Milford Center debates ways to collect overdue utility bills

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The Village of Milford Center has a plan for how to collect on delinquent water bills.
As an update to village council at Monday night’s meeting, village administrator Chris Kise said the problem of collecting the $43,000 in late water bills has been addressed. However, he said the village can’t collect on certain properties because people who owe money in the village don’t own the properties they live on.
“What we found out on our billing, some residents do not own the property,” Kise said. “If that’s the case, even with the ordinance we have… on some of these people who are delinquent, we may have to eat what they owe us and get the water turned back on in the property owner’s name.”
Kise said in order to get this straightened out, the village may find itself writing off certain water bills until this resolves itself. He said what makes the situation difficult is the number of people who owe money because of them having medical waivers.
Solicitor Alison Boggs said a property owner is responsible for paying water bills, and a solution for that would be for the landlord to raise the rent for their tenants to incorporate the water bill.
However, Boggs said the village has been assessing the water bill on the property owner’s taxes when the tenant hasn’t been paying their bill. The problem arose because the village put the tenant’s name on the bill rather than the owner.
Boggs said she’ll talk to Kise and Terri Kean, the village’s water, utilities and sewer chairperson, about revisiting an ordinance concerning water bill collections. This will make sure water account and billing information is updated.
Also at the meeting, the council voted to change its depository from Huntington to another bank, with Richwood Bank, Marysville branch in mind. It passed as an emergency vote.
Councilmember Ron Payne said he noticed the village had been paying $75 to $100 a month in fees to keep its $830,000 in a checking account over the last decade, all while not making anything back in interest.
“It seems to me we need to change depositories, that’s a no-brainer,” Payne said. “This isn’t going to happen overnight if we decide tomorrow to do it.”
Payne said Richwood Bank would be a good idea to switch to because with a checking account there, the village would earn an annual half-percent interest, which is $4,150. He said he chose Richwood bank because it was a local bank.
The depository change could happen immediately, but the transfer of funds could take months or until the end of the year.
Later in the meeting, Boggs gave an update on the covenant between Milford Center and the Ohio EPA concerning Dollar General.
The store is set to open Friday, and the covenant would ensure the village would not build or develop anything on Liberty Park. The store needs the covenant to go through in order for inspections to be held.
Boggs said she contacted an attorney who’s working on the covenant. The attorney told her that the legal definition of Liberty Park has changed.
“At some point, your parcel grew,” Boggs said. “However, it did not grow enough to satisfy the covenant.”
It was found that in 1950, the village was deeded half an acre from a family on West State Street, next to the mill race.
She said the attorney recommended the village would include this half acre of land into the covenant to “satisfy the Ohio EPA.” She also said once the covenant is signed by the Ohio EPA, Dollar General will give $2,000 to the village’s general fund.
The council approved the decision to incorporate the extra piece of land within the covenant.
Also at the meeting:
-Jim Lockwood has been named the new village zoning inspector, replacing Leroy Holt.
-An asphalt mixer that was purchased for $20,400 hasn’t shown up to the village yet. Follow-ups will be conducted with the company as to the whereabouts of the mixer.
-The village passed a resolution appropriating $5,273.90 for the school resource officer DARE officer agreement with the Union County Sheriff’s office. Mayor Virgil Reisinger said this is a lower amount to be paid because the Sheriff’s office had extra funds.
-Kise requested the council start charging residents monthly for storm sewer runoff to help pay for cleaning. He said charging residents $3 a month would be “smart to do” so the village could stop taking money from the streets fund for storm sewer work. It was agreed there will be a future discussion about it.
-Derek Wilson, the parks, events, recreation and community chairperson, said the ceilings have been installed in the restrooms at Bicentennial Park, the VFW donated two new picnic tables, the graffiti from another picnic table had been cleaned, the toilet and hot water heater were fixed and the Eagle Scouts are working on benches near the basketball court. He also said cameras were donated but need to be installed.
He said a person is needed to be hired to start mowing and weed trimming soon. Kise recommended he look into Evergreen Lawn Care.
-Wilson proposed new park rules and shelter information. The council approved of new prices for pavilion rental, as well as the new rules. Council said the new rules and rental charges will be posted on the village’s Facebook site, park bulletin board and rental applications.
-Dennis Baker, executive director of North Central Ohio Solid Waste District, and James Skora, senior manager of GT Environmental, Inc., approached the council to propose contracting them as a single trash hauler for the village. They requested guidance on what they could do to earn the village’s patronage.
-The village approved a resolution to move $44,412 from the general fund to the water fund to pay off loans. The loan to pay off these loans will be no interest and will be repaid in four equal payments on July 1 of each year up to 2022.



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