By Matt Clevenger
WEST MILTON — Members of the West Milton Village Council are considering changes to the village’s regulations on fires and open burning, giving local law enforcement more authority to deal with violators burning trash or other prohibited items within the village.
“Updating our ordinances as it dealt with open burning has been the subject of multiple discussions and workshops,” municipal manager Jeff Sheridan said. “
“The primary issue is that currently our law enforcement cannot enforce the state fire marshal’s statute,” he said. “There was a need to take the state fire marshal’s recommendations, with the changes that council has requested, and put them in our code so that in the future we can address those issues.”
Council members heard the first reading of an ordinance to amend the village’s ordinance on open burning during their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, May 9.
“We don’t have an ability to bring them before the municipal court if they’re out literally burning trash in their yard and they refuse to stop,” West Milton Police Chief Doyle Wright said. “This allows us to stop those type of activities in town, and if they don’t comply they could be cited.”
“That doesn’t mean they’re going to get cited,” he said. “It just means that if they violate this they could get cited.”
“I had spoken to the fire chief quite some time back about this, because we had complaints last summer; people burning trash and various things,” Wright said. “The only remedy to that whole thing was for the fire chief and his staff to come out, and they would have to cite them under the Ohio administrative code for the fire marshal’s office, which is totally separate and has different sanctions.”
Under the proposed changes, open burning could also be prohibited when atmospheric conditions or local circumstances make fires hazardous. The open burning ordinance will be brought before council again for a second reading before passage.
In other business, council members also heard the first reading of an ordinance to amend the village’s regulations regarding waste on public streets and sidewalks, and approved an ordinance to amend the village’s fees for excavation permits.
“The theory is that someone’s permit should cover the cost, should the village bear the responsibility of going in and making repairs,” Sheridan said.
Council members also approved two resolutions to authorize the upcoming North End Sanitary Rehabilitation Project, which will re-line multiple existing water lines on the north end of the village. The first resolution authorized the village to apply for a loan with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Water Development Authority. The second resolution authorized a contract with Choice One Engineering for construction plans and specifications, at a cost not to exceed $17,200.
Council members also approved a resolution to authorize a $27,731 with ESM Inc. for work on upgrades to the Hamilton Street Booster Station. The cost of that contract is included in the project’s $204,000 total cost, which was approved by council previously.
Council members went on to approve a resolution to authorize a new employment agreement for municipal manager Jeff Sheridan. Sheridan was hired by the village in April of 2021; his current contract expired on Tuesday, April 25.
“It’s been a pleasant experience being able to work with you over the past few years,” Mayor Anthony Miller said. “I appreciate all the hard work you’ve done, and we look forward to the next three years.”
“I just want to take an opportunity to thank you and the council for the opportunity to continue to serve as village manager,” Sheridan said. “I do appreciate it, and thank you.”
Council members also approved resolutions authorizing the purchase of a Bobcat T-595 tracked skid loader that was previously leased by the village, and a total of five new fire hydrants for replacement of non-functioning hydrants.
Council members also discussed the resignation of vice-chair Miranda Fox from the village’s planning board. Council members approved the appointment of Sarah Gregory to the planning board and the appointment of Deborah Miller to the village’s board of adjustments.
Council also heard announcements regarding the village’s upcoming Third Thursday event planned for Thursday, May 18, and the village’s new Everbridge communications system.
“Route 48 will be shut down,” Vice Mayor Scott Hurst said. “Third Thursday will actually happen right there on Miami Street.”
“Everbridge is a mass notification system, if the village is putting out any kind of alerts, or any kind of messaging regarding things going on, activities as well as emergencies,” Miller said. “You can go onto the village website to sign up.”