NEW CONCORD -- New Concord Fire Chief Brent Gates reported at the New concord Village Council meeting Monday that the fire department is making big plans for the annual Fireman's Festival, to be held the second weekend in July.
"We're still taking donations for the fireworks," Gates said. "We need about $3,000, and we've collected about $600 so far. We're not asking for any money from the village for this because of the tight economy. We're raising all the money ourselves."
An account has been set up at the Huntington Bank for those wishing to donate.
Gates also reported that the department has received two federal government grants for training purposes,and is waiting to hear about three others.
Police Chief Ed Stewart confirmed that break-ins which were reported in the village last month have stopped. This may be due, Stewart said, to increased police presence in the streets and alleys of the village, especially at night. Stewart theorized that the guilty parties may feel that with the increased patrols, further break-ins would be too risky.
A number of important issues were addressed by the Policy Committee, including the licensing of multi-family, non-conforming residential property in residential neighborhoods.
Under discussion was the possibility of property owners obtaining licenses for properties they own which have been grandfathered in for their non-conforming use by being used continuously in that way since the zoning ordinance was passed regarding how many people, not related by marriage, blood or adoption, live in a building, on Oct. 8, 2001.
It was decided that an application for the license spelling out requirements and fees will be prepared and available at the May council meeting. The first reading of the proposed ordinance for this issue cleared council. It is tentatively planned that the third reading of this proposed ordinance will take place at the June council meeting, allowing the village to notify property owners of the ordinance in July and August, with licensing required by Sept. 1.
The Policy Committee also discussed the proposed ordinance, which cleared its second reading at council, to support and sponsor the ReNew Farmer's Market in the Village of New Concord, agreeing to cover the market under the village's regular liability policy, with the market covering any difference from profits.
The Policy Committee also discussed a resolution authorizing the advertisement to accept bids for the sale of village owned property on Patch Road. The first reading carried. A second reading will be voted on at the May council meeting.
Mayor Greg Adams reported upcoming events in the village including Arbor Day on April 23 and Let's Pick It Up New Concord Day from 9 a.m. until noon on April 24, starting at the elementary school.
It was reported by the Infrastructure Committee that the village water tanks need to be repainted, and costs are currently being researched for the project. The committee also reported that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will be inspecting the dam at the reservoir so that necessary repairs and maintenance can be performed by the village.
The Finance Committee reported that in 2010 the village will be paying off half of a $50,000 loan for the purchase of real estate which was taken out in 2009. Further discussion on this issue was tabled until next month.
Fiscal Officer Sue Wilson reported that the village is operating within budget and meeting expenses.
Village Administrator John Huey reported that the State of Ohio auditors were in the village recently, and completed their audit of the village.
"Things are looking pretty good," Huey said of the audit.
He also reported that the water and sewer plants were both in compliance in March.
In other business, Huey discussed the fact that the three schools in the village eligible for the Safe Routes to School Plan -- New Concord Elementary School, East Muskingum Middle School and John Glenn High School -- were surveyed, and the results submitted to the Ohio Department of Transportation in the hopes of obtaining grant money to make pedestrian improvements.
Construction on a village skate park is pending state approval, and is expected to begin within two to three weeks. Councilman Robert Dixon said, "We had a meeting to look at plans for the park, and about 10 kids were in attendance. They gave a lot of positive input on what they'd like to see."
Dixon announced that the $5,000 Tony Hawk grant which is paying for the park is being matched by the construction company slated to do the work, allowing an additional $5,000 for the project.
"We're really pleased!" Dixon said.
The next meeting of New Concord Village Council will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 10.