CAMDEN — During a meeting on Thursday, Sept. 6, Camden Village Councilman Kelly Doran provided council an update on a recent leachate proposition he offered the Preble County Board of Commissioners.
Doran said he hopes the board will agree to partner with the Village of Camden, in the spirit of economic development and a past promise made.
The Village of Camden submitted a letter to commissioners asking them to consider partnering with the village for leachate exceeding a current contract with Lakengren.
Camden officials then followed up the letter with a meeting with commissioners, who are considering the proposal.
“[The meeting] was good. They received our letter,” Doran said. “The hauling isn’t where the money is right now. Here is the situation — Lakengren’s contract doesn’t take anything over 60,000 gallons. We’re interested in the gallons over what Lakengren is contracted to take. There are days when it is well over 60,000 gallons and that should go to us, if we can get a line in. That will help us attract financing and pay for this thing.”
“In our letter they wrote us back in 2010, [they awarded the contract to Lakengren]. You get down here and it breaks down why they did what they did,” Doran said. “It says, ‘The board does recognized that economic development is very important and vital interest to the county, however, that is not the main reason the county decided to seek other means of treatment for leachate.’”
“‘The reason for seeking other means of treatment is for cost purposes,” Doran read. “‘It was costing the county too much to transport the leachate by truck and have it treated at another facility. The county felt it would be less expensive to either treat on site or build mains to a treatment facility. It understands, the building of main to a treatment facility would enable others to hook into the main and deposit its waste water as well.’”
“‘This could aid in economic development, as potential new business would have access to this resource,” Doran read. “The county understands this, but when making its decision it also understands that while Camden will not be receiving this at this time, it may still apply for loans and grants on its own to build this infrastructure. Moreover, the county engineer has expressed his willingness to aid Camden in receipt of this funding.
“‘This board is also willing to aid Camden,” he continued reading. “‘This board just believes, in this case, that the price cost to the county trumps economic development.’
“So, what’s interesting to me, it is in their own hand, promising to help us develop this line at a later date. We’re looking for leachate that is not spoken for, and we are also looking for some help, because they said they were willing,” Doran said.
Council voted 5-1, with Crabtree as the negative vote, to hire Lawyer Jane E. Beach for the village to follow up on enforcing violations.
“We have a prosecutor, but what we need and what [Village Administrator Rusty Wilson] needs is someone to follow through when we cite someone in Mayor’s Court or wherever,” Doran said.
“As far as property maintenance goes, I cite someone, they go to court, and a lot of times it goes from here to Eaton and when it gets to Eaton it gets dropped. We have no one up there to follow through,” Wilson said.
Beach noted, the task sounds “fairly simple” and should be no problem for her to accomplish. Councilman Ernest Crabtree asked why one of the lawyers who is already employed with the village cannot accomplish the job. It was explained, one firm is employed with the village and different lawyers function as representation as available. Beach’s rate is also much lower than the firm with which the village is contracted.
Her employment was approved as needed on an hourly rate of $200 per hour.
Mayor Lisa Moss shared the village office had finally filled the position of Clerk of Courts and she started on Monday, Sept. 10. This was questioned by several members of council, who asked to be involved in the hiring process, but were never called.
“We’re not going to vote on that? We’re supposed to be voting on that, we should have done that before she was offered the job,” council member Judy Michael said. “We made it pretty clear that the council wanted to be involved in interviews and choosing the candidate. So, we don’t even know what candidate you picked and you already told her when to start. I think you overstepped your boundaries.”
“There were three council members who were interested in people running and I decided to just go ahead. I don’t think I overstepped my boundaries, because it was my job to fill the position,” Mayor Moss said.
“I think as a courtesy we should have been able to weigh-in on the candidates. I appreciate you running all the leg work, but it would have been nice to have us size them up, because I think that was the way the winds were blowing,” Doran said.
“I volunteered to be involved and was never called, which makes me think you were trying to force a candidate on us,” Michael said. “You didn’t give us all the candidates to start with and now we weren’t involved in the interviewing.”
“Basically the same thing was done that was protested in the first place,” Crabtree said.
Moss announced Brittney Hughes was the candidate chosen.
“Was she one of the original candidates that we weren’t happy with?” Michael asked.
Moss noted, she was one of the original candidates, before council asked for additional applicants.
Beach added, the mayor did have the power to do what she did, legally.
“It was wrong. You knew we wanted to be consulted. I think, as a general courtesy, it wasn’t too much to ask. No one on this council goes behind the other one’s back. I know [Moss] and [Fiscal Officer Rebecca Wilson] had discussed the candidates before and chose the one they wanted. I don’t like it and I don’t appreciate being treated this way,” Doran said.
“I try very hard to be truthful at all times. I will look you right in the eyes, I did not do any of this to be underhanded. Becky and I did not sit and have discussions about these people,” Moss said. “I went ahead and did all this because it had been going on for weeks. So I went ahead and did it.”
She said she would, in the future, involve council in hiring practices.
Virginia Thackry brought in front of council a problem she alleges has been plaguing her all summer. She has a neighbor who has two dogs who bark non-stop all day. According to Thackry, neighbors are also afraid of the dogs and the owner has begun to act threatening toward her and her husband.
She says she has called the police three different times, and said only one time an officer has caught the dogs barking. The officer did not approach the house due to fear of the dogs, according Thackry. She asked council what her options are, as she is feeling unsafe in her own neighborhood.
“They leave the dogs out and take off and leave. That bothers me, because there are kids in the neighborhood. Your family and friend’s won’t visit you, because they are afraid of the dogs,” Thackry said. “[Chief Spurlock] went over and spoke to him and he said I need to go over and tell him if I wanted to work in the yard or had kids in the yard, because he would take care of the dogs — but I will not cross over into that yard with those dogs carrying on like that.”
“Later that day, my next door neighbor came over to see what happened,” she continued. “While we were discussing the matter, he came out of his house and cocked his gun and I about went out through the roof. I’m tired of being nice. I’m too scared to even walk out. I’ve lived in this area for years, but now I don’t even feel safe. I was told that I hated dogs, but that is a lie. I worry about these dogs, because they’ve been in this heat all summer.”
“Three different residents have spoken to them about their dogs and they have done nothing different,” Thackry said. “On Sept. 4, my husband went out to get in his truck in my driveway. [The neighbor] was outside, but then he went to his truck and got his gun out and was flashing it. [My husband] left and [the neighbor] was mouthing off and I could hear him from inside the house. I’m sorry, but I am scared.”
Council members told Thackry to follow up on the issue with Chief Matt Spurlock and recommended she make a written statement with the police department.
Camden Village Council will meet next on Thursday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. in the Camden Town Hall.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH