MIDDLEPORT — The Middleport Village Council met in regular session on Monday, discussing vacant properties and other agenda items.
Present during the meeting were council members Shawn Arnott, Brian Conde, Larry Byer, Matt Lyons and Susan Page. Also present were Fiscal Officer Susan Baker, Building Inspector Mike Hendrickson, and Supervisor Joe Powell. Council member Ben Reed was absent from the meeting.
Hoffman said council discussed problems with properties that are vacant and have delinquent taxes for some time and felt the village should take the initiative in trying to get something done about some of the properties. Hoffman presented a resolution urging county officials to foreclose on 36 properties in Middleport which are either condemned vacant houses or vacant lots and that the delinquent taxes on these 36 properties are approximately $246,000. Hoffman said he felt these properties could be made useful again if someone purchased them who would clean them up and pay the delinquent taxes. He also stated that no one lived on any of these properties and most were abandoned houses and many had grown up with weeds. Council members agreed with the resolution and passed it unanimously.
Hoffman said Village Administrator Joe Woodall and his crew had been working on a water leak on North Second until early evening and he would not be at the meeting but that if he was needed he could be contacted by phone.
Hoffman said there was a major line break on North Second Avenue on Jan. 16 and that he thanked the employees for their efforts in working all day in the cold to repair the line. Hoffman said the village had about 7-8 inches of snow the same night and with only one truck and two or three employees, it was very difficult to keep up with. He said there were numerous equipment problems which did not help any but that he felt Powell did a “great job” with the equipment and manpower he had.
Powell discussed with council members some of the problems and how they were being corrected, stating parts for equipment were very difficult to obtain very quickly and more spare parts and equipment are needed on hand for such emergencies. Obtaining adequate salt was also a major problem and as of Monday night, they had no salt left. Hoffman said he had made several contacts and may be able to get salt to hold the village over until the shipment arrives.
Hoffman stated that he had been informed by AEP that the street light at the end of Brownell Avenue had been shot out several times with a BB gun and the next time it happens, they will remove the light. Hoffman said he had not been aware of this problem but would talk to Chief Mony Wood about it.
Hoffman stated that the upper portion of Middleport Hill has some very old, out-dated guardrail which needs replaced, and that he was able to get it on an Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) safety program for replacement in July 2023. He said village will need to pay for the design sometime in 2022 which is estimated to cost $8,900. The cost of the guardrail construction will be approximately $59,600 which will be paid through a grant from ODOT. After a short discussion, it was decided to discuss the engineering costs at a later date since no immediate action was needed. Hoffman said he would obtain a firm estimate on the design costs.
Hoffman said the Village of Syracuse planned on advertising their water truck for sale with a minimum bid of $15,000. He said that the truck was a 2018 model and had approximately 47,000 miles on it and that it was in good condition. Hoffman said he felt it would be a good truck for Middleport. After a short discussion, council authorized the mayor to offer Syracuse $15,000 for the vehicle.
Council unanimously approved the second reading of Ordinance 143-22 which establishes a Community Reinvestment Area with tax abatement.
The 2022 Appropriation Resolution was brought up for discussion. Conde said there were several items which he would like to have seen in the appropriations such as funds for recreation and house demolition funds. Lyons also said that he would like to see funds for one house demolition. After a lengthy discussion it was noted that if more funds became available, the appropriations could always be increased using the increased funds for those suggested uses. Council then unanimously passed the Appropriations Resolution.
Building Inspector Hendrickson stated that he has been working on the projects for the village for the land bank and anticipated the $500,000 allocated to the land bank for demolition would be a great benefit to the county and should result in a lot of demolition activities.
Byer said he has been working on changes to the cemetery guidelines and will meet with the committee and other interested individuals including Powell to finalize these guidelines and then proceed to get them placed on a sign for installation at the cemetery.
Conde said Penny Mullen has all the information which she requested in order to give a price on the design of the park for the handicapped. He also stated he had been in touch with several playground equipment companies and was putting together a package of equipment to be purchased for the park with ARPA funds. Conde said he would discuss this with the recreation committee and bring to council in the near future.
Minutes of the Jan. 10 meeting were approved by council and there were no bills presented to council.
The next regular meeting of council will be Feb. 14 at 7 p.m.
Information submitted by Middleport Mayor Fred Hoffman.