “worked tirelessly to get the information and then it doesn’t get approved.” But while one council member reminded Lawless that there was no money and no where else in the budget to cut, Lawless claimed that the cruiser issue was affecting the morale of the police department and it sounds like Lawless had even invited all department police officers and their families to the meeting. He claimed he wanted council to see that they have families and to see the jeopardy they were in by driving the current cruisers. Mayor Ashcraft reminded Lawless of the work they had just had done on one cruiser but summarized by saying if it isn’t safe to drive “we will park it.”

This scenario reminds me of the childish police officers that were on the department when former Mayor Evans was in charge. They, too, invited all police officers to a council meeting to bash council members. Thank goodness Mayor Ashcraft and this current council are not succumbing to being bullied by officers who don’t get their way.

Perhaps the former Kirkersville Kops should go to the Licking County dog pound if it’s new vehicles they want!

The Licking County Commissioners hired a new dog warden (Dave Shellhouse) who started August 31 at an annual salary of $51,000. Mr. Shellhouse worked in Franklin County for a number of years but lives in Delaware County. On September 29th, the Commissioners approved the dog pound buying ANOTHER new vehicle. This vehicle is a 2016 Ford Interceptor and the cost is $25,532.10. This vehicle is an “SUV type vehicle” and, according to Shellhouse, would be used by him (and others) to drive to meetings and hauling dogs in the back with a kennel. Currently, other pound employees drive the other new vehicles (new trucks costing over $40,000 with kennel inserts on the back) to/from home and work. I believe this is just a tip of the iceberg of irresponsible spending in this department in Licking County.

However, even with all the problems in Kirkersville and Licking County government, I believe there is one government that might have them trumped….the Village of Buckeye Lake. I have now lived here for eight years and, with a couple of exceptions, have kept quiet about a few things. But my silence is over after the childish, irresponsible behavior that I have witnessed these past couple of months.

The council president allowed a council member to belittle another council member; another council member refused to accept a copy of a report because of who was handing the report to her…..are just a couple of examples of what I saw at one council meeting. In one instance, AFTER ALL THEIR YEARS IN BUCKEYE LAKE GOVERNMENT neither the president of council nor the mayor appeared to know how many council members it takes to pass an ordinance. It’s a MAJORITY OF THE MEMBERS OF COUNCIL…not a majority of the members that decided to show up at the meeting.

One council member decided to accuse another council member of hiring workers with poor workmanship and paying them too much and referred to their invoices as bogus. Although I believe that accusation was unfounded, I do believe there is a serious issue with invoices paid by the village to a person mowing grass, etc. for the village (property maintenance through the code enforcement officer when the property owner doesn’t take care of his property). After hearing a complaint about a new owner not being notified, and property damage allegedly by the person mowing for the village, I decided to look at the invoice myself.

The invoice was not dated, was all hand written (no letter head) and had no business name (just the name of the person mowing who appears to have a felony theft record). The person indicated he mowed twelve properties and the invoice totaled $785 (I found out later this was for one day). The charge per property was $55 – $80 per property. The invoice was not marked “paid” in any way although it had been paid a couple of days before I saw it.

Another issue I looked into was speeding tickets! It’s hard not to wonder what’s going on when you see that Buckeye Lake is taking in $17,000 to Hebron’s $3,400 and Kirkersville’s $7,600 in one month! Part of the problem is some posted speed limits may not be legal!

The Ohio Revised Code (ORC) determines what the speed limits are on Ohio roads. According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, in order to deviate from the set speed limits in the ORC, changing speed limits requires a speed study (through ODOT).

One spokesman for ODOT says, “I have reviewed ODOT records for speed zones in the Village of Buckeye Lake and only found one zone on SR 360 established back in 1982 for 40 mph from the 0.00 to the 0.22 mile mark. All other speed limits should be as per section 4511.21 of the Ohio Revised Code unless modified by a traffic (speed) study. Please keep in mind Ohio is a “home rule” state and the local roads within the village are controlled by the village; however, they should be following the ORC.” Upon review of Buckeye Lake’s own municipal code, they read the same as the ORC.

More next week…

Bonnie Mansfield
Buckeye Lake



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