WEST ELKTON — Village Council discussed efforts to deal with blighted properties, and made plans to meet with Preble Shawnee administrators about the recent closure of West Elkton Intermediate School, during its regular monthly meeting Monday, Oct. 12.
Councilman Gary Thompson first presented a draft of a letter to be distributed to residents concerning efforts to combat the presence of blighted properties in the village during council’s June 2019 meeting.
Council took a walking tour of the village Sept. 14, according to Thompson, during which members took photographs of “probably four or five” offending properties. Though precise details of the nuisance ordinance currently being drafted have yet to be worked out, property owners would likely be given between 10 and 30 days to make improvements before being cited.
At that point fines can be imposed, and if left unpaid the village can contact the county auditor and have those fines assessed against the resident’s property taxes, according to Thompson.
Fiscal Officer Venida Thompson indicated she was in the process of typing up the revised ordinance and would soon be submitting it for review to the village solicitor. Gary Thompson encouraged her to get the ordinance approved soon.
“I’d like to be voting on it next month,” Thompson said.
Thompson also indicated he had met with Preble County Sheriff Mike Simpson to discuss the possibility of having citations delivered by sheriff’s deputies.
“It’ll have a better effect if a police officer submits the citation than Gevella from around the corner or Gary from Saucy Jack’s,” Thompson said, referring to himself and Mayor Gevella Wilt. “It’ll be more official and hopefully be taken more seriously.”
West Elkton Intermediate closure
Council also discussed the recent closure of West Elkton Intermediate School. Preble Shawnee Board of Education members voted to close the facility during a special meeting held Thursday, July 2. Fifth and sixth-grade students displaced by the closure now attend school at the district’s Junior and Senior High facility, while fourth-graders attend classes at Camden Primary School.
According to Superintendent Dr. Matt Bishop, the school district faces a deficit of at least $800,000 even if a new general operations levy passes in November. Closing the West Elkton facility, according to Bishop, will save the district approximately $460,000 annually.
Council has spoken out against the closure in the past, saying it would deprive the village of income tax funding and possibly lead to yet another blight on the community if the school building is abandoned by the district and left to decay. Concerns have also been raised about costs associated with the building’s sanitary facilities being passed on to village residents.
Thompson read a letter from Bishop requesting a meeting between Mayor Wilt and other village officers and school board members Bishop, Julie Singleton and Jeff Wood. Wilt suggested inviting them to attend the village’s Dec. 14 meeting, as a lengthy budget meeting is scheduled for Nov. 9.
Village council meetings take place the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the West Elkton Municipal Building, located at 135 N. Main St.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish