CAMDEN — Camden Village Council met on Thursday, July 7, and heard concerns and complaints from residents about housing maintenance codes.
During the meeting, several community members expressed their opinions regarding unfair regulations concerning housing renovations conducted by property owners.
Trent Hughes, who owns 150 South Main Street, addressed a problem regarding renovations he is making on the property that is currently unoccupied. A letter sent to him by inspectors said the property is unsafe, and despite him providing proof of improvements, stated he must tear down the building within nine days of the mailing date.
Hughes asked who is making the decisions and why the criterias on items such as rubbish, leaking roofs, etc, are erratic and unfair.
Others, including resident Ted Ashton, expressed troubles with similar issues. Ashton complained that contractors hired by the village have damaged his property and have not upheld equal compliance of the property maintenance codes. According to Ashton, he was told city workers told them “that if improvements were constant, there would be no problems.”
Ashton questioned, what is a fair level of “progress of improvements” by the authorities. Council suggested that complainants take their grievances to the Board of Appeals.
In other business, John Lay of Techforce presented to council a proposal for a new website for the village’s use. According to Lay, this was offered previously to council. The website will cost $35 each quarter. The company will provide updates, maintenance, security and backup data. Techforce will also provide a host server for up to 15 government emails which will allow greater security. Council has yet to reach a decision to move on this offer.
Rob Beglin of USI Insurance, presented information regarding a property and casualty insurance package for the village. He made comparisons of the current coverage used by the city, and coverages used elsewhere, including Gratis and multiple Dayton municipalities. Issues addressed in the coverage would be sensitive item security breaches, errors where someone fails to report a property that is damaged until later, and others. This is done through a pool system in which the council may choose to leave without penalty and the company would refund money to the city should they leave. A lengthy discussion was held on the details of the coverage.
During village staff reports, a resolution was brought up for Time Warner Cable to install an underground cable to connect with the public library. Time Warner will bore under South Main Street to install the cable, no topside tearing-up will occur, according to officials. This will help improve cable connections for the library. Council approved the resolution.
Bids for demolishing a condemned house at 35 South Second street were opened. Three bids were offered. One, at $8,500, was accepted.
Lions Club volunteers will be making renovations on the Water Park restrooms such as painting, cleanup and more. Council will give the club $500 for materials to accomplish the task.
Village staff reported fire hydrants are flushing out water on schedule, and several citizens have commented on the improvements in the quality of the water.
Under old business, council discussed allowing business owner Mark Klapper to tap into the city water system, bringing in additional water for his business at 7202 North Main Street. The resolution will allow Klapper to have access to 6,000 gallons at bulk price, but he will be paying more than residential price. By doing this, it will free up the station to fill up without tying up city water for residents.
Also, discussed was the problem with parking on Cottage Street. As mentioned in previous meetings, the lack of space has made Cottage Street parking precarious, as the street is a two-way flow of traffic between North Main Street and Depot Street. It was discussed how it would inconvenience residents who do not have off street parking if parking is eliminated, and how on one corner, parking presents a problem for motorists making turns. First reading of a resolution to create an ordinance to establish regulations and a schedule of fines was brought up. Both sides of the street will be off limits to parking at all times, and signs will be posted for enforcement.
The finance committee reported the current budget is in order. Council member Kelly Doran made a motion that village staff Nelson McKeebler and Billy Reece be granted a pay raise of a $1.50 and $.75 per hour increase, respectively. It was stated by Doran that village workers have not received a pay raise in several years. The motion was approved.
A five-year tax levy which will appear on the November ballot will be a renewal of the current levy as-is. This will reduce the millage for Camden citizens without introducing a new tax.
The final portion of the financial committee’s report asked council to reduce the sewer rates by $5 per household in Camden. There is an excess amount of money in the sewer fund after a number of years of collection. The debt to sewer expenses has been paid off. The approved $5 decrease could take affect in September.
Camden Council meets the first and third Thurdays of each month, at 7 p.m. at the Camden Village Hall located at 56 North Main Street.
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH