Village of Thurston

Council Meeting Minutes

July 12, 2001



Meeting called to order at 7:01 pm by Mayor Hite.  Pledge was recited.


Roll call:  Bob Ortman – Present; Nona Buskirk – Present; Roger Aubery – Present; Mary Barber – Present; Warren Simpson – Present; Kim Duncan – Present; Jo-Ann Hite – Present; Aaron Reedy – Present.


Present from the fire department were Chief Mike Jackson, Doug Hankinson, Jim Barber and Kent Leitnaker.


Budget Hearing was conducted.  Aaron went over the fundamentals of government fiscal management.  Addendum 1 is attached to these minutes reflecting what Aaron said.  Council reviewed the proposed budget.  Mary made a motion to adopt the budget for fiscal year 2002 as presented to Council.  Tiny second.  All yea.


Owen Keller presented his plans for proposed lot layout on his property for Council to review.  Owen wants to put 5 more lots on Long Street, north of Wilson Ave., and 9 more lots on Broad Street, north of Wilson Ave.  He wants to put in a sewer extension and is planning on putting a manhole at the end of Broad St.  He is planning on selling the lots, or renting them to people with modular homes.  He doesn’t anticipate having any singlewide homes come in.  Chief Mike Jackson also reviewed the plans and said Owen will need to put a 6-inch water line up Broad Street from Wilson Ave. for a water hydrant.  He’ll need to do the same for Long Street.  Owen said that might kill the whole project.  Mike said the distance would have to be measured to make sure it keeps to State requirements.  Mike said he would get more information for Owen.  JoAnn will put Owen on the agenda for the August Council meeting.


Chief Jackson drove an EMS truck down this evening from Mifflin Twp. Fire Department.  He would like approval to bid $2,000 on it.  It is a 1990 Wheel Coach with 102,000 miles.  The current EMS vehicle is a 1984 model and has had a lot of maintenance done to it.  The new truck has a diesel engine that has a “refurbable” box, which means it can be put on a new chassis very easily.  Aaron confirmed that there is $5,000 in the “set-aside” account.  In addition to the $2,000, Mike will need additional money for re-lettering, touch-up painting and rebuff work.  Jimmy Barber said he was looking at a flyer and found the same truck with 50,000 miles for sale for $25,000, so he feels this is an excellent deal.  The new truck is bigger than what they have now, and has more compartments for storage.  It also has a brand new fuel injector pump.  It also has a brand new air compressor on it.  They would like to get rid of the current “backup” squad (used to be 621).  Mike said it should get us by for two or three years.  He brought it down tonight so he can get Council’s approval tonight, and then ask for the Walnut Township Trustee’s approval at their next meeting.  Mike stated another department in Alexandria was looking at the truck also.


Mary Barber asked if we needed a motion for Council to approve this.  Mike said yes.  Mary started to make the motion, but was interrupted by Mayor Hite.  Mayor Hite told Mary that she couldn’t make a motion on this.  Mayor Hite said, “Nobody’s ever told you, but it’s a conflict of interest because of Jimmy.”  She was referring to Jimmy Barber, Mary’s son who is on the fire department.  Mike said it was not.  Mayor Hite said, “Well, we’re gonna get wrote up.”  Mike said she can vote on anything to do with the fire department unless it puts money in Jimmy’s pocket.  JoAnn said no, she couldn’t.  A short argument ensued between Mayor Hite and Chief Jackson. 


Roger made the motion to approve the submission of a bid for $2,000 to purchase the truck from Mifflin Twp., pending the approval of the Walnut Twp. Trustees.  Mayor Hite and Chief Jackson continued to argue about the possible issue of a “conflict of interest.”  JoAnn said we would check with the lawyer for his opinion.  Mary spoke up to end the spat saying, “Okay, you guys, I didn’t make a motion, I backed off, Tiny made the motion.  Do we have a second?”  Bob second.  JoAnn asked for a roll call vote.  Bob – yea.  Nona – yea.  When Mary was asked, JoAnn said, “The best thing for you to do is abstain.”  Mary – abstained.  Roger – yea.  JoAnn told Mary, “Till I get with Jeff.”  Warren – nay.  Kim – yea.  Motion passed.  JoAnn told Mary, “If he says you can vote, you can vote.  I’ll call him to make sure.”  Mike and JoAnn continued to argue about the possible issue of a “conflict of interest.”  Mike stated he had no other business for the Council.


