Members of the Montpelier Village Council convened in regular session on the evening of October 12.
Counselor Nathan Thompson thanked the Main Street Park Committee for doing a wonderful job decorating the park.
Counselor Laura Gray asked Director of Finance Kelly Hephner about the updates for Utility Rules and Regulations. Mrs. Hephner stated that Council was given those in September and she is awaiting input from Council. It was decided to put the item on the October 26th agenda.
Counselor Thompson asked about the poor condition of the curbs and gutters by the Municipal Park on St. Rt. 576 and asked about who is responsible. Village Manager Pam Lucas and Supervisor of Administrative Services Kurt Roan will look into it.
Counselor Thompson asked if we had received any response to their letters regarding House Bill 5 and were told they had not received any response. Mrs. Hephner stated that she and Income Tax Administrator Nikki Uribes have invited some local accountants to come in and discuss the changes on the bill. Mrs. Hephner stated she has been in touch with Senator Hite and Representative McCulley, and there are no changes being made to the bill that was passed. It was noted that Sen. Hite voted for the legislation, and Rep. McCulley stated if he would have been in office, he also would have voted for the legislation. The legislation will have a negative impact on municipal revenue.
Counselor Thompson asked about the court status of the house on Main Street that is in disrepair due to a fire 10 months ago. It was noted that the Village and property owner have received some proceeds from the insurance company, and Village Law Director, Chris Walker, has been researching information about the property.
Mrs. Lucas congratulated Matt Peters at the Water Treatment Plant for his promotion to Water Treatment Plan Supervisor. Peters started working for the village in June of 2008, and since February of this year, he has received his Water Treatment Class I and II certifications. After March 30, 2016 he will obtain his Class III license.
It was also noted that Rich Stoy in the Water/Sewer Distribution Department has taken on the responsibility of reading the utility meters as well as his other duties. Stoy has assisted reading meters the last four years and is doing a great job. He has been employed with the Village since 2005.
Mrs. Lucas stated the Village is in the process of interviewing for positions in the Street Department, Water/Sewer Department and Water Treatment Plant. She also noted that a young lady is taking donations for the Williams County Humane Society and is holding a Christmas for Critters. This will be held at Storrer Park on November 7th.
All of the proceeds will go to the Williams County Humane Society.
Mrs. Lucas presented the retirement request for Mr. Benjie Beck from the Montpelier Fire Department. Mr. Beck has 25 consecutive years of service, and 30 years of service overall with the department. Council approved the measure without dissent.
Councilor Dan Clum offered Mr. Beck a thank you from Council for 30 years of service, stating that it takes a lot of dedication to be a member of a volunteer organization for that many years, and answering the emergency calls at all hours of the day and night.
Mrs. Lucas presented the retirement agreement for Nick Elliott. Mr. Elliott will have 30 years of employment with the Village when he retires on November 4, 2016.
Council approved the measure without dissent.
Mrs. Lucas presented a request from the Loyal Order of the Moose to have a Turkey Shoot on their property on November 7, 2015 between 1:00pm and 4:00pm. At the last meeting it was suggested to have someone from the Loyal Order of the Moose at the meeting. Mr. Charles Schelling spoke with Council and provided information about the Loyal Order of the Moose Turkey Shoot. Mr. Schelling provided a diagram for the location of the event, a waiver for youth who wish to participate, rules for the event, and also letters showing they have notified the surrounding property owners about the proposed event. Also, there will be no alcohol allowed on or near the shooting area. They will be using #6 shot. The fundraising is for the DARE program, and possibly the Montpelier Police Department.
Mr. Walker said that as there is no Village liability, it would be the liability of the Moose Lodge. Village Police Chief Dan McGee stated that even though the ordinance doesn’t allow it, the ordinance allows for permits through the Mayor. It was asked by Council if this type of event had been done before, and Mr. Schelling said Montpelier has never held an event like this, but this has been done at other Moose lodges. Councilor Clum stated that this has been well thought out and planned. After discussion, Council approved the measure without dissent.
