NEW PARIS — During the New Paris Village Council meeting on Monday, April 6, Mayor Kathy Smallwood urged council members to be conservative with money and projects.
“Finance is up in the air right now. I look for our income tax payments to trickle down very little. Until July, I don’t know what we’re looking at. All the taxes are going to drop because nobody is doing anything or going anywhere, not like they used to,” she said.
Smallwood added, most of the businesses are closed in town, except for gas station and a select few other businesses.
“It is my recommendation that we are very careful about spending and we put things off as much as we can until we see where we are, because right now, we have no idea what is going to be coming in month to month,” she said.
Council member Mary Jane Thomas asked to waive her paycheck, but Mayor Smallwood told her she couldn’t, however, she could donate it back to the village.
Smallwood asked to table a project for siding on the barn until the crisis is over, in the summer or fall.
“We just don’t know where we are and we won’t know,” she said. “We’ll just rebid it, because everybody’s bids will be no good anymore.”
Council approved the motion 5-0.
In other business:
•The village received a letter from Commission Clerk Kim Keller regarding Community Development Block Grant applications and whether the village was still interested in pursuing an application for Cardinal Hill Drive. Mayor Smallwood explained, if they did not move forward now, it might be four years before the village had access to funds to repair the street. She added, due to the long application and award process, they would have time to gather money for the match.
“If things do calm down and we get back on track with things, I think we will be able to have the money, because I think by Spring of 2022 we can have it and get it done by July,” Smallwood said. “I hate to drop out, only because it is going to be four more years and that street won’t last four more years.”
Council voted 5-0 to move forward with the CDBG application. Smallwood will have to attend a meeting on April 15 at the Preble County Commission Office.
•Council also discussed the remediation process at the old school building. According to Smallwood, the remediation company left the site after claiming there was work beyond the scope of the contract. They agreed to come back to the site to finish their contracted work, but the village might have to bid for the additional remediation leftover.
“I don’t think we can stop right now, we have to at least take the bids and see what we’re looking at. If it is beyond our ability, it is beyond our ability and everything stops and we wait. Heaven knows, none of us want to do that, but it is just like the perfect storm here — our money is drying up and then we have to pay [additionally],” Smallwood said.
“I don’t know, we paid for this study back in  I think. We paid somebody to come in and do the study of the asbestos. We used their numbers — it was way off. We are looking into that.”
Mote & Associates Inc. is working to see what asbestos is left in the building to see what work is still needed.
“We need to keep in mind that we hit a big snag here and are going to do the best we can,” Smallwood said.
•New Paris Chamber of Commerce activities have all been canceled through May.
•In March, the New Paris Police Department handled 113 calls for service, made 11 reports, three arrests, issued eight citations, and issued 24 warnings.
New Paris Village Council will hold its next regular meeting on Monday, May 4, at 7 p.m. in the Village Building.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH