West Milton seeks donations for annual fireworks


WEST MILTON — The Village of West Milton is seeking donations and volunteers to assist with fundraising efforts towards the village’s 2023 Fourth of July Fireworks display, due to cancellation of the annual carnival that normally raises funds for the display.

“The carnival backed-out,” Village Council President Sarah Copp said during council’s regularly scheduled meeting held on Tuesday, Jan. 10. “It’s going to be a tough one this year, so we need the community’s support.”

The carnival usually pays for approximately 33% of the annual fireworks display’s cost, said Joy Beetley, who serves on the village’s Fourth of July Committee and as president of the West Milton Community Celebrations Organization. Beetley spoke to council members during the public comment portion of Tuesday’s meeting.

“This year will be exceptionally difficult,” Beetley said. “We are currently seeking and tracing down any leads on replacement carnivals. We do have a few good prospects.”

Other sources of funding for the fireworks include donations, fundraising efforts by the Fourth of July Committee and a large annual donation from the village of West Milton. The fireworks display usually costs approximately $18,000 per year.

“Each year the city makes a generous donation to the fireworks fund,” Beetley said. “That donation is greatly appreciated.”

“We would like to request that this donation be made in February this year, to help us pay for the deposit that is due on March 1,” she said.

The Fourth of July Committee held a quarter auction to raise funds in December, and is currently seeking both donors and volunteers. The organization has also applied to become a registered 5013C, which is expected to help with fundraising efforts.

More information can be found online at www.facebook.com/westmiltonjuly4th/, or by contacting the village offices at 937-698-1500.

“We appreciate any and all help or donations,” Beetley said. “The committee and organization are made up of West Milton community members, and are open for anyone who wants to join.”

In other business, council members also approved an ordinance clarifying the lawful use of recycling containers located at municipality drop off locations. The new ordinance specifically prohibits persons living outside the village from using the containers, and also limits what types of items can be placed in the containers.

“We haven’t really had a lot of problems with contaminants in the recycling bins,” Service Director Ben Herron said. “We don’t expect to have a major problem and have to use this, but we do need to have it in case we get instances where it becomes a major issue.”

Council members also passed an ordinance amending the village’s zoning code to modify development fees, and waive them in a designated area of the village.

“This would be primarily the downtown area,” Municipal Manager Jeff Sheridan said. “The effort is to try to spur more development and redevelopment in the area.”

Council members passed the ordinance by a narrow majority. Council member Greg Tracy was absent from Tuesday’s meeting, and Sarah Copp abstained from the vote; council members Don Dohrman, Chris Horn, Kasey Metz and Mayor Anthony Miller voted for the ordinance. Vice-Mayor Scott Hurst voted against the ordinance.

“I really think that we should probably change how we decided which buildings would be included in all of this,” Hurst said. “I just felt like maybe we should have used the business district that existed.”

“We looked at not only the current zoning and the current use, but the ability to expand the current downtown district based on what is zoned,” Sheridan said. “We’re going to be updating the zoning map, and this replicates what I would expect the zoning map to be in the future.”

Council members also approved a resolution authorizing the village’s application for a $10,000 grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) towards the purchase of a $24,000 correlator needed for water leak-detection, and discussed recent water line breaks.

“We can spend two, three or four hours just looking for where it’s coming from, especially if it hasn’t surfaced,” Herron said.

The village currently hires an outside contractor for leak-detection services. Leak-detection services cost the village over $5,000 per year, Herron said.

“We did have three water line breaks over the Christmas holiday,” Sheridan said. “One of them was a six-inch main on Stillwater; we lost 130,000 gallons before we could get that leak repaired.”

“We believe that line is in excess of 60 years old,” he said.

The village also recently received a $22,000 payment from Metronet, as reimbursement for a leak that occurred last year.

“We’re seeing more and more breaks,” Sheridan said. “Our efforts to start replacing more and more lines are going to have to increase, or we’re going to be spending more money just fixing the aging water infrastructure.”

Council members also heard an update on the status of commercial construction at the Stillwater Crossings development.

“The gas station has already committed, that’s going to be built this construction season,” Sheridan said. “With the medical building, the primary hold-up is a lack of a physician. Premier has not been able to recruit a general practitioner to occupy it.”

“They’re not interested in building the building until they’ve got someone who can fill it,” he said.

Council also heard an announcement regarding the upcoming third annual Sip N’ Shop event planned for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11.

“The downtown shops are going to have a Sip N’ Shop,” Copp said. “Every store has a hot drink, and then we have a local baker set up in there giving their treats away.”

“It’s an all-day event,” she said. “It’s just a fun time to get out, shop around and enjoy the downtown.”

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