Mrs. Lucas presented the 2016 Utility Regulations Termination Dates for 2016. This shows the dates the utility bills are due, the date the delinquent notices will be mailed out, the date the door hanger will be posted, and the dates for termination of services. Mrs. Lucas noted that when residents come in for service, they sign receipt of the form and receive a copy for their records, and a copy is kept with their application. Council agreed to the dates.
Mrs. Lucas next presented the 2015 Auction list. Mrs. Lucas stated that the auction will be held on Thursday, October 22, 2015 at 5:00pm, noting that the information was printed incorrectly in the County Line. The fire department will have sandwiches available. All the vehicles from the Police Department are salvage titles. Chief McGee advised that buyers are allowed to take them from the point of start to the inspection point with a salvage title. Council gave their consent to the auction.
Mrs. Lucas presented the recommendation from Jones & Henry to award the bid for the critical repair of the 54” combined sewer line to Layne Inliner, LLC, with a bid of $212,462.00. The engineer’s estimate was $170,875.00. Since the Village had only one bid, consultation with Mr. Walker revealed that the Village is able to accept this bid. The engineer said he spoke with Layne Inliner, and they will try to get the costs below $200,000.00. Mr. Walker noted this project is an emergency, only two-thirds of Council was required to approve it. Mayor Steve Yagelski explained the project and scope of the project. Council agreed to award the bid, with no dissents.
Mrs. Lucas introduced Mr. Chris Kannel who wished to address council about an aerial photo project. Mr. Kannel stated that he has a couple of projects and ideas that he wanted to share involving aerial photography of the downtown and the parks. In light of recent discussions about drones, Mr. Haldiman sought the approval of Council to use the drone for the project. There was discussion on the time of day this would occur, and they were assured that this will be during daylight hours. It was also noted that Council would prefer that the public right of way be used instead of above private property. Mr. Kannel was also advised to contact the Police and Utility offices when they are taking these photos with the drone so that the staff can field any questions or concerns that may come into their respective offices. Council also asked that photos of the park be taken when the least amount of people were there to avoid the taking any unauthorized photos.
When asked the need for the project, Mr. Kannel said that these photos can be very useful historically, and from a community planning perspective, it will provide a lot of information about the structure of the downtown that you would not otherwise be able to see, and that over time, they can show a unique perspective and track changes and updates within the community. Mr. Kannel stated that anyone could have access to the photos, and that he and Mr. Haldiman are using this as a community service project. It was also requested that it be assured that Mr. Haldiman has insurance. It was noted that the Safety Committee has been working with legal council on legislation for drones.
Mrs. Lucas presented Resolution 1120 authorizing the Village manager to seek proposals for a comprehensive plan. The RFP for the comprehensive plan and community needs assessment was included in the council packet.
Mr. Kannel stated he has put himself down to be the contact person for the proposal. He noted that there were budgetary concerns for the Comprehensive Plan update, and he stated there are some funding options. Mr. Kannel stated that proposals could be sent to planning schools of public affairs in Ohio, Maumee Valley for cost saving and grants that would fit this opportunity, and finally the Montpelier Area Foundation, whose board members said this is something they would be willing to assist in funding. The planning commission is charged by ordinance to undertake this project, and the first reading of Resolution 1120 was heard by title.
Mrs. Lucas presented Ordinance 2190 to Council. This ordinance deals with the parking times and limitations and addresses issuing parking permits to residents in the downtown district. There were several people in attendance for this item of discussion.
