Property cleanup problem addressed

LISBON – By the time North Vine Street resident Tim Winters showed up at this week’s Village Council meeting to complain about the condition of a neighbor’s property, the problem was already in the process of being addressed.

Mayor Dan Bing said police Chief Mike Abraham had just issued an order requiring the resident remove trash from the property or be cited into court.

“He has until Monday to comply. If not, we’ll take it from there,” Abraham said.

Winters and five other North Vine Street residents attributed a rat-and-cockroach infestation problem in the neighborhood to the trash/junk problem at the property, and he had to spend $1,000 in pest extermination fees as a result.

“We’re just here because we’re on our last straw, and we don’t know what else to do,” Winters said.

Abraham said this particular resident has been cited before and cleaned up the property, only to move in new trash and junk.

Council President Roger Gallo said perhaps they should be going after the landlord, and village Solicitor Virginia Barborak said that could be done.

In related news, council voted to authorize Barborak to file a lawsuit against property owners Gary Morgan and Karen Huston to raze a dilapidated rental property at 211 W. Washington St., after zoning/building inspector John Yenges said the home’s condition might make it “a liability and a hazard to the neighbors.”

The house, along with the one next door also owned by Morgan and Huston, are on the list of houses to be demolished this year with state funding available through Columbiana County commissioners. Barborak has been working with Morgan and Huston for the past four years to get the properties either repaired or razed.

In other action at the meeting, council:

– Agreed to contract with Time-Warner to provide high-speed DSL services to village hall for $180 a year.

– Renewed Barborak’s contract for another year by 4-1 vote. Councilwoman Mary Ann Gray cast the lone dissenting vote, saying she believes they should have solicited proposals from other attorneys interested in serving as village solicitor. Barborak will continue to be paid a base salary of $8,500, plus $75 an hour for any work in excess of four hours per month, excluding attending council meetings.

– Agreed to Chief Abraham’s request that he be allowed to purchase 18 new .40-caliber Glock handguns to replace the Glocks obtained 15 years ago. The net costs to the village will be $551 once the trade-in value is deducted for the old firearms and eight old Smith & Wesson revolvers left over from when the department switched to semi-automatic handguns. The new handguns are being purchased from Vance’s Law Enforcement in Columbus, which is a federally licensed firearms dealer.

Finally, council authorized Mayor Bing to apply for state recreation grant to purchase a new sound system for the village square. Gray, who serves on the parks committee, wondered where the legislation came from since it had never been run through committee.

Fiscal Officer Tracey Wonner reported that replacing the sound system was the idea of Cheryl Mills, who is the village’s representative to a local committee that screens these grant requests.

“Why don’t we have a committee meeting to review the request?” Gray suggested, but none of her colleagues agreed.

Alisa Gostey, the mayor’s news secretary, said she had suggested using the grant money to renovate the public restrooms at Willow Grove Park, “but I was shot down.”