Village considering change to leaf collection

By Joshua Keeran -

MECHANICSBURG – Before the first leaves fall this autumn, the village administration hopes to have a new policy for leaf disposal. The village council on Monday heard the first reading of an ordinance addressing the issue.

In the past, the village has used a leaf machine to pick up the leaves, but the new policy, if approved following three readings, would require residents to bag their leaves in biodegradable bags and place the bags at the curb for collection.

“We’ve been trying to get away from picking up leaves with the leaf box because it spews out more leaves than it picks up,” Village Administrator April Huggins-Davis said. “As soon as we picked them up (last year), they shot right out of the top.”

Under the proposed ordinance, once the leaves are bagged, the village would collect the bags and haul them to the village’s compost pile.

Council discussed the need to move toward a bagging system to try to curb the issue of residents raking leaves into the gutter and street, which can clog the storm sewer and create road obstructions.

“I don’t think this is unreasonable,” Council member Jodi Compton said. “We’ve been talking about it long enough.”

The current version of the proposed ordinance, which can be changed before its third reading, mentions residents who violate the ordinance can be cited and charged with a minor misdemeanor.

“Obviously, you have to be common-sensed enough to know if the wind blew (the leaves) into the street or not,” said Huggins-Davis, adding that if council approves the ordinance, administration will use any means necessary to make sure residents are aware of the changes to leaf collection.

Mayor Greg Kimball summed up the entire discussion on the matter by saying, “Do not put the leaves into the street.”

Well maintenance ongoing

Council was informed there has been a change in plans for the rehabilitation of well No. 1 at the Mechanicsburg Water Treatment Plant, 420 W. Main St.

The well, dug in the 1920s and the oldest of the three village wells, has been out of service since late June.

During council’s July 6 meeting, Huggins-Davis said Moody’s of Dayton Inc. inspected the well and discovered holes in the well casing and a hole in the well’s pump. To fix the issues, council agreed to appropriate $35,000 for the rehabilitation work, which includes the installation of a new stainless steel casing and pump.

Upon further inspection by Moody’s, the village was informed additional work will be required to repair the well.

“The casing was in worse shape than what they thought,” Huggins-Davis said. “They are coming in Monday (July 25) and beginning the rehab, and it could cost $5,000 more than what we thought by the time they are finished with the extra work.

“When they get finished with it, it will be like a whole new well,” she added.

To cover the additional charges, council approved appropriating up to $5,000 more for the rehabilitation of well No. 1.

No concerns were expressed by administration or council over the temporary shutdown of well No. 1 as residents continue to receive water from one of the village’s other two working wells.

Police matters

Chief John Alexander informed council the Mechanicsburg Police Department received a $5,206 grant from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to pay for half the costs associated with the department providing Mechanicsburg Exempted Village School District with a school resource officer for 17 hours a week beginning this upcoming school year.

Alexander said the school resource officer will be teaching fourth- and fifth-grade students about bullying and saying no to drugs.

Alexander announced Sgt. Jeremy Nangle accepted a position at Wittenberg University and resigned from his position with the department, effective July 29.

“We will definitely miss him,” Alexander said.

In other business:

•Council approved its annual tax budget for fiscal year beginning Jan. 1, 2017.

Fiscal Officer Dan Eck said the projected revenue for the General Fund in 2017 is $501,588, while the fund is expected to have expenses totaling $488,800.

•A petition submitted by resident Chip Wibright to vacate an alley near his Mill Street property in order to put up a fence was tabled by council due to a dispute over ownership of an adjoining lot.

•A project to replace approximately 600 linear feet of sidewalk on South Main Street using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program funding will begin Monday, July 25, Huggins-Davis said.

The area of sidewalk to be replaced on the west side of South Main Street spans from Hemisphere Coffee Roasters (39 S. Main St.) to the last residential property (95 S. Main St.) before the railroad tracks.

•Council member Charles Foss, who has been looking into the conditions of village-owned buildings, said in order to address the current condition of the roof at the municipal building, it will likely cost over $20,000 as the most recent estimate he received from a Plain City business came in at $21,197.40, which was lower than an previous estimate he received.

By Joshua Keeran

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

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