House Bill 5 changes tax rules, council discusses

By Lorna Hart -

MIDDLEPORT — At their recent meeting Middleport Council discussed House Bill 5, which was passed by the State of Ohio despite protests from municipalities. Instead of going directly to the municipalities, monies pass through the state coffers before being distributed, according to discussion.

According to Sue Baker, as a result of the changes, the Village of Middleport may receive less money, but she is still looking into how the new legislation will work. The Village will not see a repeal or change in current tax laws as they will have six years under current tax law.

The ordinance will have an effect on taxes paid in 2016 forward, and Middleport will us both the current and newly enacted ordinances through 2022.

Council asked for an update on the the status of Salisbury Township’s responsibility to share more of the cost of fire and EMS services provided by Middleport. The village feels that their residents are paying an undue amount of taxes to provide services for the township, and that Salisbury should shoulder more of the responsibility. No vote or decision has been made as to the course of action the village will take.

The council also passes a resolution to accept amounts and rates. Doing so is a routine procedure but necessary.

The American Legion has requested the flag holders currently attached to telephone poles lining the streets in Middleport need to be repaired and some parts replaced. The cost to the village for replacement and repair would be $250, with the Legion providing the labor. A motion to cost share with Legion was approved.

Mike Hendrickson, current building inspector, recommended Dave Swisher to serve on the Board of Zoning appeals approved.

An ordinance was adopted to establish the position of Waste Water Superintendent by a vote of four yes and two no. Joe Woodhall has been hired to fill the position.

Woodhall then advised council that one of the current snow plows is damaged, and the price of repair was more than the cost of purchasing a new one, and provided estimates.

According to Woodhall, the village need to consider replacing their fleet of dump trucks. Not only does one of the snow plows need to be replaced, one of the dump trucks in the fleet will need to be upgraded as well; one is broken and another is rusted and unable to dump. He said he had purchased some materials to repair the one that is rusted.

The lowest bid received for a snow plow was $41,000 and carried with it with it a seven year loan and a five year warranty.

According to the Middleport Board of Public Affairs, they need a new dump truck, and offered to allow the village to share the cost with them. By sharing the cost between water, sewer and refuge funds, the village street fund would pay one fourth the cost of the purchase, with payments of approximately $180.00 per month.

The vehicle would serve a variety of uses, including brush, dirt and snow removal and Woodhall said it would be a good all around utility vehicle for the village.

A discussion followed, and Mayor Gerlach asked for a motion to purchase the truck. The resolution was approved by all council members.

Clarence Might, presented a bill to the Village for $500 for vinyl flooring and paint. According to Might, the family room was flooded with sewer water on June 26, resulting in damage that required a lengthy clean up effort.

“Everything that was on the floor floated,” he said. “We a 64-day clean up and restoration project that began with removing and disposing of the carpet, padding, baseboard and everything on the floor before we could begin to dry the area and begin redecorating.”

He said the basement had never flooded during the 18 years he has lived in the residence and blamed the new sewage system for the flooding that occurred.

He claims that after an inspection by the EPA, a letter was sent to the village citing them for failure to prevent discharge in the home, according to the Ohio Administrative Code. He said according to the letter, a clog in one the sewer systems led to a domino effect which led to the flooding in his basement.

“The bill I am submitting does not include labor, cleaning supplies or items on the floor that were that were destroyed or the inconvenience we went through as a result of the basement family room being flooded with sewer water, “ he said.

There was again discussion by council as to what caused several houses to flood as a result of heavy rains on June 26. Choice one is conducting a hydraulic analysis to determine the exact cause, which is suspected to be heavy rain that created mine water run in an amount that the water system was not designed to handle.

Middleport village is in the process of seeking funds for a project to address future mine runoff.

The minutes from September’s meeting were read by Sue Baker. Council members voted to approve the minutes, with seven affirmative votes and one council member abstaining. The minutes from the special meeting held Oct. to discuss village legal issues and the budget were also approved.

Motions were made to approve payment of bills, income tax report and the Mayors report for January thru September.

The Village Solicitor also asked for a special meeting to discuss legal matters with the Village; the date and time will be Oct. 19 at 7 p.m.

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

By Lorna Hart