Jessica Smith was on hand for the September 22 meeting of the Montpelier Village Council to answer questions raised about the large number of pallets piled in her back yard on Mill Street. Those pallets will soon be serving a purpose.
As she done when she lived in Tennessee, Smith has been working to put together a “Haunts for Hunger” event to raise food for the needy over Halloween.
The only problem was that Smith had been unaware of local ordinances that soon raised concerns and a nuisance complaint. Smith responded to those concerns quickly by addressing Council that evening. She shared with council that the pallets, donated from Two Brothers Market, are being used to build a haunt that will accept donated canned foods in exchange for admission, pizza, candy, and a drink. Those canned items will then be donated to Helping Hands Food Pantry to help those in need.
Smith also provided proof of liability insurance she has purchased to cover the event as well as described the structure being built. The venue will measure approximately 35’ x 44’ and consist of four rooms. There is no electricity or running water. During the haunt there will be an adult in every room and only 4-5 occupants will be allowed in at a time. She also explained that the structure will be torn down immediately following the event.
Taking notice of Smith’s knowledge on all aspects of the event, Councilor Dan Clum noted that this “is obviously not her (Smith’s) first rodeo”, a sentiment that the rest of council seemed to agree with as they decided to not move forward with the nuisance complaint provided that the structure is taken down by October 31. It was suggested to Smith, however, that she work with the Village to coordinate efforts in 2015 by having her venue at Main Street Park during Trick or Treat.
Smith noted that she will look forward to doing so and thanked council for their time and willingness to work with her so that she can continue the project for Halloween 2014.
Council also heard from John Courtney and Associates regarding water, sewer, and electric rates. Courtney explained that the revenue generated from these services are not keeping up with costs. As a result, Courtney recommended that Council consider raising the rates to ensure adequate revenue was coming in. Regarding water projections show shortfalls of $61,000 in 2015 and $83,000 in 2016.
Courtney explained that installation of newer water-saving appliances are the biggest reason for the change in revenue projections since they lead to people using less water than was originally considered when the rates were originally set.
Also discussed was how the extremely harsh weather this past winter as well as the shutting down of coal powered plants are effecting supply and electric rates.
Council will consider rate increases in the following months.
Council also heard from Beniah Harris, pastor of House of Prayer Church, who told members that the Ohio Building Board of Appeals voted in favor to allowing port-a-potties at Storrer Park when the planned shelter house is being rented. Harris also reminded council and members of the community about the forum concerning drugs coming up on October 9 at 5:30 PM in Bryan’s New Era auditorium.
In addition to these items, Mayor Steve Yagelski also read two proclamations concerning both Public Power Week and Fire Prevention Week. Yagelski commented on the coincidence that the two weeks are both observed October 5 through October 11 as they are tied together. Residents are urged to install smoke detectors and test them monthly.
Council entered into executive session for the purpose of discussing possible litigation. No further action was taken.
The next meeting of the Montpelier Village Council will be held on October 13th at 6:00 PM.