The Walnut Township Trustees entered the room.  Mayor Hite welcomed them in.  Present were Paul Whitaker, Ralph Zollinger, Ted Keller and Pauline Ety, Clerk.  JoAnn asked if they had anything to discuss.  Paul said no, they were invited to come down.  Mike had asked them to come look at the new truck.  Introductions were made due to new members on Council.  JoAnn asked Ralph if there was anything he wanted to talk about.  He said he’d like to know want we want.  JoAnn said, “Beats me!”  Mike said he just invited them down to take a look at that new truck.  Aaron explained that Council just passed a motion to approve the $2000 bid on the truck, pending the Walnut Township Trustees approval.  Ralph asked if we had money available.  Mike said they should have $4,000 left with the trustees, and $5,000 left in the “set-aside” account with the Village.  Mike continued to have a conversation with the Trustees about the truck, and funding for it. 


JoAnn asked Mike if he kept record of maintenance on each individual truck at the firehouse.  Mike said he did.  Jimmy explained that this was the only time they had to drive the truck down from Mifflin Twp. to show everyone at once.  Pauline asked about the current status of the new equipment account.  Aaron said there was $841 left in that account.  There is $640 left in the vehicle maintenance account.  Mike brought up that he was requesting some more money for the current year for turnout gear, and money for hepatitis shots.  Pauline asked where that money would be coming from.  Aaron said there was still money left that had not been appropriated from the Certificate of Estimated Resources.  We are basically asking for $4,000 to be added to the budget. 


Ralph asked about the Fire Levy.  Aaron explained that there was a motion made and passed in the June 2001 Council meeting to put a replacement levy on the ballot in November.  Paul asked if we knew how much it would generate for the replacement.  Lowell explained that we have to have a resolution to send in to the County Auditor in order to get that figure, and that’s what we were preparing to do tonight.  Paul asked how much we get now.  Aaron said $3,800 per year.  We are estimating that the replacement should be a little bit more than double that amount.  Paul told the Council that the last few fire levy’s the township has passed have been replacements.  People understand fire protection is important.  He also said it has to be understood that things get more expensive.  He said that’s how they’ve had the extra money over the years to supply to Thurston and Millersport. 


Ralph asked about a rumor he heard that Council was going to undo their decision about a replacement and put it through as a renewal.  JoAnn said, “I don’t know.”  Roger said, “Not me!”  JoAnn said that “Somebody said that they didn’t think that we voted on it the other night,” referring to the June 2001 Council meeting.  JoAnn continued, “I don’t know whether we voted on it, sometimes there just so much commotion around and people talk and you can’t hear.”  Roger said, “Yeah, we voted on it.  We voted on a replacement.”  JoAnn said, “Well, we’ll listen to the tape.”  Roger said, “At least that’s the way I voted on it.”  Warren said, “Yeah, but it was an illegal motion.  It was an illegal motion.  She motioned,” pointing at Mary Barber.  JoAnn said, “Well, we got… I said Mary and Jimmy.  Mary is Jimmy’s mother.  And, uh, before, they told me that because Lowell was on the water board and I was on Council, that I could not make no motion or vote for anything for Lowell.  So I’m gonna check with the lawyer.  Jimmy explained that they checked with an attorney before on this, and she could vote on anything except what would give him a pay raise.  Pauline said she thought that was correct.  JoAnn said “Well, they told me that I couldn’t vote on anything for Lowell and they would not let me vote.”  Jimmy said they agree, and it made sense that she could not vote on any sort of raise for Jimmy, that would be a conflict of interest.  Mike said that was his understanding, too, from the auditors, but said we need to verify it with the lawyer.  He said that would be the best thing, to have it in print. 


Aaron said that now the issue has come up that motion from Mary in the June 2001 Council was invalid due to Mary making the motion, and now a new motion needs to be made this month.  JoAnn said, “We’ll listen to the tape and see whether there was a motion made or not.”  Roger said, “I know there was.”  To straighten things out, Roger made a motion to put the levy on this November’s ballot as a replacement levy.  He reiterated, “a replacement.”  Aaron asked for a second.  Mary said, “So I can’t second that, either, right?”  Aaron said, “Not if they’re not gonna let you vote.”  JoAnn said, “We’ll have to check with the lawyer.”  Aaron asked again for a second.  Mike said, “Come on, folks.  This is your fire and EMS service.”  No second was given, so the motion failed. 


