Newcomerstown Village Council, along with Mayor Jim Friel, Village Solicitor Robert Stephenson and Police Chief Gary Holland, are taking action on dilapidated and unsafe properties in the village.
So far, Stephenson said at last Monday's council meeting that "service" or certified letters have been received and signed for on three of the five renters/owners of properties in the village. They are, reportedly, not complying with the Tuscarawas County Health Department's order to repair or demolish the properties.
"We need to follow protocol to get action on them," councilmember Janet Bush said.
If they do not comply, Stephenson said they will be charged in Southern District Court in Uhrichsville.
Meanwhile, it was announced that the Newcomerstown Village Clean-Up will be Monday, April 23 through Friday, April 27.
In other business, councilmember Sue Simmons asked if the village's department heads/supervisors (which includes the police chief, street, utilities, cemetery and fire) could come to both village council meetings a month, not just one meeting.
"The department heads should at least show up here if they care," she said. "It makes it inconvenient for us. We can't talk to them as a group."
Mayor Friel allowed the departments to attend only one council meeting a month as long as they attend the department head meetings with Mayor Friel.
"We just feel that to do the best for the village, they need to be here," Simmons said. "This is the only time we can reach them."
She said a lot of business gets tabled when the department heads don't show up at the meetings.
"There's things that we want to take action here tonight but we can't without them here," she said. "We're digging ourselves deeper."
Councilmembers Jim Carr and Dave Hickman agreed with Simmons. Mayor Friel said he would discuss the matter with the department heads.
In other business, councilman Hickman said he would like to amend the sick leave policy and change the way sick leave is made up. He wants to change 12 call-offs to only allowing five, as well as not pro-rating sick leave.
Hickman also brought up the idea of eliminating the third shift dispatcher at the police dispatcher in order to help the village out of a $183,000 deficit.
Mayor Friel announced that Phil Murphy was appointed to the Newcomerstown Recreation Board by the Newcomerstown Board of Education.
He also said a request was made to move the village council meetings to the Newcomerstown Senior Center on Bridge Street. He said the senior center board will have to approve it first.
Council also heard the third reading and adopted the local hotel/motel bed tax.
The second reading was given to a resolution authorizing the advertisement for a village gas and oil lease.
Council also discussed a village appraisal for village property. One estimate for the appraisal will cost the village $6,150. Council was hesitant to approve the appraisal because there is no extra money in the village funds for it. Mayor Friel will contact the village's insurance agency about it. The last time a village appraisal was completed was some eight years ago.
Council entered into an executive session for contracts and personnel with no action taken.
Council will meet again Monday, April 2 at 7 p.m. at the David Barber Civic Center, Newcomerstown.