Mr. Carlton Gray addressed Council about the effect the permit parking will have on his rental property on West Washington Street. He stated that his renter only has the street side parking to use, and noted that a rental owned by Mr. Gary Pirtle is the same. He feels a building downtown isn’t any different than other rental properties in the community. Mr. Gray noted that there is a lot for sale at Jonesville and West Washington that could be utilized for parking, and is currently used for that purpose. Mr. Robert Kimble of Kimble Machines stated that he appreciated the parking they have for their customers and employees, and tries to extend the same parking rights to their business neighbors. Mr. Kimble inquired if they are bidding out the parking spaces, or wanted to know who would be eligible to get a parking permit. He asked about the businesses being able to obtain a parking permit, was told it was for residential downtown tenants, to which he inquired if the businesses wouldn’t be allowed to obtain a permit. He also asked that if he had a permit, if he would be able to leave his car there all day, to which he was told that he would. He feels this is ‘opening up a can of worms’.
Mr. Lloyd Sprague spoke to Council, saying that he recently purchased two buildings from Colonel Steinke, and is intending on putting in apartments. He feels the community has to look at the evolution of the downtown. The commercial uses, he feels, are no longer viable because most people are going to the big box stores for their shopping. The most viable businesses in our area is pizza shops and auto parts stores. He feels the economic viability is going to be in residential, rather than the commercial arena. Mr. Sprague feels there needs to be some accommodations for the economic reality of the downtown viability. Pastor Ben Harris stated they have tenants parking in the St. John’s parking lot or the other businesses like Kimble Machine. He feels the parking permit ordinance would benefit the people around them. Ms. Sue Kannel stated that she lives in the 400 block of West Washington Street. She said that West Washington Street is busy during the day, but not usually after 5:00pm.
Counselor Thompson asked the Chief McGee if he has had any inquiries about the permit, and he replied that a couple of people have contacted him about the permit. It was noted the cost is going to be $25.00 for a one year permit. Mr. Gray brought up a concern regarding emergency snow removal. Chief McGee stated that certain information is needed to obtain a permit, and this will help them contact the residents when they need a vehicle moved, whether because of a snow emergency, or another situation. Chief McGee also noted the permit is allowing them to park in a location and alleviates them being penalized by other ordinances. On the south side of Main Street initially there was a larger area that was going to be utilized, but through discussions it has been narrowed down to the 200 through 400 block of West Washington Street. Mrs. Hephner asked if they would have to have a permit to park there. Chief McGee clarified that residential tenants are required to have a permit to park and not be penalized by other ordinances, and also noted that both the landlord and the tenant are required to sign the permit placard that would be placed in a visible location inside the vehicle.
Council members pointed out that tenants are essentially paying to park for three hours a day, since the other times are permitted by statute. Another point of contention is that the tenants may work various shifts which would tie up much needed parking space during the day, a situation which is already a challenge. It was noted that the Village would only allow up to twenty parking permits to be issued in any given year. Mr. Kannel stated that there are downtown buildings that are falling into disrepair because they are not economical to maintain, and it will take tens of thousands of dollars to bring these buildings back up and make them habitable. These tenants have cars, and will require some parking spaces. He stressed that parking needs to be convenient for the residents. They need quality renters in order to keep their downstairs businesses viable. Mrs. Kannel stated she would appreciate Council at least trying this on a trial basis, a sentiment agreed upon by Council.
Council voted 5-1 to hear a first reading by title of Ordinance 2190 and the parking regulations.
Counselor Gray stated she does not feel it is fair for her tenant to have to purchase a permit to live in their apartment. Mrs. Lucas said that that you need to live in the C-3 area to obtain a permit, and it should be noted in the ordinance. Mr. Walker stated that the Village needs to designate the area that is specified as downtown and name it as the C-3 in the regulations. These changes could easily be made to the parking regulations. He then went over the changes or additions to the different sections of the parking ordinance, some of which had nothing at all to do with permitted parking, just cleaning up the ordinance and updating some parking fines and times for parking.
Mrs. Hephner gave the September 2015 income tax report, stating income tax collections to date are $1,443,397, as compared to $1,304,696 and $1,400,408 in 2013 and 2014 respectively.