Mary said, “Now if she finds out I can vote, can this be brought back up?”  JoAnn said, “No, it has to be on the ballot,” (by a certain time.)  JoAnn continued, “Well, that’s what they always told me, and they never let me vote, so.”  Jimmy Barber said,” So if you guys go back on the tape, and she is… you find out she was allowed to make a motion, so what happens then?”  JoAnn said, “I don’t know, I’ll have to ask the lawyer.”  Jimmy mentioned that there could be a lawsuit.  Mary said, “They’re saying it would be too late to put on the ballot.”  Mike asked if we had the tape with us.  JoAnn said yes.  Mike suggested going into executive session an reviewing the tape.  Mary said, “But if I made the motion, what they’re saying is, they have no idea whether I can vote.”   Mike said, “I would go ahead and vote.  I have been through this with the auditor.  I mean, we’re talking about the future of fire service here.”  JoAnn interrupted, “Well, I didn’t vote, and you didn’t vote.  You didn’t vote when you was on Council.”  Mike said, “JoAnn, I don’t care what you did.  That’s because you guys had me buffaloed, and I have talked to them since.” 


Bob made a motion to go into executive session.  Mary second.  All yea.  Council chambers were cleared and Council went into executive session at 7:55 p.m.


Roger made a motion to return to regular session.  Bob second.  All yea.  Council went into regular session at 8:20 p.m.  It was verified that there was a motion made in the June 2001 Council meeting for a replacement levy, as stated in the official minutes for the June 2001 Council meeting.  It was decided the motion for June would stand.  Those waiting outside the building were notified they could return.


JoAnn asked for a motion to approve the June 2001 minutes.  Nona asked if anything had been done yet with the bike safety classes Mike brought up last meeting.  JoAnn said, “I don’t know.  Hey, I didn’t even know the trustees was coming tonight.  That’s how I make <inaudible> and we’ve got an agenda!  Mr. Keller called and said he wanted to be on the agenda.”  Roger said, “Well, they can come down, I mean, it’s a public meeting and they can come down and look at the truck, seeing how it’s down here, as far as that goes.”  JoAnn said, “But they sat back there and talked!”  Warren said, “They said they were invited to our business meeting.”  Roger said, “They were invited to look at the truck.”  JoAnn said, “Well, I wish he would have, uh, informed me.  I’m glad they came.”  Bob brought up Nona’s question about the bike helmets. JoAnn said, “You’re going to have to ask somebody on the fire department.  I don’t know nothin’.  I’m not informed of anything that goes on.  In fact, I don’t even know that kid that’s setting back there, and I don’t know the biggest part of them on the fire department.”  The people from outside were still making their way in.  Nona and Warren talked about the kids who keep riding in the middle of the street and how unsafe that is.  Bob asked about the grant for the bike helmets.  Mike said the grant isn’t finalized yet. 


Aaron announced to the people who came back into Council chambers the outcome of the Executive Session.  Mike said, “Thank you.” 


Nona made a motion to approve the June 2001 minutes.  Roger second.  All yea.


JoAnn said, “Mr. Keller, you didn’t get a chance to talk, do you have anything you want to talk about?”  He said he came down because they were asked to, but wanted to know if there was anything else they were needed for.  He asked how we were going to present this to them.  JoAnn said, “I have no idea.”  Mike asked if Aaron could do a letter.  Aaron said yes, and asked the trustees if a letter was sufficient.  Paul preferred that Council go to the trustee’s meeting on June 24th at 7:00 p.m.  Everyone agreed.  They expressed their appreciation for letting them come down.  The trustees then left the Council chambers. 


Aaron brought up that since Council approved that mileage could be paid for Village errands, we’ll probably have to amend appropriations for that.  We only appropriated $250 for the year, and the Hite’s have just put in a request for $193 for mileage.  Joann said, “And we don’t charge for everything!”  Warren made a motion to approve the June 2001 financial statement.  Bob second.  All yea.


Council discussed the ordinance that would make it the responsibility of the property owner to keep their sidewalk in repair and free from nuisances.  This ordinance does not say the Village “will not” upgrade sidewalks when grant money is received.  It states the Village is not responsible to keep them in repair.  JoAnn said they don’t give grants for sidewalks anymore.  Mary made a motion to adopt Ordinance # 2001-07-12-1 requiring that sidewalks, curbs and gutters be kept in repair and free from nuisances.  Nona second.  Bob, Mary, Nona, Roger, Karen – yeah.  Warren – nay.  This is the first reading of this ordinance.  It must be read two more times before it can become effective.


In order to perform the proper procedures, a resolution must be passed regarding the fire levy.  Roger made a motion to adopt Resolution # 2001-07-12-2 requesting the auditor of Fairfield County, Ohio, to certify to the Village of Thurston, Ohio, the total current tax valuation of the subdivision and the dollar amount of revenue to be generated by a replacement of existing levy for fire protection and the declaration of an emergency.  Mary second.  All yea.


