The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

March 23, 2012

North Kingsville considers fee for meth cleanup

NORTH KINGSVILLE —  Landowners in North Kingsville who harbor methamphetamine-making operations — knowingly or not — could be obliged to pay any cleanup cost under an ordinance now in the hands of Village Council members.

The measure, introduced at Wednesday night’s regular meeting, was moved to a second reading.

As written, the ordinance would free the village from having to scrub up a busted meth lab, which can involve costly disposal technicians. In the past, other agencies would help local police departments deal with the removal and disposal of the chemicals that make the drug. But the government funds that made the assistance possible are drying up, leaving local governments to fend for themselves, said Councilman Lawrence Eller.

The ordinance would first try to get cleanup costs from the meth-makers or “other responsible parties.” Failing that, the village would seek payment from the property owner. People who refuse to pay could see the cost tacked onto their property taxes, Eller said.

Councilman Mike Mauro was leery of bringing owners into the situation, believing the drug-makers should be the priority target. “Why put the burden on the landlords?” Mauro asked.

Eller replied the village has a very tight budget this year and can’t afford to handle the cleanup chore. The legislation may also prompt some landlords to pick their tenants more carefully, he said.

In other news, council unanimously approved a permanent 2012 budget after working nearly three months on temporary appropriations. The entire 12-month budget totals some $2.99 million, comparable to last year, said Clerk-Treasurer Lori DeGeorge.

The budget does include money to purchase a new fire engine for the North Kingsville Fire Department. The village plans to buy a Sutphen truck estimated to cost $459,000. It will take between 10 and 12 months to build the truck once an order is placed, council was told.

Elsewhere, a majority of council agreed to pay $1,100 for 40 fluorescent light tubes ordered for and delivered to the Village Green Golf Course without the knowledge of village officials. The purchase, done by previous golf course management, did not receive a purchase order and was not approved at a council meeting.

The light tubes, recently discovered, cannot be sent back, members said. “They’ve sat too long to be returned,” said Councilman Tim Zee, chairman of the golf course committee.

Current course manager Van Hicks was able to negotiate a 25 percent discount on the purchase, Zee said.


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