Fayette village council 2011.10.05

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Three Fayette residents spoke critically of a sidewalk proposal at the September village council meeting Wednesday.

Dave Lichtenwald criticized a proposed sidewalk assessment that would levy an annual fee of $20 for a sidewalk repair fund and $10 for a tree removal fund. This would create a fund to help with future work.

Lichtenwald noted that he already spent $4,500 to replace sidewalks at two properties and he doesn’t think it’s right for those who already made repairs to pay again.

Lichtenwald asked why the sidewalk repair program was changed after it was started.

Mayor Ruth Marlatt, who is a member of the Sidewalk Review Board discussing the proposal, said that some issues were encountered during the first phase of the program—repairing walks along Main and Fayette streets—and the changes would help address them. Council members heard about the proposal at the committee of the whole meeting Sept. 14.

Lichtenwald said he’s spoken with several people who are opposed to the proposal.

“I don’t think it’s fair. Why change it when you’ve got something started?” he asked.

Marlatt said she doesn’t expect the proposal to become law as it’s currently written. She stated that it will be “tweaked” before it’s brought to council for a vote.

Audience member Bob Becker said he replaced walks at his property without complaint, but he doesn’t want to be assessed for someone else’s walk.

The sidewalk committee discussed exempting those who have already made repairs.

Village administrator Amy Metz noted that Lichtenwald and Becker both replaced their walks when only spot repair was needed. Their efforts greatly improve the appearance of the neighborhood, she said.

Former council member and interim mayor Craig Rower said he was opposed to the sidewalk repair plan when it was approved by council and now he’s upset that it’s going to be halted after some residents complied.

Residents on Main and Fayette streets were forced to make repairs, he said, and now there’s talk of suspending it. Rower spoke of a possible class action lawsuit that would repay residents for money spent on sidewalk repair—“for every inch of concrete that’s been put down in this town.” He said this would result in a 10 percent hit to the village budget.

Rower said the program was initially justified for the safety of children. Is that no longer a concern? he asked.

Marlatt asked where Rower heard that the program would be indefinitely suspended, and Rower said, “That’s what I’m hearing.”

“I’ve never heard it said that it will be suspended indefinitely,” Marlatt said about the rumor. 

Marlatt said the program will continue in regard to determining which walks are next for repair, but property owners will have about two years to complete the work. She expects that some people will act on their own to make repairs.

“I wish we didn’t have to talk about it here,” said councilor Rodney Kessler. “I wish every home owner would take responsibility for their own property and do it without us having to do a thing.”

Council member Julia Ruger agreed.

“It’s part of our ordinance, for you as a home owner, to maintain your sidewalk,” Ruger said. “I am so sick and tired of people complaining.”

“If you want to live in a nice community,” Kessler added, “you have to take care of it.”

The village applied in the past for Safe Routes to School funding for sidewalk work, but was not awarded money.

  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017