CAMDEN — Village Council members discussed traffic issues and the upcoming closure of a long-standing Preble County business during their regular monthly meeting Thursday, Jan. 7.
The Camden Market, located at 200 S. Cottage St, has recently employed approximately 12 people, and is slated to close its doors on Friday, Jan. 22. Laila Huss, who owns the market, told the council she was unable to keep the store running despite her best efforts.
“Basically it just kind of went under,” Huss said. “After three years the sales kept declining; I did everything I could, but I just couldn’t feasibly keep it open any longer.”
Huss blamed the decision, in part, on the proliferation of large corporate grocery retailers like Wal-Mart and Dollar General in Preble County.
“As people drive home they see these stores, and I can’t blame them for stopping there,” she said. “I can’t match those prices. It’s impossible.”
Mayor Karen Moss and several council members expressed gratitude to Huss for keeping the store open as long as she had.
“We really appreciate all that you did to keep it going,” Moss said.
Clerk of Courts Nancy Melton updated council on efforts to collect payment for overdue traffic and Mayor’s Court citations. Melton first suggested turning over delinquent accounts to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office Department of Collections in Aug. 2019.
After many delays due to bureaucracy and the ongoing impact of COVID-19, Melton informed the council during its Dec. 17 meeting that she had begun turning over files to the A.G.’s Office the previous week.
“The letters [from the A.G.’s Office] are going out,” Melton told council members on Thursday. “They started working on them right away.”
Melton stressed that once accounts have been referred to the Ohio A.G., those citations can no longer be paid at the Camden Clerk of Courts. Instead, payment must be made directly to the A.G.’s Office.
Council member Wendell Mackie inquired as to whether recent changes to the speed limit on U.S. 127 had reduced problems with speeding in the village. The speed limit near the intersection with OH-725 in Camden was recently reduced to 45 mph.
“How’s that playing out?” Mackie asked.
Police chief Matt Spurlock was unable to provide definite information on the speeding issue.
“I don’t have a study to say if it’s more or less,” Spurlock said. “On any given day you could go out and find somebody doing 60 in a 45.”
Mackie also announced that he would be heading to California in the coming weeks to work with COVID-19 patients in hospitals and nursing homes on behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“We’re trying to get this virus out of here and get us all back to semi-normalcy,” Mackie said.
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 @mproperenglish