WEST MILTON — Members of the West Milton Village Council authorized a contract for the village’s 2023 annual paving program, including major projects planned for Hamilton Street and Spring Street.
“We’re going to carry Hamilton all the way out to the corporate limits,” Service Director Ben Herron said. “Hamilton will be done from Main Street west, and then Spring Street from Hamilton south; that will also be done.”
Village council members discussed the annual paving program during their regularly scheduled meeting held on Tuesday, Feb. 14. Council members voted to authorize a $165,976.80 contract with Wagner Paving of Laura to complete the projects.
“We’re going to have to begin investing more in the infrastructure of the streets,” Municipal Manager Jeff Sheridan said. “We can’t keep up with the deterioration. Ben (Herron) does a great job with the money he has, but for the miles of streets the budget is probably going to have to go up in future years.”
In other business, council members also heard the first reading of an ordinance to amend the village’s regulations regarding the discharge and pointing of firearms, BB guns, bows and arrows, crossbows slings or slingshots and other weapons. Council members will hear the ordinance’s second reading during their next meeting.
The ordinance would make it a fourth-degree misdemeanor to discharge firearms or other weapons within the village, with increased penalties if the discharge occurs near schools, churches or inhabited dwellings. Violations would be a felony if they create a substantial risk of harm to any person, or serious harm to property.
Hunting, shooting or killing game within 200 feet of a residential structure would be a first-degree misdemeanor. Pointing a firearm BB gun or other weapon at another person would be considered a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
The ordinance would not apply to law enforcement officers, or instances where the weapon is discharged in self-defense. BB guns, airguns, bows and arrows and crossbows could be discharged within a structure or used within the confines a person’s own property, as long as there is adult supervision.
“There was quite a bit of debate at multiple workshops,” Sheridan said of drafting the proposed ordinance. “I think it was worth the time that it took to reach a consensus of the council. It solved all of the issues that caused the discussion to begin with to everybody’s satisfaction, as far as I know.”
“I think the ordinance reflects how we’ve done things in this town for a long time,” Council member Don Dohrman said. “They match; I think that’s important.”
Council members also approved a resolution to amend the village’s cell phone use policy to include a stipend to allow village employees to use their personal cell phones, and heard the first reading of an ordinance that would amend and update the village’s sanitary sewer tap fees.
“This is the final step in the review of the water and sanitary sewer rates,” Sheridan said. “This is the last ordinance dealing with utility rates and fees that we will be presenting hopefully, for a while.”
“By getting the sanitary sewer tap fees updated, our rates are competitive,” he said. “We’re prepared to collect the revenue we need, from the growth that will occur to help fund the improvements that the village will need.”
Council members also approved an ordinance to amend the village’s policy regarding recycling collection.
“Our goal is to haul as good and clean recycling as we can, so it gets reused,” Herron said. “This is actually the ordinance that helps us enforce and maintain that.”
“Everyone makes mistakes and puts stuff in that they’re probably not supposed to,” he said, “but you get that rare case where somebody’s doing it on purpose, or we’ve asked them twice.”
“You would be surprised what people will put in there,” Sheridan said.
Council members went on to approve a resolution authorizing the purchase of a 2023 Ford Interceptor Hybrid to replace an aging vehicle at the West Milton Police Department. The price of the vehicle will be $43,529.
Council members also tabled a resolution to authorize a $37,166.28 contract with Motorolla Solutions for six portable radios for the West Milton Fire Department until their next meeting.
“That sounds like a lot of money for six radios,” Council member Greg Tracy said.
The radios are standard radios, similar to those used by the West Milton Police Department and other law enforcement agencies. Other radios already in use by the fire department are less expensive, but are not compatible with other agencies radios. The less expensive radios are also currently being phased out by the company that manufactures them.
“It’s been my experience that Motorolla dominates that market,” Sheridan said.
“We’re all on the MARKS system, which is run by the state,” West Milton Police Chief Doyle Wright said. “We have to have our radios be compatible.”