Camden council discusses ‘special deal,’ hires general contractor

By Jeremy Erskine -

CAMDEN — Members of Camden Village Council discussed an issue with a “special deal” regarding a water bill received by one of their own council members during a meeting on Thursday, Dec. 17.

Near the end of the meeting, council member Kelly Doran asked if Melissa Shull had made an attempt to make payments on a water bill after receiving a special arrangement from council several months ago.

Shull, who was not at the meeting to defend her actions, owns property that she rents out. Due to health issues with one of her renters, the resident did not spend much time in that property but Shull never shut the water off, thus accumulating monthly bills.

Council approved an adjustment on the water bill, forgiving some of the funds she owed, and also set up a payment plan. However, Shull has not made a payment since September.

“Does anyone else get that deal? There are 700-something bill payers, can we line them along the street and give them the same deal?” asked Doran. “If I were a rate payer I’d be outraged that you have a council person here with a deal that they aren’t even honoring. No one else gets that deal. I’m against deal-making with council people. I think it’s a bad precedent to set unless you want to be the bank for everybody that has a water bill. We shouldn’t be making deals, especially with someone on council. I think it stinks.”

He then made a motion that if Shull does not honor her agreement and settle it by Monday, Dec. 28, the current deal will be rescinded and Shull will need to pay the full amount.

Doran’s motion passed 4-1, with Roy Ebbing being the dissenting vote.

In other business, council voted to hire Bruce Perry Volunteer Services, LLC to become the general contractor on the town hall renovation project. The entire project is not to exceed more than $550,000.

There will be a four person team heading the project, with Perry, an architect, and with two members of council as village representatives. (It was suggested that Doran and Judy Michael be the two council members).

Council also received word on an on-going dispute with the township over Orchard Hills Cemetery. According to Ohio law, when a cemetery is vacated, it is the responsibility of the township to take care of it unless the village has annexed the property into their limits.

The village has never annexed the property, so the responsibility falls into the hands of the township.

Doran offered a compromise, with both township and village sharing the upkeep, but was told that council needs to make that proposal during a township meeting so the request and discussion is on record.

Camden Council is also currently accepting sealed bids for a police cruiser, starting at $2,499. The automobile has 143,830 miles on it with a 5.7 liter hemi. The vehicle will be sold as-is and the village is taking bids through Jan. 24.

It was also Dan Michael’s final council meeting as mayor and many expressed their thanks to him for his service in that capacity.

Camden Council meets on the first and third Thursday of each month at the Village Offices. The next meeting will be on Thursday, Jan. 7, at 7 p.m.

By Jeremy Erskine

Reach Jeremy at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.

Reach Jeremy at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.