PJ Council approves holiday party

By Matt Clayton - For the Sidney Daily News

PORT JEFFERSON — Port Jefferson Council gave its approval for volunteers to decorate and prepare the Community Center for the annual Christmas Party slated for this coming weekend.

It was noted that Pastor Ernie Jones with the New Life church in Port Jefferson had recently requested that the building be available the night before the party, so as to allow volunteers the opportunity to prepare the night before; council gave its unanimous approval.

The event will take place Saturday, Dec. 8, from noon to 3 p.m. and is supported by volunteers from New Life Church, Spring Creek Christian Church, the Port Jefferson Church of Christ and several unnamed individuals. The Christmas party is open to the public and will feature Santa, treats for the kids, food, music and caroling. There will be games, prizes, fun and fellowship for all who attend.

After calling the regular December meeting to order, Mayor Steve Butterfield shared information on last month’s revenue from traffic violations, and Fiscal Officer Judy Fair presented a financial report outlining the normal expenditures for the month. Butterfield noted the village took in $919 in traffic fines, with the bulk of the income going into the general fund and a small percentage to the police and computer funds. Butterfield also suggested paying a $100 clean-up deposit refund to those who recently rented the Community Center, noting they had done a nice job and actually left the hall in better shape than they found it; council agreed to pay the refund.

The mayor then opened the floor to old business and village resident Don Fair asked about Republic Services’s making illegal trash pick-ups at two homes within the corporation limits, which is a violation as Rumke Waste and Recycling has been contracted to handle trash pick-up and has exclusive rights to do so in Port Jefferson. Butterfield said he was well aware of the situation and measures were taken to correct it.

“Republic has a couple of commercial accounts here in town, which is allowed, but I called and informed them that further pick-up of refuse at residents’ (homes) would result in a $150 fine for each offense. They assured me they wanted no part of that and would no longer do any residential pick-ups.” Butterfield also noted he has informed the village police about the issue, and they would take appropriate measures if needed.

Fair then asking about several residents who routinely store large amounts of trash and garbage for long periods of time on trailers outside their homes. Butterfield responded by noting that village ordinances are in place to address this and the practice is not allowed.

“All residents must haul away their trash or have it done so by contracted services (Rumke) every seven days or be in violation. This problem can and will be enforced by council; there are ordinances already in place, but each offense must be presented in writing to council prior to a regularly scheduled meeting, with an address of the person/persons in question, to initiate any action. The names of those submitting the complaints will remain confidential when presented to council, or they can voice their complaint if they so desire. Each issue must be documented from now on, so a phone call to me or any of the council members or talking to us in passing on the street is no longer permissible. If anyone has a problem with anything in the village, such as trash removal, junk cars sitting around or any other situations deemed unacceptable, they need to bring it to council, and we will take appropriate measures to fix the problem,” Butterfield said.

In other old business, Councilman Tim Smith reported that he had talked to Marvin Hoelsher at M&T Mowers in Hardin about repairing the village lawn mower and how much it would cost. It was noted the village did not purchase an extended warranty when the mower was purchased from Lowe’s Home Improvement Center in Sidney, and though they only used the mower for about 100 hours, the repairs needed were not covered by Lowe’s.

“Marvin told me that broken axels are a common problem with Husqvarna mowers and that he already has several junk mowers of that type sitting around for parts,” said Smith. “Therefore, he really wasn’t interested in buying our mower. It would cost about $800 to repair, which is close to what we paid for it, so considering we really don’t have that much to mow in town since selling the Village Park to the fire department, I don’t feel that’s in our best interest to keep the mower. It might make a good project for someone willing to get the parts and fix it themselves, so I suggest we put it on Facebook Market place for sale,” Smith said. Council agreed and the mower will be initially listed on Facebook for $300 or best offer.

Smith also reported he had two estimates for repairing the roof on the village office building but felt it would be better to wait until spring to make the repairs, as warmer temperatures are needed to insure the new asphalt shingles seal properly after installment. Council agreed, and the estimates will be filed until further action is taken in the spring. Smith also reported the potholes on South Elm Street west of the 47 Bar and Grill were temporarily repaired until the street reconstruction slated for next year takes place.

In new business, Butterfield reported he met with Police Chief Mark Bell (who is also the newly appointed street commissioner) about replacing some stop signs and one-way street signs and getting new reflectors installed on a number of the sign posts around the village. Council approved moving forward with the repairs and replacements.

Butterfield reported a tire went flat on the police cruiser and needs to be repaired; council approved repairing or replacing the tire. Butterfield then appointed a new committee to look into building a village garage and storage facility for the village vehicles.

“We started talking about this a long, long time ago, and the time has come to get this project underway and finished as soon as possible,” said Butterfield, who noted, “our village truck only has 11,000 miles on it but is already shot due to sitting outside in the weather all year long. This building would save us a lot of cost in repairs and protect our vehicles and other implements from unneeded exposure to the elements and possible vandalism or theft. I therefore appoint Tim Smith, Bob Bollinger and David Clem to a special committee to come up with a plan and get new estimates for this project, and I will see what I can do in the way of getting some grant money to help with the construction,” Butterfield said.

Before adjournment, Butterfield distributed a copy of the appropriations ordinance for the year ending Dec. 31 and told council there will be a special meeting, Dec. 29 to wrap up this year’s business dealings. He also gave each member of council a copy of the recent village audit done by the state of Ohio.

“Please take a look at these reports and contact me before our next meeting if you have any questions,” Butterfield said. Before closing, Clem thanked all in attendance and praised the mayor and council members for a job well done: “This has been a great year for our village with a lot of improvements made, especially to our streets. I would like to acknowledge those who work so hard to make Port Jefferson a better place to work and live. Thank you,” he said.

The last 2018 Port Jefferson Council meeting is slated for Dec. 29 at 1:30 p.m. in the Community Center and is open to the public. Residents and other guests are encouraged to attend.

By Matt Clayton

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.