Council discussed Ordinance #500 dated 6/17/93 requiring bonds for contractors doing work in the Village.  Our solicitor said we should really have guidelines for the ordinance before we can set any rules.  The Safety Committee will discuss at the next committee meeting.


JoAnn said she called Bill Watson on 6/18/01 at 11:00 a.m. about repairing Broad Street.  She called Liberty Homes about it on 6/19/01.  On 7/2/01, Liberty Homes called and said they would repair Broad St. as soon as a contractor could get to it.


Aaron brought up the Corporate Authorization Resolution that the bank is asking us to complete.  This form defines who is authorized to perform certain fiscal duties for the Village.  When the form was first received in May 2001, JoAnn had completed the form and put herself, alone,  down to do all fiscal duties. Additionally, she put Bob Ortman and Aaron Reedy, the Village Clerk-Treasurer, down to be able to endorse checks.  At the time, Aaron didn’t think that was right, and wrote a letter to the solicitor asking for guidance.  Solicitor Feyko responded, “In many municipalities, the Village Council will give the authority to perform these duties to additional individuals, such as the Mayor.  However, such authority should be in addition to the inherent authority of the Clerk-Treasurer to perform these duties, as indicated by the relevant provisions of the Ohio Revised Code.”  The letter went on to say the Clerk-Treasurer has the obligation to perform the duties set forth in all the items listed on the form from the bank, even though the Village Council may also give authority to the Mayor to perform such duties.  Roger made a motion to accept the Corporate Authorization Resolution # 2001-07-12-3, giving the appropriate Village representatives the appropriate powers as stated on the form.  Kim second.  All yea.


JoAnn announced that Thurston Gardens might be started in July or August.


JoAnn announced that some ally’s have been graveled – some still need to be done.  They ran out of gravel.  Complaints have been received.


JoAnn announced that on 6/30/01 three CD’s were re-invested.  Fire Dept. ($5,000) – 6 months, General Fund ($15,000) – 21 months, Board of Public Affairs ($10,000) – 21 months.


JoAnn announced that on 7/2/01 she signed a paper and sent back to the Ohio Public Works Commission to start the grant project.  M&E started to survey Monday, 7/2/01.  They were all done by Tuesday.  Only took 2 days.


JoAnn asked if there was anything to talk about regarding Safety, Nona said, “We need a cop.”  The problem is, operating levy’s haven’t passed in the past. 


JoAnn said a woman has called here and said she’s been leaving a bunch of messages at the firehouse for someone to come fill her pool, but no one has responded.  JoAnn said, “We don’t know anything that goes on.”  Lowell said that’s one complaint he has as a citizen, “Using our tax money, running that truck, wearing them tires out, and they don’t put the money in the fire fund, they put the money in their association.  And they use it…”   “To do what they want to,” JoAnn continued.  She said she thought Council could make them put that money in the fire fund.  JoAnn said,” Because their using our trucks, and it’s taxpayer’s money.”  Lowell said,” We don’t know if they fill somebody’s pool if they get $150 or if they get a dollar.  We don’t know.”  JoAnn said she wanted them to pay month-by-month, and they paid for the water that they used, and we don’t even know who they fill, or who much water they use or anything.  Lowell said they asked them last year to give us a list every month of how many gallons they hauled, but they’ve never done it.  Lowell said when they brought this up before; they said it was good training for the personnel.  JoAnn said it was usually Kent who does it. 


JoAnn announced that the water tower overflowed recently because Terry Barnhart forgot to turn something off.  So it’s full again.


Aaron brought up the issue about junk vehicles in the village.  The Sheriff’s Deputy had brought some forms down to be used for cars that are parked on the street with expired tags.  It was basically a form for junk vehicles.  In researching the issue with the solicitor and the Lancaster Law Director’s office, it was discovered that there is a section of the Ohio Revised Code that prohibits junk vehicles on private property.  By state law, people cannot have a “Junk Vehicle” (as defined by the state) on their own property.  Basically, when a complaint is received, a form must be completed.  This form states the criteria for being considered a “junk vehicle” in the eyes of the law.  If it meets all the criteria, the Village is to send a certified letter informing the owner of the offense and giving them 10 days to move the vehicle off the property (or into a garage).  If it is not done, we are to send the information to the Lancaster Law Director’s office for them to take action on the violation.  Aaron said he would give copies of the form to all Council Members.


As there was no more business to discuss, Roger made a motion to pay bills and adjourn.  Nona second.  All yea.  The time is 8:55 p.m.



Respectfully Submitted,



Aaron L. Reedy, Clerk