MECHANICSBURG – The Mechanicsburg Village Council on Oct. 19 discussed options for the upcoming leaf pickup season.

For months, the village has been in talks with Tri-County Regional Jail in hopes of having a few inmates help with leaf collection this year. A recent development, however, has left the option in jeopardy.

Village Administrator April Huggins-Davis said that during a recent conversation with Tri-County Regional Jail Executive Director Scott Springhetti, he expressed concerns over the liability issue if something were to happen to one of the inmates while working for the village.

“He seemed to think the village would be responsible,” Huggins-Davis said, adding she is waiting to hear back from the Champaign County Commissioners’ Office since “the county is responsible for their inmates’ medical bills.”

The liability issue, Huggins-Davis said, could keep the village from getting help with leaf pickup this season.

“We are going to start to pick up leaves next week,” she said. “If we don’t (get inmate help), we are going to go with who we have.”

During the meeting, it was noted that several village officials and employees have expressed a willingness to help with leaf collection.

Huggins-Davis said the village will not pick up brush until further notice.

“If property owners have any brush, they can take it to Mill Street (brush pile located behind Street Department building),” she said.

Street repairs

Council received an update on the progress made this year through the village’s crack seal program.

“Sceva (Avenue) is pretty much sealed up on one side most of the way down,” Huggins-Davis said. “We found out (the crack seal filler) didn’t go too far on a street like Sceva.

“We decided when we had a couple of boxes left, we would go and seal all the water main breaks that we had done last spring that weren’t sealed, so we went around and sealed those and the streets around those where they had cracked,” she added. “We then started at Ronato’s and went all the way out West Main Street almost to the water plant before we ran out of product.”

With leaf pickup about to get underway, Huggins-Davis said, a decision was made not to order more crack seal filler until next year.

As for the street project aimed at rehabbing portions of Park Avenue, Pleasant Street and Walnut Street, Huggins-Davis said Strawser Construction, Columbus, is expected to finish the repairs by the end of the week.

The $74,492 project was funded through the village’s share of the county’s permissive tax.

In other business:

•Council briefly discussed the need for a village website. Huggins-Davis said she has started looking into the option and received estimates ranging from $2,000 to $27,000.

“I think it’s time that we have one,” she said. “I think it would be easier to get information out (to the public), and all the departments can feed into it.”

Huggins-Davis agreed to continue researching the village’s website options.

•Citing a recent issue involving a FedEx driver unable to locate a home in the village, Mayor Greg Kimball reminded residents of a village ordinance that calls for address numbers on all buildings and homes to be a minimum of 4 inches high, reflective and visible. Residents can purchase address numbers that meet these criteria at the municipal building.

•Police Chief John Alexander stated the Chevrolet Impala cruiser is back in service, and the department recently conducted another drug raid, bringing the total for the year into the double digits.

“We are working on a few more,” he said.

•Fire Chief Bob Keene informed council that Engine 30 has been out of service for a week, but should be repaired by the end of the week.

“The transfer pump just needs rebuilt,” he said.

•Beggars Night will take place in the village from 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 31. During the event, Keene said, he will host an open house at the municipal building in which residents are invited to stop by to check out the village’s emergency vehicles and learn more about the upcoming fire and EMS levy.

•Keene noted field fires have been keeping local fire departments busy the past week.

“Right now it’s a very dry season, so please be careful with what you are burning and where you are burning it,” he said.

In a related matter, Keene said during a recent trip to Urbana in the brush truck, he had an issue with vehicles not pulling over to the side of the road. He asked that drivers be on the lookout for lights and sirens and to pull over as a courtesy to all emergency personnel.

•Council passed a motion approving the hauling of sewer sludge at a cost of $19,500.

•Keene reminded residents that when they set their clocks back on Nov. 1, they should also replace batteries in all smoke detectors and make sure their carbon monoxide detectors are working.

By Joshua Keeran

[email protected]

Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.

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