PORT JEFFERSON – Village residents here will be asked to continue their support of the local fire department in November with the renewal of a current 1-mill, 3-year, property tax levy. If passed, the funds would help offset the village’s costs for fire protection.
Council members voted 4-0 to pass the ordinance as an emergency to meet the filing deadline for the Nov. 7 election. Council member Heather Clark, who resigned from the council earlier in the day, was not in attendance.
Mayor Steve Butterfield said figures from the county auditor’s office indicate the levy would provide $3,483 for the village. That is based on the village’s property valuation total of $3,489,000.
Butterfield added this renewal marks the third time the levy has been on the ballot.
Regarding the Clark resignation, Butterfield indicated she had called him earlier in the day to resign. She reportedly commented that she no longer had the time to serve on council. If the remaining council members do not recommend a resident within 30 days, the mayor then has the authority to appoint someone, Butterfield said.
The council took legislative action and heard promises regarding several issues regarding trash collection, and the cleanup of private property.
The council passed an emergency ordinance to add 50 cents per month to the village bill for a trash collection access fee. The fee adds no value to residents in the trash collection process, but will be deposited to the village’s General Fund. The new fee will begin with the August bill.
The ordinance also keeps the access fee in place for future refuse contracts.
In discussion about trash and junk piles collecting on village properties, resident Don Fair asked council their plans to clean up these problems. Odor complaints and unsightliness were the main offenses.
Butterfield said he and Police Chief Mark Bell would be drafting a letter for distribution to all property owners. The document will outline guidelines regarding high grass/weeds, junk automobiles and other refuse matters. It will also inform residents of warnings and fines for offenders.
In July, Bell and the mayor intend to go door-to-door distributing the letters in person. The regulations would be enforced beginning in August.
In a third trash collection matter, the mayor said the village has a contract with Rumpke Waste, Inc. Any residents contracting with a different company would be warned it was against the ordinance. If future violations were to occur, the matter would be handled by the police department.
Part time village worker hired
The council agreed to hire Dustin Butterfield as a village worker. The mayor said his son, Dustin, has donated his services in the past when emergency situations arose. He has also handled mowing services along the canal at no charge.
Dustin works another job and would be hired as a part time worker at a rate of $9.50 per hour. He would also work on repairing potholes, erecting road signs, removing fallen trees and weed removal.
A job awaiting the new-hire will be the replacement of all 41 traffic signs in the village this summer.
The mayor reported the village was a partial beneficiary of a grant received by the Salem Township Trustees. The village was included as part of the sign replacement program grant which will pay 100 percent of the material cost.
Included in the replacement will be all speed limit, one-way and stop signs. The posts, reflective markers, and small parts are included.
The council also approved action to sell a 2.9-acre tract of land near the City Building. The former playground can be sold without bidding the property, if it is being sold to a non-profit organization that provides the village a service.
Butterfield indicated the fire department is considering the construction of a larger facility at the site.
In other council matters:
• Approved the rate structure for village-based fees regarding cases administered through Sidney Municipal Court.
• Heard the mayor will draft a letter to the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency indicating the villages wishes to participate in the county’s mitigation plan regarding natural disaster response.
• Resident Carol Reeves asked council about a community garage sale. She was informed the council is not involved with the such community-led sales.
• Heard Bell added Joshua Schmidt as an additional volunteer auxiliary officer.
• Bell also reported that in May there were eight calls for services including three warnings and a public intoxication situation.
The next council meeting is set for July 3 at 7 p.m. at the Community Hall.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News