Mayor Steve Yagelski called the Regular Meeting of the Council for the Village of Montpelier to order on Monday, June 22, 2015 at 6:00p.m.with all members present except for Dan Clum.
After approval of the evening’s agenda as well as the minutes from the June 8 meeting, council moved forward to hear from Mr. and Mrs. Keith and Callie Lockhart, who shared concerns with council regarding practices associated with utility services at rental properties.
The Lockharts were concerned with the utility office allowing renters to waive half of the utility for a month and then making it up the following month. It was explained that they were going to evict a tenant from their residence but the agreement that the village allowed the tenants to sign prevented them from doing so. Mr. Lockhart noted that he does not want any of his tenants to be allowed to sign such an agreement. He also explained that tenants have not always moved out after the tenants have told the village that they were going to do so. Once the village is told by a tenant that they are leaving, their final bill is paid with their deposit. Any additional deposit left is refunded. At times the tenants have stayed in the property for another month, leaving the Lockharts with the utility bill. Lockhart explained that he would like the utility office to call them when a tenant says that they are moving as he would rather have the utilities shut off at the property.
Kelly Hephner addressed the issue. She explained that it is the utility office’s policy to afford residents, including tenants, the opportunity to sign a payment arrangement once every four billing cycles. Their utility bill is not waived. Those partaking in the payment arrangement must pay half of their bill when the arrangement is made and then the other half must be paid in less than two weeks. She also expressed that the village needs to allow some flexibility for the residents of Montpelier as well as noted that the utility office has no way of knowing that a tenant who has said they are moving is still residing at the property.
Mr. Lockhart explained that he would like the utility office to call them, the property owners, when a tenant tells the utility office that they are moving out. He advised that the Ohio Gas Company does this all the time. Councilwoman Laura Gray explained that the Ohio Gas Co. will call before shutting off the gas when they read out a meter.
Mayor Steve Yagelski stated that the village does need to make the effort to call the landlords because a letter can take 4 of 5 days to reach them. Mrs. Hephner expressed some concern, noting that people change their phone numbers and can be difficult to reach. Mayor Yagelski stated that the village would then have at least made a good faith effort.
Councilman Nathan Thompson asked if the landlord is notified when a bill is delinquent and he was advised that, yes, the landlord and the tenant both receive a delinquent notice.
Mrs. Hephner advised Mr. Lockhart of the shut off fees involved if he elected to terminate services at the residence. There is a shut-off fee of $75 for electric and $75 for water/sewer. Mr. Lockhart stated he would rather pay such fees than pay someone else’s utility bill.
Mrs. Hephner expressed concerns regarding both tenants and landlords advising the utility office that a tenant is leaving as there is no way for the utility office to know if the tenant stays longer than the office was notified of. Such concerns will need to be investigated in order for the village to update their policies and make the process work better for both property owners and tenants
Moving on, Laura Gray asked if the pedestrian cross walk stands on Main Street by the library could be painted and noted that she was almost struck on Main Street last week. It was also noted that the paint to distinguish the cross walk areas is wearing off. Kurt Roan stated it is possible they will come through next year to re-paint the lines.
Councilman Dan Willis asked if anyone has contacted the Northwest Ohio Dog Trainers. Pam. Lucas stated she did contact them and that they are using the property behind the old skating rink on Airport Road. They are still looking for another alternative location in town.
Councilman Jim Rockey inquired about parking signs on West Washington Street by the churches. The village was going to put the signs up, a handicap sign, parking for certain hours, etc. Pam Lucas noted that she will work on this issue with Chief McGee.
Mayor Yagelski stated that the mosquitos are out in full force and the Street Department has limitations on the amount of times they can spray but are doing what they can to keep up and keep the mosquitoes at bay.
Mayor Yagelski also presented the APPA RP3 Award to Mrs. Kelly Hephner, Director of Finance. This is for the utilities as a whole. Mrs. Hephner stated that without everyone working together the award could have not been achieved. She also noted that the utlitiies received a platinum rating.
Additionally, Mayor Yagelski recognized Pam Lucas for winning the AMP Seven Hats Award in 2014. This is chosen by her peers through AMP, Ohio. She also received the National APPA Larry Hobart Seven Hats Award recognizing managers of small utility communities. Mayor Yagelski noted that Mrs. Pam Lucas is one of only eight winners in 2015.
The Montpelier Ministerial Association, Pastor Blank, Pastor Gruetter, and Pastor Harris were also in attendance. Pastor Harris gave Council an update on the Storrer Park Shelter House project. Pastor Ben Harris stated that there have been a few setbacks with the weather, location of certain items like the port-a-potty, sidewalk, and just communication issues. He spoke with Pastor Homer and they are going to have the project finished and will be pouring the sidewalk no later than July 13th. Pastor Harris said that they wanted clarification for a pad on the port-a-potty, and it was suggested they put a fence around it. Pastor Harris described the location of the pad, and the administration and council had no objections. The other question was regarding the sidewalk. Mr. Kannel stated that it calls for a sidewalk on the south side of the shelter house; Mr. Brown didn’t want a sidewalk there, but wanted something like was put at the Main Street Park. Mr. Kannel stated the only concern is getting the proper slope but noted that can be determined rather easily.
Legislative matters addressed during the meeting included:
•Ordinance 2187, an ordinance amending the codified ordinance of Montpelier, Ohio to add Chapter 376 pertaining to operation of utility vehicles, low-speed vehicles, under-speed vehicles, and mini-tricks on the streets and highways within the municipality. The ordinance passed under second reading. Councilman Dan Willis noted that this is for people with disabilities and that restrictions and guidelines need to be complied with in order for such vehicles to be approved for the roadway. It was noted that copies of the ordinance are available at the Montpelier Town Hall as well as online under the Council Meeting Agenda link on the village’s website.
•Ordinance 2188, An ordinance to rezone certain property in the Village of Montpelier from R-2 One and Two Family Residential to M-2 General Industrial. The ordinance was passed under suspension of the rules requiring three readings.
•Resolution 1115, A Resolution accepting the amounts and rates as determined by the budget commission and authorizing the necessary tax levies and certifying them to the county auditor. The annual housekeeping measure also passed under suspension.
Additionally, Pam Lucas presented a request from the Fair Foundation for a fundraiser at the Williams County Fairgrounds. Proceeds will benefit the Florence Township Fire Department. The Foundation is requesting the village donate the water from a fire hydrant at the fairgrounds. Kurt Roan noted that they will put a hydrant meter with a check valve on it so that it will be easy for them to use. Mayor Yagelski stated it nice how everyone is helping out; communities helping communities. The request was unanimously approved.
Council moved into executive session for the purposes of acquisition of property and to discuss personnel with no further action being taken.
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