NEW PARIS — Residents and elected officials discussed maintenance, crime, and traffic-related issues during a heated village council meeting on Monday, May 3.
Ida Shafer, who lives on Water Street on the west side of the village, stated that she had been threatened by another property owner on the street after complaining about drug and prostitution-related arrests taking place at one of his properties during previous council meetings.
“We had a drug bust, we had a baby drown, and the baby come up with drugs in its system,” Shafer said of incidents that have allegedly taken place at the property in question. “We’ve had prostitution arrests, and we’ve had police out there for fights.”
Shafer claimed that she’d sent a video of the property owner threatening her to the village but that no action had been taken. Shafer also claimed to have called the Preble County Sheriff’s Office and been told there was no officer on duty to respond to her complaint.
Mayor Kathy Smallwood questioned Shafer’s interpretation of what was captured on the video.
“I didn’t perceive a threat,” Smallwood said. “I perceived him being the kind of person he usually is.”
Shafer continued to take the village to task for not taking action, however.
“He terrorizes the entire neighborhood. The prostitutes are out, the drugs are flowing, and nothing’s changed,” Shafer said.
Shafer also complained about the property being poorly maintained, stating that trash frequently blows onto her own property. Police Chief Jeremy Schroeder stated that he is preparing to deliver a letter from the village Sanitation Dept. to the property owner in hopes of resolving that issue.
“That letter is sitting in my car as of right now,” Schroeder said. “It was given to me today to be served. There’s policy and procedures that have to be followed to track this and be able to keep a record before anything is done; it’s not just you come in here and say ‘You need to do this, you need to do that.’”
Shafer also stated that the property owner has been illegally parking his semi trailer on Water Street. Chief Schroeder claimed that this is not a violation of village ordinances, however, as he resides on the street rather than using it for through travel.
In other business:
Susan Laux, of Greenville-based civil engineering firm Mote & Associates, updated the council on a number of upcoming projects, including a park on the corner of E. Walnut St. and N. Spring St. The park, which will be funded by a combination of a $50,000 grant from the Ohio Land and Water Conservation Fund and matching funds supplied by the village, will eventually include a splash pad, a basketball court, shelters, and a walking trail, according to Laux.
“We’d like a big playground, but we want to see it in phases,” Smallwood said.
Laux also presented the council with a draft of an ordinance authorizing Mote to apply for a $30,000 Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) NatureWorks grant. Council voted unanimously to move forward with the application, as well as to raise matching funds for both grants.
Later, council voted unanimously to pass a resolution requesting an estimate of resources from the Preble County Auditor for the renewal of an upcoming two-mill, five-year general operations levy. The levy will tax property owners in the village approximately $2 for every $1,000 of assessed property value over a period of five years, and is expected to appear on the ballot in November.
Village Council meetings take place the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m. in the New Paris City Building, located at 301 W. Cherry St.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish