Welker: Enormous progress made in Pomeroy

By Lorna Hart - lhart@civitasmedia.com

POMROY — The Pomeroy Village Council addressed village finances and projects currently in progress.

Pomeroy has wrestled with the issue of potholes and slips since last winter’s brutal weather left the village with many issues to deal with. It has taken time and resources to address the concerns, but according to Mayor Jackie Welker, things are improving.

“I think it is important to focus on the progress we’ve made this spring and summer,” he said during Monday’s meeting. “I know people are complaining, but it can’t all be fixed at once, and some things take longer to fix than others (citing the lengthy process involved in repairing slips). I think we should be looking at how much has been done.”

He listed the ongoing paving and sidewalk projects in the downtown area, the slips on Lincoln Terrace and State Street that are being addressed, and the skate park project in the Mechanic Street area as indications the village is moving forward.

A point of contention with motorists has been State Route 833/Main Street through Pomeroy to the Bridge of Honor. The village has made efforts at repairs, but the responsibility for the road lies with the state of Ohio.

“Projects involving the state with the Main Street paving and their correction of the drainage issues at the bridge will help the village enormously,” Welker stated.

Impeding the progress of pothole repair is the need for a new roller. Village Administrator Paul Hillman announced that the roller used for pothole repairs was broken.

“The roller was used when the village purchased it in 1985,” Hillman said. “We’ve gotten a lot of use out of it over the past 25 years, but now it isn’t worth repairing.”

He asked the council to consider funds for the purchase another used roller. With cold weather coming, there is urgency in making the repairs; the asphalt company will close as soon as the temperature drops.

In view of the situation, council approved $750 for a rental while they and Hillman look at options for purchase of a replacement roller.

Mitch Altier, representative from IBI Group, gave his report on village projects on which the company is currently working.

According to his report, paving and sidewalk projects and booster stations for the water system are almost finished and should be completed by November.

“Projects going well and should be wrapped up by the first week in November, weather permitting and if no unanticipated problems arise,” Altier said. “I’m confident the projects will be finished for the beginning of shopping season.”

He reported excavation for the skate park on 7th and McKinney was beginning.

A report presented to council on the village finances by Sue Baker showed a significant savings in electricity costs with the new, energy-efficient light bulbs installed in the street lights on the walking path. The cost per month to light the path went from approximately $500 per month to around $200.

Water costs were again addressed by council, and a question was posed if some of the unexplained water loss could be from vendors at events in the parking lot during the events held this summer. There are currently no meters in place to monitor the water usage.

The improved drainage at the Bridge of Honor should lesson the impact on Pomeroy, saving the village the cost of processing the additional water that has been flowing into the sewer system.

Baker reported that, for many years, the street fund has been overspent and that the funds are currently in the red by more than $110,000. In the past, money from the general fund had been transferred to the street fund to make up the difference. The funds come primarily from the gas tax income, which is approximately $100,000 per year. Given that the village spends that each year on roads, it will be difficult to pay the amount down without additional sources of income.

“The state is permitting village to operate in the red, but it needs to be dealt with,” Baker said, “The question is how to pay for it.”

There is still one residence on Lincoln Terrace affected by the slip without access to gas for heating. The council asked Hillman to reached out to the gas company to ensure residents had heat. Hillman said the gas company may not be able to do anything until the slip repair is completed, which may take a month to finish.

A property on Vale Street has been condemned and residents in the vicinity have asked that it be demolished. A title search is needed before deconstruction on the property could begin, and funds for the search were approved by council.

This brought up the concern that 30 or more properties have been condemned, but each would need a title search before the village could take any action. This would be an expensive proposition, the council said, as would the demolition. Council members discussed how such a project would be funded. Questions were raised as to available grants for demolition or possible restoration of the houses.

Baker noted it is important to place leans on the houses on the properties imminently to avoid loss of funds to the village. Once leans are placed, the property could not be sold before the owner paid the leans, or if the properties were sold, the village would money from the lean for their costs of demolition of the houses.

Penny Hysell made a request to the council that she and her husband would like to put a small used car dealership on their property at 152 Butternut Ave. Hysell provided signatures from all the neighbors that they had agreed to the use of the property for the dealership.

The area currently has businesses located nearby, and provisionally approved their request; the Hysell’s will need a variance and flood plan permit from FEMA.

The Pomeroy council’s next meeting will be Oct. 19.

Contact Lorna Hart at 740-992-2155 Ext. 2551.

By Lorna Hart