Violations of municipal ordinances resurfaced as a topic of concern at Minerva Village Council's March 28 meeting.
Council discussed a range of violations they reported seeing across the village. Discussion began with Village Administrator Dave Harp's report of businesses that appear to have residential apartments on the street level of the buildings, which would constitute a violation of a village zoning ordinance that is in effect from Line Street to state Route 30.
In response to a question from Councilwoman Becky Stoller, Harp said he would obtain an updated village zoning map from Stark County.
Council also spoke about specific properties that are violating codes relating to trash, vehicles that are not moveable, and damaged houses.
Councilman Tim Tarbet reported a pick-up truck filled with trash, while Councilwoman Billie Rowe reported a truck with four flat tires and grass growing up into it on East Street. Councilwoman Cynthia Lawson reported a house on Bonnieview with what she said looked like a junk television on the front porch. She added that a house on Grant Street had a boat parked next to the garage and a swimming pool with no fence in the backyard. Council members also reported houses with broken windows and other damage.
Commercial vehicles that are illegally parked on village streets were a related topic.
Harp recommended that council continue to report any properties or vehicles in violation to him so that he and Village Solicitor Clark Battista can send letters to the offending owners. Harp noted that he would also ask the police department to report violations they see.
Lawson said she had received several phone calls about stray cats from residents on Hart Avenue, Murray Avenue and in Fry Allotment.
"I just think we need to hire a nuisance inspector," she stated, adding, "And you have to be stern."
Council also devoted time to readings of legislation that will authorize Harp to purchase a 2017 GMC 2500 pick-up with four-wheel-drive for the village waste water department and a Ford Explorer all-wheel-drive for the police department.
Council passed, with a three-to-two vote, the first reading of legislation authorizing Harp to purchase the GMC pick-up, although the matter sparked a debate before the vote was taken.
If adopted, the legislation will authorize Harp to purchase the vehicle for a price not to exceed $32,827 from the state's cooperative purchasing program bidder, Bob Ross Auto Group of Centerville, Ohio.
Harp said the vehicle would be purchased from the state's program because the state price was less than the bid he received from Guess Motors, a GMC dealer in Carrollton. Guess's bid was $30,880 without a plow package, which would have cost an additional $4,800, whereas the state price includes the plow package.
Prior to a vote for the reading of the legislation, Lawson asked why the vehicle had to be a GMC instead of a Ford. Harp said the waste water department staff told him they prefer GMC vehicles, which they have had in the past, although he noted that the staff were not insisting on the type of vehicle.
"I didn't think it would be a problem. If it keeps an employee happy working here," said Harp, who added that the department staff are also more used to making repairs on GMC vehicles than on Fords.
Lawson asked why the employees were repairing their own vehicles when other village-owned vehicles were sent to shops for repair. Harp said the street and waste water departments are "consistently fixing things on our own equipment," but police vehicles are sent out for repairs.
The reading eventually passed with Councilwoman Becky Stoller and Councilman Tim Tarbet voting against but Lawson, Rowe and Mayor James Waller voting in support.
Prior to the next vote on the actual legislation, Lawson asked whether council could receive a bid for a Ford pick-up from Loudon Motors Ford. Waller noted that the GMC vehicle was chosen for its extended cab.
"What they wanted to do at the sewer plant was put (in) all their camera equipment and keep it in that truck 24-7 and it'll be covered. There would still be room for some stuff in the bed of the truck. There would still be room for hand tools and such," he stated, noting that the camera equipment would be protected in the cab from weather conditions.
"That's why we need them to come here and explain stuff, because I didn't know that," said Lawson.
Lawson, Rowe and Waller voted in favor of the legislation itself, while Stoller and Tarbet voted against it.
Council unanimously passed an emergency reading of legislation to purchase the Ford Explorer police vehicle, which will replace a vehicle that was damaged in a Feb. 19 crash. Harp will use reimbursement funds from the village's insurance policy for the purchase.
The vehicle will be purchased through the state's cooperative purchasing program from state bidder Statewide Ford and Mercury, of Van Wert, Ohio, for a price not to exceed $28,282. The legislation notes that the village may purchase the vehicle from Loudon Ford Motors if the state's pre-bid price can be honored.
In other business, council:
APPROVED a motion to hold a special meeting on Tuesday, April 4, at 6:30 p.m. to discuss construction forthcoming for the new swimming pool.
APPROVED the third reading of legislation authorizing Harp to purchase a 2017 full-size cargo van for the village water department from Loudon Motors Ford for $43,776.
APPROVED the second reading of legislation authorizing Harp to purchase a new 2018 International single axle cab and chassis dump truck for the street department through the State of Ohio Cooperative Purchasing Program, bidder Rush Truck Center of Cincinnati, at a cost not to exceed $72,993.
Lawson voted against the ordinance.
APPROVED the second reading of legislation authorizing Harp to purchase a new snow and ice truck equipment package, including dump body, central hydraulic system, snow plow accessories, under tailgate spreader and LED light system, for a new 2018 International truck for the street department through the state's purchasing program at a cost not to exceed $60,381 from state bidder Gledhill Road Machinery of Galion, Ohio.
Lawson voted against the ordinance.
In answer to Waller's question about her vote, Lawson stated, "I just don't really understand it completely, so I don't want to vote 'yea' until I know more about it. I feel that I can't vote 'yea' because I don't really know about it."
APPROVED a motion to approve a contract with Pag's Excavating, of Alliance, for landscaping work at the swimming pool, including grading and seeding, for $11,150.
DISCUSSED a request Harp received from a resident asking that a parking spot for the disabled be set up on Market Street. Rowe said there is not enough space for handicapped parking on Market considering the large trucks that use the roadway.
DISCUSSED the alleged violation of a village ordinance regarding fence lines. Lawson and her husband said their neighbor has continued to violate the ordinance despite receiving a letter from Battista. At Waller's recommendation, Battista said he would visit the property to confirm the violation and, if applicable, cite the neighbor into Mayor's Court.