During Newcomerstown Village Council's meeting May 17, the issue of dangerous buildings was briefly discussed.
According to Fire Chief/Fire Safety Inspector Bobby McGarry, "The plan, which is in the very early stages, is getting something done with the abandoned buildings that are in town."
McGarry said a list of abandoned structures is being compiled and will be submitted to the mayor for approval within the next few weeks. He said at least 10 abandoned, privately-owned buildings have been identified and are applicable to the village's dangerous building ordinance. He said the buildings are located in the central and eastern portions of the village.
A specific process must take place before any action can be taken with each building that has been identified. He said each of the buildings must be inspected, then the property owner is contacted regarding the issue. The dangerous building criteria includes that the building must be vacant; has open, unsecured or broken windows, or doors; and walls and/or roof must be open to the elements or falling in.
"The ordinance has worked in the past. It will just take some time to get the process completed. It won't all happen overnight but we are moving in the right direction to get something done," he said.
Council also discussed the recent inquiry about the availability of a bed tax for the Newcomerstown Historical Society to utilize for improving tourism in the village. According to information received from the Ohio Attorney General's office, up to 50 percent of the bed tax can be distributed for a valid public purpose. Council was agreeable to discuss the bed tax further in regards to determining how the 50 percent would be dispersed to the historical society.
Vane Scott, a member of the Newcomerstown Historical Society, had previously attended a regular council session requesting information on the availability of the bed tax. Scott said the purpose was to purchase more advertising brochures to improve the tourism to the three museums in Newcomerstown. More tourists would also benefit village businesses, Scott said.
Council later went into executive session to discuss the updating of the village police department's policy and procedure manual. No action was taken.
Council's next meeting will be June 7 at 7 p.m. at the David Barber Civic Center.