ST. PARIS – The village council started Monday’s regular meeting with a moment of silence for longtime council member and village resident Larry Watkins.
Watkins died July 18. He was an active member on village council and the JSP Fire District Board for 17 years.
“Anybody that’s been here before knows how much Larry meant to this community, how much he cared about this community,” Mayor Joe Reneer said.
Acknowledging that business must continue, council appointed village resident Dave Palmer to fill the vacancy on council. Palmer along with village resident Gary Doeden expressed interest in the vacancy.
When a motion to appoint Palmer was brought up, council voted unanimously 4-0 to make the appointment. Council member Terry Ervin II was absent.
A Registered Nurse, Palmer said he has been a village resident for close to 28 years and has attended council meetings often over the last couple of years.
“I’m very committed to this town and I love St. Paris and I want to do what’s best for St. Paris,” Palmer said.
In addition to the council appointment, council unanimously appointed council member Lynn Miller to the fire district board to fill that vacancy. Reneer noted Miller has previously been on the board.
The action was approved 4-0 with Miller abstaining from voting.
Pony Wagon Days
Pony Wagon Days President Melia Wagner attended Monday’s meeting with information about this year’s festivities.
The 35th annual St. Paris Pony Wagon Days will be held Sept. 8 through 10.
Festivities will include a parade on Sept. 8 featuring a team of six Clydesdales followed by a basket auction. Events on Sept. 9 will include music from the band Steel Ivy and a 5K glow fun run that evening.
On Sept. 10, there will be games for children, a children’s parade, crafters, a car show and an Ohio State tailgate party along with various entertainers.
Admission and parking is free for the event.
Council approved the use of “no parking after 3:30 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 8)” signs to be placed along the parade route along Main Street by Sept. 6.
Council was told the parade will require the closing of East Main Street at or just east of Huffman Drive to just west of Jefferson Street from 5:30 to 6 p.m. until 7:30 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 8.
The parade line-up will require the use of Huffman Drive from the GYAA ballpark to Main Street, St. Claire Place, Bowersock Street and East Lawn Street starting at 4 p.m. until the parade is over on Sept. 8.
Council unanimously approved the parade route and the placement of no parking signs.
Council tables payment for former police chief
Council approved tabling discussions on paying former police chief Jim Pence for sick and vacation payout. Pence retired on July 8.
Village Administrator Joe Sampson said Pence requested this due to his retirement and the village now had exact numbers for council to consider. Pence’s sick qualifying hours added up to $3,256, while his vacation qualifying hours added up to $4,884 for a total of $8,140 that would be paid to him with council’s approval.
Council discussed the impact this payment would have on a line item responsible for paying the police chief and sergeant positions before tabling any action.
Council waives large water bill
Council unanimously approved waiving a $17,000 water bill after it was requested that the bill be waived by Dr. George Shore.
Shore, a chiropractor, informed council that he has an office at 269 W. Main St. He said he purchased property at 400 W. Main St. a few months ago and wants to expand his business there. The property was previously owned by Dr. Brent McArthur.
After going in to clean up the building, Shore said, he was informed of a $17,000 water bill. Shore stated McArthur was sending money to pay for the water until March 2015.
“In March of 2015, there was a $1,500 water bill, which was followed by a next month $1,500 and then the next month $1,500 (bill),” Shore said.
Shore asked for council to waive the water bill Monday so he could turn the water on and start his business. If council did not do this, Shore insinuated, he would look to take legal action.
When asked why the bill was so high, Sampson said the property started with a $31.29 credit and then the first bill came through.
“As we normally do, it goes about a month before it’s actually collected upon, then it’s given a notice and by the time you got through that whole process you were three months into it,” Sampson said. “I tried to get hold of Dr. McArthur who had vanished, he’s out in Montana someplace.”
Sampson said when the village gained access to go inside the building, a utility room faucet was found running. When the water was shut off, Sampson said a notice was put on the door stating there was a delinquent amount to the bill.
“The Realtor knew that, Dr. McArthur knew that that bill was there,” Sampson said. “We sent bills out every single month to the address and not a single one of those bills ever got returned so those bills were being received somewhere.”
Sampson said a village ordinance states the bill follows the property.
When put to a vote, council unanimously agreed to waive the bill against Shore and to go after McArthur for payment.