Washingtonville to push for lawn cleanups

WASHINGTONVILLE – Residents with unkept yards will receive a red warning card on their door, then a certified letter and finally a citation, Mayor Will Jones said during Monday’s meeting.

With the weather breaking, the village is serious about spring cleanup and Jones laid out the procedure while Assistant Police Chief Mark Husk said the “hardest part is finding out who owns the (vacant) property.”

Husk said police will keep a record of where the red warning cards are placed so duplicates aren’t issued and Councilman Jim Smith pointed out that council had talked about getting lists of foreclosed properties from banks.

Solicitor Michele McBride Simonelli suggested using the county auditor websites for that. Some properties have been in limbo for years.

Smith said there are areas needing attention, “especially by the bike trail” and Jones said, “We have ordinances out there … I don’t like being the bad guy but people need to get their property cleaned up … no ifs ands or buts … I hope the people of Washingtonvillle read it in the paper or hear about it because it’s coming.”

In other business, Street Committee Chairwoman Becky Vignon said her committee discussed residents who have to prepare their alleys and streets before the street program begins.

Vignon spoke to Mahoning County officials who said they were unaware of any grants for the road work but had noted “there will be things available.” Mahoning County officials want to meet with village officials, she said.

She had inspected the streets in Mahoning County and said the committee “will go out and cover the whole Columbiana County side” of the village.

Jones said Davidson and Smedley Ave. would both need more than patch work and suggested getting estimates to pave them, which council approved.

Also, in other business, Raymond Shimer, who is attempting to sell his grandfather’s property in the 100 block of Union St., asked the village for financial relief on a water bill amounting to more that $1,900.

A North Carolina resident, Shimer explained that 125,000 gallons of water leaked out through a broken line that was fortunately spotted by the water department and shut off. The water did not go through the sewer system.

“Is there anyway possible to get a reduction on the bill to get this taken care of?” he asked.

Simonelli said he could have included the outstanding bill in the negotiations for the residence which is being purchased by Steve’s Auto Repair shop across the street.

Simonelli was concerned about setting a precedent.

Councilwoman Theresa Allison said, “We buy that water” and Jones restated that along with Simonelli’s concern about a precedent.

Jones said he would talk to Fiscal Officer Dale Davis and wasn’t prepared to say “anything tonight” adding there wasn’t much the village could do about the charge for the water usage. No action was taken and Jones said the village would contact Shimer in a week.

Allison said the village could be a little more lenient “if we had our own water … we could maybe do something.”

Simonelli said the village could “maybe” handle the late charge and administrative fees but not the water.

In other business, Husk said the police department was looking at a website and asked for historical background pieces that could be placed on it.

The site would had a domain name and not cost more than $50 a year.

Allison said she “probably” had some old material and Councilwoman Laura Trummer liked the idea and moved that the police proceed.

Husk also said police will start patrolling the bike trail on the two department bikes.

Larry Shields can be reached at lshields@salemnews.net