Powhatan cracks down on junked cars, trash

POWHATAN POINT – Two resolutions were adopted at Tuesday night’s meeting of village council, which also agreed to strengthening village ordinances concerning trash pick-up and junk cars.

A resident of the area where dilapidated homes are being razed approached council about a situation concerning rats. The rodents have apparently left the dilapidated structures and are moving toward occupied housing. “I’m looking for help with the rats,” he told council.

Mayor Mark McVey noted that not everyone in that area has trash pick-up. He said he will speak with Fred Bennington, Shadyside Cartage, for a list of names/addresses of persons throughout town who are not subscribing to the weekly mandatory service. Those not having the pick-up will be cited into Mayor’s Court, per the village ordinance.

“Trash pick-up is essential, it falls under health hazard,” said Councilman Jerry Binni. “We will cite everybody [who is not using the cartage service].”

Under unfinished business, Councilman Brady Dierkes questioned the matter of junk cars, the description thereof and what can be done about them. He noted there are several around town which would be considered “junk cars.” It was suggested by Solicitor Charlie Bean that a junk car would be one that is unlicensed and inoperable. Asked if the village law could be more stringent than the state law, his answer was affirmative.

The mayor referred the matter to the ordinance committee, which will meet and bring back to council a suggestion. Committee members include Sam Armann, John Mitchell and Binni. Meeting with the committee will be Joshua Haught, police chief.

A resolution was adopted authorizing Mayor McVey to prepare and submit an application seeking funds through the Ohio Public Works Commission State Capital Improvement program. If approved for funding, the village would utilize a 20 percent match to fund the paving of certain village streets. The matching monies would come from county permissive (license plate) tax fees.

A second resolution was adopted regarding support for jobs at Ormet. The resolution will be sent to Gov. John Kasich, individual members of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and to the United Steel Workers, which represents workers in Hannibal.

According to the resolution “it is unquestionably in the best interest of our community to retain over 1,000 family supporting jobs at Ormet’s aluminum smelter in Hannibal.” It notes, too, that “American Electric Power, a private corporation on pace to record a $1 billion profit, almost doubled Ormet’s electrical bill this year, making it impossible to continue production.”

The document urges the PUCO to intervene and prevent the permanent loss of the Ormet facility and over 1,000 jobs.

Village finances were again spotlighted. Binni noted there is only $5,000 in the street department fund and Dierkes said a transfer will be necessary. There is currently $122,000 in the general fund. Binni again urged that purchases be watched closely. “We don’t know what kind of winter we’re going to have, and we don’t know when a piece of equipment will break down,” said Binni. “The clerk-treasurer already told us we’ll be down $40,000 next year.”

McVey told council there is ” very little discretionary spending.” He assured council that finances are being watched. On a good note, he said the cost of highway salt is down this year.

In a related matter, Councilman Mitchell reported the alternator on a lawn tractor needs replaced at a cost of $264. Council gave permission, noting this is a maintenance cost and necessary.

Mitchell reported also that Mark Lamp of the street department resigned to take another job. He said the position will not be filled at this time due to finances.

Dierkes reported the benches and trash receptacles purchased with the JB Green Team grant and donations have been received.

McVey explained work under the Demolition Grant is in full swing. Three of the four targeted structures have been razed and there’s a possibility that a fifth structure may be razed. The mayor thanked county commissioners Chuck Probst Jr., Ginny Favede and Matt Coffland for awarding a $5,000 grant and assisting the village in making the improvement. McVey also thanked Solicitor Charlie Bean, Elizabeth Acosta, A.C. Weithe, Bel-O-Mar; Tom Brown of Raze, Shadyside; and village office workers Susan Craig and Jackie Thomas for their help in the search of property deeds.

McVey commended Belmont Connections for its Summer Youth Program. He said he is very satisfied with the workers sent to the village.

Judge Frank Fregiato, who recently assumed the duties of Common Pleas Court Judge, spoke to council. The former Northern Division County Court Judge thanked the village of Powhatan for its support. He said he wanted residents to know that he is not going to change he will serve the people with the same passion he had as County Court Judge.

Village resident Antionette Putsock commended the police department for its quick action when someone tried to obtain entrance into her unoccupied vehicle.