It looks like the birds are the only residents that appreciate the trees that line Main Street, Newcomerstown, these days.
Following a report from councilmember Heather Stein-Wells, the trees that were planted on Main Street numerous years ago, are now creating quite the nuisance for business owners and citizens alike.
According to the report, several business owners have recently made complaints that the tree leaves and branches are constantly blowing inside the doors of their business establishments when patrons are entering and leaving the establishment. She said the tree roots are also causing damage to the sidewalks near the businesses. According to Wells, the tree near Buckeye Chiropractic has created substantial damage to the sidewalk.
Wells said several citizens have also complained that the berries that form on the trees during the summer and fall have caused staining to the finish of their automobiles when they were parked near the trees. The berries also reportedly fall onto the sidewalk, then are smashed underfoot by passers-by staining the cement, and then are subsequently tracked into the local businesses staining the floors and rugs.
Wells is planning to meet with the members of the Shade Tree Committee to discuss the problem further, as well as look at some alternatives for funding that will be needed for removal the stumps, and roots that will inevitably require grinding.
Other business discussed by council during the April 4 session included:
* AEP will be re-painting the light poles on Main Street within the next few months.
* Councilmember Stein-Wells said the village's insurance carrier Kennedy Insurance recently suggested some ways the village could save costs on its insurance plan. One suggestion was to discontinue a med pay option which pays up to $5,000 for medical bills of individuals that are injured on village property. The village would continue carrying the liability option, however. The other suggestion was to discontinue the uninsured motorist option on the village vehicles which would save the village approximately $1,750 per year.
* Council approved the Street Department to purchase eight sets of brooms for the street sweeper at $107.50 each set. A special discount sale is available through the end of April which will be a $144 savings for the village.
* Street grindings are steadily being sold according to Street Department Superintendent Bob Martin. Plans are being discussed to possibly have a street department employee available on a few weekend days to accommodate residents that are interested in purchasing the grindings.
* First reading was given for an amendment to the sick leave policy concerning retirement of village employees.
* Council discussed possible use of some of the water department employees to cover the seasonal work at the cemetery due to a current freeze on hiring of village employees as part of the village's cost containment.
Council's next meeting is Monday, April 18 at 7 p.m.