It is taking some time, but the village’s efforts with nuisance properties are progressing, according to the city manager in his report to the Greenfield Village Council at its regular meeting this week.
Wilkin reported the CIC (Community Improvement Corporation) received a quit claim deed to a property at 719 Spring St., and that is in the process of being filed with the county. Additionally, the county auditor is to remove all the delinquent taxes from the property.
Another property, this one located at 769 Spring St., was the subject of a hearing Tuesday in front of Highland County Common Pleas Court Judge Rocky Coss, Wilkin said. The village has asked that the property be placed in receivership of the CIC. The outcome of that hearing is not yet known.
Wilkin said the village will continue to work to remove the blight of nuisance properties.
At a council meeting in October, Wilkin and Greenfield Law Director Brian Zets discussed the village’s efforts to remove blighted properties. Six properties were targeted then, just a small part of what needs doing, Wilkin said at the time, and something the village intends to continue to pursue.
On a related matter, an ordinance regarding the condemnation of unsafe structures had its first reading.
According to Wilkin’s report, a home was previously discussed at a council meeting where the occupants were living without running water, defecating in buckets, and emptying those buckets on their neighbor’s property.
At the time, council passed legislation that would require running water in a home, but there was never a condemnation process or a penalty established for a person(s) living in a home without running water. Tuesday’s legislation takes care of that.
“This legislation helps us insure the health and safety of our citizens,” Wilkin said.
The ordinance was received and will go through two more readings before a vote can be taken for adoption.
The discussion of making all downtown alleys, with the exception of one behind the City Building, one-way is moving forward. It would make all the alleys in the downtown area, with the exception previously noted, only enterable from Jefferson and Washington streets. No vehicles will be allowed to exit from the alleys onto those two main roads in the downtown area.
According to Wilkin, it is a matter of safety. Currently the village is collecting pricing for the necessary signage and the change will be enforced once that signage is in place.
On another matter, legislation regarding a jail housing agreement with Ross County was adopted by council members. The agreement states that Ross County is requesting to house prisoners in the Greenfield jail every day.
The agreement will mean revenue for the police department, and it is something that Wilkin said is a reflection of Police Chief Jeremiah Oyer’s “hard work and dedication for and to Greenfield.”
Council Chair Phil Clyburn echoed that thought and commended the chief’s actions.
The decennial U.S. Census is upon us. For that reason, Sam Knight of the U.S. Census Bureau spoke to the Greenfield council about getting the word out about the importance of participating in the 2020 census.
Knight said participation in the census is imperative due to a number of factors, chief among those being fair funding for government programs benefiting the area, and representation in the government.
He also noted that any information provided in the census is protected under U.S. Code Title 13. Census information cannot be shared with other government agencies, he said, and census workers are “sworn for life” to protect census information.
Response options for the upcoming census will include online, by mail, by phone, or in person.
Knight said there are census-related employment opportunities available for local people. Anyone interested can go to 2020census.gov/jobs.
Following Knight’s presentation, council members voted to form a Complete Count Committee (CCC). After the membership has been established, the committee will, over the coming months, help to ensure that each citizen is counted.
Legislation introduced at Tuesday’s meeting included a permanent step increase table for all village employees. Legislation for both police and non-police employees was adopted.
The legislation regarding the police employees also re-establishes a lieutenant position within the department.
The tables represent the pay increases associated with each step, Wilkin said, and will help employees better recognize the value of each step and position within the pay scale.
Wilkin updated council on Felson Park improvements, specifically regarding the proposed path from the park to the area of the Grain & Hay building owned by the Greenfield Historical Society. He said the society has requested an easement with a maintenance agreement for the proposed path. That agreement will be worked on by Zets, Wilkin said.
A specific safety matter has been brought to the attention of the village regarding tree branches obstructing stop signs and traffic lights. It was believed that the village could do nothing directly since the pruning of the trees is, by ordinance, the responsibility of the homeowner and would require following a protocol by the village to notify the homeowner of the need to prune a tree in a given area. However, in reviewing other village ordinances, Wilkin said he believes the village is able to remove the obstructions when they pose a safety hazard.
He said the village’s bucket truck will be used to prune some low-hanging branches at Sixth and Jefferson streets. If there are any other areas at stop signs or traffic lights that need attention, notify the village by calling 937-981-3500.
Greenfield Village Council meets in regular session the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers on the first floor of the City Building.
Angela Shepherd is a correspondant for the village of Greenfield.