By: James Pruitt
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
The village of Montpelier said goodbye to its longtime manager and hello to her replacement at the July 11 meeting
Pam Lucas has retired and the Council followed her recommendation and hired Kevin Brooks to take over. Brooks was formerly the village administrator at Edgerton.
Following some procedural moves, the meeting was turned over to Lucas one last time. Several of her family members were in attendance.
Lucas said she has been working with Brooks the last 2 ½ months and feels the village could not have found a better replacement for her position.
Lucas stated it has been an honor to train and work with him and she recommended the Council appoint Brooks as the next manager.
Council member Cheri Streicher noted that “he will have some big shoes to fill.”
The decision to hire Brooks was unanimous.
The council approved the first reading of Ordinance 2205 to rezone some property from C-3 Central Business District to R-3 Multiple Family Residential.
Council has had two public hearings on the matter. A developer is renovating 101 S. Monroe St. and would like to put in four apartments in the building. The property just west of his is already zoned R-3.
One hearing was held earlier in the evening.
Council member Chris Kannel stated he had some questions concerning the property and its use. He knew originally the owner was thinking of putting in apartments and a first floor business, but was informed that the owner was told our ordinance prohibits having a first floor business with a first floor apartment unit.
The property owner has since decided to go with four apartments in the building because our ordinance does not allow for more than that in R-3 district.
Kannel was then concerned about the specifications laid out in the ordinance stating that the minimum lot requirements are 4,000 square feet per dwelling unit. The property is .304 acres, which amounts to around 13,000 square feet. He inquired if the property owner would be required to get a variance since he would not be in compliance with the lot requirement.
There was more discussion on the property and Kannel stated he would like to see a site plan and more information about the proposed changes before he would vote to approve rezoning the property. The public hearing was closed at 6:11pm.
Kannel wanted to thank and compliment the Street Department for the clean-up and painting on Main Street. He also noted that the Cruise-in on Tuesday nights has been having record attendance.
Council approved a motion to publish and hold public hearings to adopt changes and additions to the Planning and Zoning Code.
Council member Nathan Thompson wanted to thank the police for escorting the motorcycles and the Fire Department for the U.S. flag flown from the ladder truck for the Kaleb McLaughlin Memorial Ride. The event drew more than200 motorcycles.
The council heard from Brooks and representatives from Republic and Archbold Refuse Service and their bids to perform trash and recycling pickup in the village.
The village currently performs the duties. Trash bags are $1.15 apiece, while recycling is about $4.
Archbold Refuse Service bid was for $11.20 monthly for curbside garbage/recycling and $10.50 monthly for senior citizens. This includes two 96-gallon receptacles, and for just recycling curbside service the cost would be $3.80 monthly.
Republic’s bid was $13.20 monthly curbside garbage/recycling and $12.30 monthly for seniors. Republic did not give a bid on recycling pick-up only.
Brooks said the village is looking for a start date of Oct. 1 and officials will need to get all the residents registered. The residents would have to sign up with either ARS or Republic and residents will be billed directly through the recycling company each month and not through the village utility bill.
The village would be getting out of the trash collection service. It would still do brush and leaf pick-up.
Brooks noted one of the benefits is Montpelier would only have one day of picking up garbage and recycling instead of four days. There was a question about the large trash pickup, and right now it is in the contract for one large pick up a year.
Brooks said the last pick up of each month will be for bulk items. There was concern about the size of the containers and discussion about having weekly garbage pickup and bi-weekly recycling.
Residents could obtain a smaller 60-gallon container, but would pay the same price.
In the proposal there were allowances for elderly or handicapped individuals who would be unable to move their containers to the roadside which were called back yard pick-up.
“We don’t want to get into the business of having all the containers picked up that way, but there are provisions for special needs,” Brooks said.
Scott Cabauatan from Republic Services and Michele Ryder from Archbold Refuse Service were in attendance and spoke about their proposals and some of the specific questions posed by council.
Council asked about losing control and the possible rate increases.
Brooks noted the Republic Services bid, which has a built-in 3 percent yearly increase. But per the agreement, the rate cannot be raised arbitrarily by the companies, it has to be done with council’s consent and only in two-year cycles.
There was concern raised about current street employees and their employment status, and it was noted that no one would lose their job. The village would re-assign employees to help where they are needed.
The village is committed to keeping the garbage truck, and with succession planning this is a prime opportunity for cross training in departments.
Brooks said with lidded containers, the village doesn’t have to worry about recycling items blowing around or animals getting into the containers or tearing garbage bags open.
It was noted that to be considered for the “senior rate” a resident has to be age 65 or older with proof of age. There was concern over the people who have purchased garbage bags and now will not be using them, are we going to offer a buy-back program?
Brooks doesn’t feel that would be feasible. The billing would be through ARS or Republic. The contract does not cover commercial accounts; the commercial businesses would need to contact one of those companies for their services directly. The village departments will be serviced at no charge. There were questions concerning the out-of-town customers who receive pickup, and those customers would need to contact one of the companies to sign up for service. Council requested a fact sheet/talking point sheet to help answer questions.
Brooks presented information from the Fire Department concerning the list of equipment that has been purchased by the Fireman’s Association, and also photos of a Fire Tanker that needs repaired.
Brooks said he met County Treasurer Vickie Grimm about the Williams County Land Bank Program to help take down abandoned and/or blighted properties. These are properties that are delinquent on property taxes and Montpelier has 41 eligible properties on the list.
The village will need to confirm they are vacant, and he knows the full details of the program, but we may be able to get some assistance in getting some of these properties removed. This is a state-funded program being run at the county level; and the village may have to contribute funds, but there is money available to help with the slum and blight issue.
Brooks has met with the Montpelier Chamber and that he has reviewed the Comprehensive Plan from 2001 and believes the community still has the same problems. He feels we may be able to take this information and instead of paying for a new study with the same results, to use resources we have available to us and tackle the issues by working together with the Chamber and other organizations. He feels we have enough qualified individuals to improve handle the project. He is asking for Council to come together in support of this idea.
Kelly Hephner gave the income tax report for the end of June of $1,243,062 as compared to $977,603 and $1,028,362 in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
Hephner said she and Nikki Uribes went to the income tax seminar last week. There was a panel of three legislators who said centralized collection is going to happen.
They did indicate that the parties out there collecting like CCA and RITA are doing a good job and Kelly hopes that they will allow those companies to continue serving those communities.
Hephner also stated that the NOL 5-year Committee has been empaneled. They are doing a micro-study of how the NOL will affect Ohio communities. Since Montpelier does not allow NOL’s, to obtain the information they are seeking, we will have to pull every tax return for the past five years to provide the data that they are requesting.
Lucas wanted to thank everyone for the good years she has had in Montpelier. She has enjoyed working here and will miss the excitement and people.
James Pruitt may be reached at