Pioneer Looks To Residents For Help With Sidewalk Costs

DSC_5319By: T.J. Hug
The Village Reporter

Village officials in Pioneer have a plan to cover the costs of sidewalk repairs within the town.

The walkways in question reside at the intersection of State Street and Baubice. In desperate need of restoration, the sidewalks have been a concern for some time. And it’s not just a couple of areas that need mending.

“There are a number of sidewalks in need of repair.” Village Administrator Al Fiser stated to the Pioneer Village Council during their April regular meeting.

In order to fund said repairs, the village hopes to divide the costs with residents living beside the damaged pathways. Under this plan, Pioneer itself would cover labor costs, while it would look to those actually living within the area in question to pay for the materials needed to complete the project. This wouldn’t be the first time such an agreement has been reached with the townspeople of the village.

This issue of whether or not to simply have the costs to residents funding the service factored into their taxes was mentioned at the meeting. Fiser advised against this tactic, however.

“It’s a longer process.” Fiser informed. “We’d like to stay away from that.”

Village Solicitor Tom Thompson went on to explain that going the tax route would involve the creation of a new sidewalk repair program, taking even more time to address the problem. Rather than go through all of that red tape, Fiser was confident the the community would be receptive to the idea as originally presented. It would only be a matter of letting them know of the plan.

“We’ll get the word out.” Proclaimed Fiser.

A representative of Northwest Ohio Community Action also spoke at the meeting, speaking with the council about the expansion of their Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The group was hoping to move the program into Pioneer, as well as several other villages, extending the service from its original towns of Bryan, Defiance, Edgerton, Napoleon, Paulding, and Wauseon. The council and Mayor Ed Kidston were excited to welcome the SFSP to the village.

Funding for the program originates from the United States Department of Agriculture and local United Way Agencies, before being funneled through the Ohio Department of Education. It’s purpose is to give children in low-income families access to meals that meet federal nutrition guidelines throughout the Summer months. These meals are served five days a week, Monday through Friday between 11:30 A.M. and 1:00 P.M.

The program will begin in Pioneer during the second week of June, and run until the end of August. Food will be served from the town’s shelter house in optimal weather conditions, and inside the community building in case of rain. Children ranging from one to eighteen years old will be able to eat for free.

Another guest was recognized by the board as well. Following up on his visit last month, Pioneer resident Tom Lanhem again addressed the council about issues several of his neighbors and he have had with an owner of multiple cats in the area. Allowing the felines to roam freely throughout the village, the owner has been the subject of a number of complaints.

Referencing a Facebook post by the person in question, in which the owner claimed that they would have to get rid of some of the cats, Lanhem inquired if the village had any involvement in forcing them to do so. Mayor Kidston was diplomatic in his response to the question.

“We’ve taken as aggressive action as is possible.” The second generation mayor admitted. “We hope that this will solve the problem.”

Kidston also mentioned that he was aware of some criticism through social media of both Pioneer Police Chief Timothy Livengood’s and his own handling of the situation. He was a bit more candid when addressing that particular concern.

“Thank God I don’t have a Facebook.”

Village Fiscal Officer April McMillen announced that plans for the village office to accept bill payments through credit and debit cards have been halted in her report to the council. The reason for the delay is a roughly six dollar service charge assessed by the company through which the office would offer the service. McMillen was uncomfortable with that development.

“Maybe I’m just cheap, but I wouldn’t pay six dollars to use my credit card.”

McMillen acknowledged that there could be some people who wouldn’t mind the fee, such as those who are extremely late on their payments and are trying to prevent their services from being disabled. She left it up to the council to decide if they still wanted to go forward with the initial plan, though they didn’t address the issue further at the meeting.

A donation for $5,000 was announced by Kidston. That money, as requested, will go toward maintenance to the village’s softball diamonds for the Summer Rec Ball program.

After several months of securing funds to cover the project, an ordinance officially approving repairs to Pioneer’s First Street was approved by the council. As said project has been discussed so frequently at the council’s regular sessions, the council declared emergency powers to speed along the process and approve the measure that night.
The lengthy ordinance called for the repaving, resurfacing, and reconstructing of various portions of First Street. After the initial reading, the emergency declaration was approved by council. Kidston, who would normally reread the exceptionally wordy ordinance to the council, opted not to do so.

“Hopefully you got it the first time, because I’m not reading it again.” He jested.

Upon the approval of the ordinance, the council voted to adjourn the meeting.

T.J. Hug can be reached at
publisher@thevillagerporter.com

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