Newcomerstown Village Council discussed the proposed cemetery levy at its meeting May 21.

Because the cemetery fund is in a deficit, council is proposing that one way to fix it would be to place a levy on the November general election ballot.

The levy would be 1-1/2 mills for five years and would generate an approximate $70,000 a year. A Newcomerstown home owner with a $50,000 home would pay an additional $75 a year; a home owner with a $100,000 home would pay an additional $150 a year in taxes.

The levy is just one answer in correcting the cemetery fund. Council has also eliminated one full-time, one part-time and one seasonal employee in the department in order to save money.

The proposed cemetery levy has not been officially approved by council.

In other business, it was announced that a new ordinance does not need to drawn up regarding horse manure in the village. Village Solicitor Bob Stephenson found an ordinance that already has that in it.

More or less, if the animal defecates on village property, it's up to the animal's owner to clean it up.

"It's your responsibility to clean it up," councilman Jim Carr said.

He said that he is not an "animal hater," he just wants to make the village the cleanest it can be.

Signs regarding this ordinance will be posted around the village.

The Newcomerstown Police Department will begin issuing warnings to violators and then tickets will be written, if the mess is not cleaned up.

In other business, council took advantage of American Electric Power's grant initiative to replace the T-12 lighting at the street department. Labor would be completed by the street department.

"I would encourage all of council to go along with this plan," councilman Dave Hickman said. "I guarantee we'd get our money back after the first year."

The proposed cost is $1,323.50. AEP would pay for $616 and the village would owe only $707.50 for replacing the lights.

Street Superintendent Bob Martin asked council if they would pay George Darr $270 for three hours of mowing (with his own equipment) at the landfill. This would be probably three times a year (during the summer months). Martin said it costs him approximately $593 each time for mowing, and wear and tear on the mowers. This would save the village $323 per mowing. If they did that, the money to pay Darr would have to come from the General Fund and the village just doesn't have it. Martin was advised to look into other options.

Meanwhile, Fiscal Officer Kim Meek said the first collection of the new bed tax is being received. She said two out of the three village motels/hotels have sent in their collections for April. So far, they have collected $3,592.64. In 2011, the village collected $4,378.15 for the entire year. In 2010, the amount collected was $3,871.21. The motels/hotels have until the end of the month to send in their collection.

"This bed tax is going to generate quite a bit of money for the village," Meek said. "This will help out our General Fund."

Council reiterated that they can, if the chose to, give 10 percent of the total collected to local tourism/museums.

Meek also said the permissive motor vehicle license fee has generated $9,876.65 for the month. The monies collected can be used for maintenance, streets, alleys, sidewalks, etc.

Council also decided to have a committee, possibly the Planning Commission, look into regulations regarding permits in the village.

May 21 was also the date to open bids for oil and gas leasing of village property. As of the meeting, no bids were submitted.

Council and Mayor Jim Friel also discussed having a possible emergency safety plan in case of an emergency in the village.

In other business, council:

Heard from councilman Burris Gardner that Tri-County Join Ambulance hired an EMT-Intermediate Mark Mefteh. He also said they had 42 calls for service in April.

Tabled discussion on the transfer of land for a proposed housing development in the village.

Council also entered into a 45-minute executive session to discuss personnel. No direct action was taken upon their return.

Council will meet again Monday, June 4 at 7 p.m. at the David Barber Civic Center, Newcomerstown.