CAMDEN — Village Council discussed how to spend additional Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds during its first bi-monthly meeting Thursday, Sept.3. Concerns about vandalism, trash collection practices, public works projects, and the hiring of a new Fire Chief were also discussed.
Council approved a resolution to apply for CARES Act funds during its Thursday, Aug. 20 meeting. Last week fiscal officer Becky Wilson indicated that approximately $20,000 in additional funds had been allocated to the village following a “second wave” of disbursements. The village previously received CARES Act funding of approximately $41,000, according to Wilson.
Council member Debbie Hickman suggested using the funds to make restrooms at Camden Town Hall and the Camden Police Department, as well as the village wastewater treatment plant and maintenance barn, touch-free. This would qualify for CARES Act fund usage as it reduces contact with high-touch surfaces that are believed to help spread the coronavirus.
Council announced the resignation of Fire Chief Gary Taylor, effective Oct. 31, during its Aug. 6 meeting, and also moved to post an advertisement for a new part-time fire chief at that time. The yearly salary for the position would be $15,000.
Council member Judy Michael reported that six candidates were currently being considered for the position, including three internal applicants, one candidate from Liberty Township, Ohio and another from Milford Township.
Council member Jeff Steele reported on efforts to catch a vandal suspected of damaging playground equipment in a local park during the Aug. 6 meeting. Village Administrator Rusty Wilson indicated during Thursday’s meeting that cameras had been installed in the park with the hope of gathering evidence against the perpetrator.
Steele indicated previously that a local youth was thought to be responsible for the acts of vandalism.
“Rusty has had run-ins with the same young man… we just need proof,” Steele said, indicating that the village would pursue legal action against the perpetrator’s family once sufficient evidence was gathered.
Councilman Kelly Doran once again brought up concerns about residents not placing lids on garbage cans, resulting in trash being blown out of the cans and having to be cleaned up by village personnel.
“I picked up I don’t know how much trash the other day,” Doran said.
An automated One Call announcement was previously sent out discouraging residents from engaging in these practices, according to Doran, as well as informing them that damaged cans and those without lids can be replaced, without cost to the resident, by contacting Rumpke.
Questions were raised as to how many of the offending residents actually received the One Call announcements, however, with Wilson indicating that only about 400 households in the village are subscribed to the automated alert service.
Doran suggested passing an ordinance that would allow residents who put out overflowing trash cans, or those without lids, to be cited, but some felt that such threats would be difficult to follow through on.
“Who’s going to enforce that?” Wilson asked. “Who’s going to stop at someone’s house and say, ‘You’re going to get a ticket?’”
“I don’t know the answer to that,” Doran admitted. “But right now we have no mechanism to take care of this. I’m just tired of the mess.”
It was also suggested that some garbage collectors who work in the village might be contributing to the problem by “slinging trash around,” rather than carefully emptying cans into their trucks. Mayor Karen Moss suggested sending letters to both residents and Rumpke in an effort to address the issue before considering legislative options.
Village Council meetings take place the first and third Thursday of each month, at 7 p.m., at Camden Town Hall.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook or Instagram @mproperenglish