The Wellsville Village Council held their regular meeting on Tuesday, June 5. The Mayor and all Council members were present except for Tony Cataldo, who was excused for an emergency. Also present at the meeting was Fiscal Officer Dale Davis, Village Administrator Thom Edgell, Zoning Administrator Rick Williams and Legal Advisor Andy Beech.
Crime Watch Committee President Janet Taggart led off the Public Speaking portion of the agenda. Taggart invited members of Council and the administration to attend the monthly Crime Watch meetings. Those meetings are held on the third Thursday of every month at Village Hall. They are open to the public but attendance is generally lean in numbers. There is seldom any Village official or any representative of the Police Department that attend, even though there is both a PD and Council liaison. The purpose of the Crime Watch Committee is to provide an opportunity of open dialogue between members of the public and Village officials. If anyone has concerns about anything they consider troubling, it gives them a chance to relay their information to officials. On the other hand it also gives Village officials, especially the police, the chance to warn and advise residents of any type of information that needs to be passed on. Crime Watch is for the mutual benefit of everyone in the community as was recently pointed out by retired Detective Sgt. Mike Hardy. Hardy retired from the Atlanta, GA, police force and was a recent speaker at one of the Wellsville meetings. He noted that Crime Watch is an excellent community relations tool that is widely used in Atlanta. He was astounded and dismayed when told about attendance at the Wellsville meetings.
The next Crime Watch Committee meeting is Thursday, June 21, at 6 PM. Mr. Dane Walton, the Columbiana County Juvenile Court & Probation Officer, will be the guest speaker. The meetings are open to the public and free of admission.
Mrs. Karen Dash, representing the Hammond Park Commission, put in a plea for Council’s support with any improvements or upgrades to Wellsville’s only public park. Mrs. Dash noted there was much that needs to be done to improve the park and asked that Council be cooperative with their endeavors.
Mayor Susan Haugh remarked that Village Administrator Edgell recently accompanied her on a walking tour of the park. There is much that needs to be done. Unfortunately most of it would have to be done with volunteer help. Anyone interested in helping is asking to contact Village Hall.
Barb Racek speaking on behalf of the group called “Hopper Shoppers” announced that, in spite of recent reports, they are not dumpster diving, ripping open garbage bags and leaving a mess of litter. Fellow member Sonya Davis said what they do is cruise alleyways and streets looking for anything that has been set out on the curb that can be salvaged. They do not go through garbage cans or bags but do look for items that can be refurbished. For more information on the group check out their Face Book page.
Councilman Don Brown said he got a call from someone accusing the Hopper Shoppers of going through garbage bags and then just leaving a mess. Waste Management employee Don Heiny said the piles of litter is becoming a real problem. Brown asked if anyone witnesses people going through garbage leaving a mess to please contact the Police, the Mayor’s Office or him. Brown noted if caught the offenders will be cited and fined. The Mayor added getting some pictures of the offenders would be a huge help. Councilwoman Dinch suggested getting a schedule of garbage pick-up dates from the refuse companies. Then the police can be advised to pay more attention to the scheduled areas.
Clark Avenue resident Chuck Allen asked if speed limit signs can be installed at the lower end of Clark. Allen noted that it’s like a drag strip with traffic coming off or entering Route 7. Allen said his biggest concern is the safety of children in the neighborhood. Even though his children are grown he would hate to see a child injured or worse. Commerce Street resident Tori Welsh said it is just as bad on both Maple & Commerce. The Mayor said that the speed limit on all Village Streets is 25 MPH. She has often thought that in many areas that is too fast and maybe the speed limit could be lowered. She said it would be looked into.
Broadway resident Sue Orr noted that the yard sale last week-end along Route 45, under the Rt. 7 overpass, “is so awful” and needs to be relocated. The Mayor assured Mrs. Orr that it won’t happen again. By the time she found out about it this past week the lady was packing up for the day.
First Christian Church Youth Pastor Brandon Russell asked Council’s permission to block off Main Street between 8th & 9th on June 27 from 5 to 9 PM. The church will be holding block party that evening and there is simply not enough room in the yard next to their buildings. The block party will be open to the public, young and old. There will be free food and other giveaways. The block party is part of their “Mission Wellsville”. Dinch got a motion passed to approve the request and asked that they inform their neighbors that the street will be blocked.
Dave Butcher of 12th Street offered his kudos to all involved in Tuesday’s drug raids.
For Administration Reports, Village Administrator Edgell advised that he too received complaints about the trash problem. Edgell noted that Columbiana has scheduled days for items such as the Hopper Shoppers were talking about to be picked up.
Edgell also thanked a list of individuals from volunteers to Village employees for all they do on behalf of the town. He noted that associates from Stevensons recently did some work at the floodwall, Jan Wasko for her efforts at the Boy & the Boot and First Christian for supplying van transportation for the volunteers that help clean up Springhill Cemetery.
Zoning Administrator Rick Williams reported that year-to-date there have been 22 construction licenses, 21 zoning permits and three vendor’s licenses issued.
Haugh noted that the action taken earlier in the day with warrants being served by the Sheriff’s Department, CC Drug Task Force, Federal US Marshalls and WPD is just one step in ridding Wellsville of drug dealers. She advised “we are not done with our mission to remove these people”. Haugh concluded her Mayor’s Report sending a message to Village landlords. She advised “if you’re knowingly letting these dealers and users rent from you, you’re next!”
For the Committee Reports, Finance Committee Chair Diane Dinch submitted bills totaling $89,846 for the month of May for Council’s approval. In light of the recent State Audit it’s not much of a report but it’s a start. Maybe it will improve as they get a better grasp of what is the resident’s right to know without the noted “dings”.
Sewage Committee Chairman Don Brown said there are a lot of residents with outstanding sewage bills. Brown warned that if arrangements are not made the residents with past due bills will have their water shut off – no water, no flushing. If that happens it will cost the resident an additional $50 to get the water back.
Street Committee Chair Tonda Ross got a motion passed for the Wellsville SOI to block Main Street from 3rd to 4th in early August for the Italian Fest. An official from the SOI Festival Committee noted that McGraw’s Drive-In will not be blocked off.
In legislative action Council approved getting things started to put levy renewals on the ballot for the 1.4 mill Fire Levy and the .5 mill Floodwall Levy. These levies will expire at the end of the year. An additional four levies were passed that will eliminate holiday pay for Village employees. Instead of named holidays, employees will be given 88 hours each year, paid at straight hourly rates. It’s a cost saving measure eliminating time & half holiday rates for the 11 holidays. Most of the Village wages are paid from the General Fund. Former Financial Committee Chairman Tony Cataldo has been saying for at least the last two years that General Fund expenditures have to be reduced as one of the steps to keep Wellsville out of Fiscal Emergency. Finally an ODOT request to be permitted to repave Route 39 from the Village limits to the Route 7 overpass was approved. The resurfacing will be at no cost to the Village.
In Old Business Thom Edgell issued a reminder of the 50/50 sidewalk program being offered again. This year’s program is restricted to all areas in between 1st to 6th. There is a sign-up sheet in the lobby at Village Hall for those interested. Residents that sign on have to pay their share upfront. For more information contact either Edgell or Rick Williams. The phone number at Village Hall is 330-532-2524. Edgell’s office is extension 14 and Williams is extension 15.
The meeting adjourned at 6:42 PM. The next scheduled meeting is Tuesday, June 19 at 6 PM.