By Martha B. Jacob –
At the Ripley Village Council meeting Jan. 10, Ripley Mayor Tom Leonard wasted no time in announcing that Ohio House Bill 463, was signed by Governor John Kasich last week which would effect the village.
“This new law bans the use of plywood boarding up windows and doors of vacant and abandoned properties in foreclosure.” Mayor Leonard told council. “That means beginning in April boarded up old buildings must replace all plywood with clear polycarbonite (used in airplanes), which could cost homeowners five to six times more money to board up vacant structures.”
According to HB 463 the new law is the first of its kind in the United States which is believed by Kasich to be a significant advancement towards municipalities battling neighborhood blight in Ohio.
“No one will automatically be “grandfathered-in,” Mayor Leonard explained. “This law only applies to structures that are sitting empty or have been abandoned. This could make quite a difference in our efforts to force homeowners to do something about their falling down, unsafe structures.”
In other business at the meeting council approved the Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington School District’s plan to build a structure on school property equipped with picnic tables which can be used by the community.
Mayor Leonard also asked council to approve the purchase of a new salt spreader for the village truck. He said he found one that will cost $6,471 that is completely stainless steel, and it is something the village has to have. Council had no objection to the purchase.
Village Administrator Pete Renshaw reported that one of the two new village wells had been installed and he was working on the second one.
“The first well has already produced 600 gallons a minute in initial testing,” Renshaw said, “And once the other one is in, they’ll be taking EPA tests for final approval. We can’t use the water at the water plant yet until the EPA says we can.”
Renshaw briefly discussed the problem of feral cats and rats in the village.
“There are three formal complaints that have now been submitted to the Brown County Health Department about the cats and the rats problem,” Renshaw said. “The health department is now working on the problem. There concern is that there is no veterinary care for any of these cats.”
Renshaw also asked council to pass an ordinance restructuring the funds that pays the salary of Renshaw and fiscal officer Heather Hauke and declaring it an emergency.
Council passed the ordinance as an emergency.
Ripley Police Chief Joel Barnett told council that his department had revised and updated its policies and procedures for the police department. He said the information had not been updated since 2007.
Chief Barnett also said he is negotiating the purchase of new cruisers and his department had decided to go forward with a contract with the Blue Line DragonCam which is a hand-held device that will document every violation image it sees and the information is automatically recorded.
He said it wouldn’t begin for several months, but he had to have a set dollar amount, for the violation, from council.
According to Chief Barnett, the current charge is between $111 to $118. The police department can get out of the contract with 30 days notice. Council had a first reading on the ordinance on the automotive speed violation equipment. By council’s next meeting a violation cost will be set.