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Cemetery plots to go up for sale

Sewer bills, bench warrants among topics at SP council

SOUTH POINT — Mayor Jeff Gaskin says the village of South Point will likely be selling plots of newly-acquired land from a cemetery within “three months.”

South Point recently purchased property adjacent to White Cottage Cemetery on Solida Road for $25,000, for the purposes of expanding the cemetery, which is maintained by the village.

Gaskin told the village council, at Tuesday’s meeting, that a survey crew now needs to come in and divide the new land into plots.

He said the cost will be figured by dividing the $25,000 by the number of plots, and the village plans to get its investment back from the sales.

Gaskin said he has already been contacted by interested buyers and that there is a waiting list of at least seven, including himself, for “people who want to be buried in their village of South Point.”

The council also focused on the matter of outstanding sewer bills in the village.

Gaskin said that since late January, 243 notices have been sent to people at least 60 days behind in paying, giving them 30 days to pay up.

The mayor said of those letters sent, they have received 33 responses, with some seeking a payment plan or stating they were already on a payment plan with the county auditor’s office for taxes.

The village has been in the process of turning off sewer service to homes with large balances, totaling more than $2,000.

The council voted, 6-0, to set the cost of turning sewer service back on after a shutoff at $5.

In other business, the council:

•Discussed the possibility of video recording and broadcasting council meetings.

Council member Bill Patrick said this would be ideal for elderly and disabled residents who could not make it to meetings.

Council member Chris Smith said he had spoken with Dave Lucas about the possibility of livestreaming the meetings and creating and maintaining a Facebook page for an annual fee of $3,000.

Smith said Bullseye Media has offered to work with students from local schools to record and stream the meetings. The company would purchase and donate equipment and the village would maintain the Facebook page.

Another possibility is having Armstrong Cable edit and air the footage, but the village would be responsible for the onsite recording and providing the video. The Armstrong and Bullseye options would be at no cost to the village.

The final option would be for the village to purchase the equipment and record and air the meetings themselves.

Smith said he would explore more options and speak with contacts and speak more on the topic at the next meeting of council.

• Passed an ordinance adopting the 2018 Ohio code for municipalities update.

• Voted to create two utility clerk billing positions with the village.

Gaskin said that two women currently in the positions are planning retirement in the near future and this would allow the village to prepare for their departure from the jobs.

The council also voted to immediately hire for one of the positions, with the mayor stating there was already a candidate in mind.

• Heard from police chief Chris Mahjer, who said he has been talking with Gaskin about the large amount of bench warrants for which the village is owed thousands of dollars.

Mahjer said, when researching the topic, he found that the Ohio attorney general’s office offers a service, at no cost to villages, in which it will collect through tax returns.

“It’s a no-brainer,” Mahjer said. “It’s free and other cities are doing it.”

He said the attorney general’s office would add a fee to be paid by those it collects on.

“They’ll get ours back and then some,” he said.

He asked the council, informally, if anyone had any issue with entering into the arrangement, to which there were no concerns raised.

“I think I can say we don’t have any objections,” Gaskin said. “Let’s get our money.”

• Heard from fire chief Mark Goodall, who said surprise fire inspections have been conducted at various locations in the village. He said those who were cited would be given time to fix problems before a return visit would be made. Goodall said he is also planning to receive training for fire inspection, so that he no longer has to bring in others to do the job.

• Heard from village administrator Russ McDonald, who gave an update on the replacement of clarifiers for the village sewer system.

“It’s going good,” he said, estimating the new parts will be delivered in six to eight weeks, and old parts would be removed within three weeks.

McDonald also gave an update on upgrades to the village park.
He said LED lighting has been installed and electricity at the park has been redone, allowing for more ampage for use in special events.

McDonald said work is under way on installing new playground equipment that the village purchased in the fall. He said the job is 40 percent complete and crews are working as weather will allow.

• Set next month’s meeting March 6. The meeting will occur a half hour earlier than normal, beginning at 7 p.m. and, instead of being held at village hall, will take place at the STEM+M Early College High School on Solida Road, where council members will get a tour of the facility from faculty and students prior to the meeting. This meeting will still be open to the public, Gaskin said.