By Lynne Phillips
More than 50 New London residents and Reservoir Park campers were in attendance during Monday night’s council meeting.
Mayor John Martin began the public portion of the meeting stating, “No employee’s position was in question and no action has been taken. This issue has been handled in house and no further discussion is necessary. Let us please move forward.”
During the previous council meeting held on Sept. 25 Joe Thomas, the village’s parks and recreation supervisor attempted to read a letter to those in attendance, and was interrupted by Martin asking council for a motion to go into executive session to discuss disciplinary action. When there was no motion made Thomas was allowed to resume.
Council members adjourned their regular meeting in favor of an executive session at the end of the meeting to discuss personnel and disciplinary action. There was no action taken.
During Monday night’s meeting Nell Hall, a camper at New London’s Reservoir Park said she just wanted to say thank you to Thomas for the beautiful campground they have and for taking care of it. “We’ve never had it so good,” she said.
New London resident Gayle Ashbaker questioned Martin about a church event held at the reservoir. He declined to comment.
She indicated she felt there was an employee who has been harassed by the mayor and council members have been made aware of the problem, but nothing has been done.
“It is my suggestion John that you resign,” she stated.
Mark Roeder said the bullying and harassing everyone is talking about has been going on since January. “It really, really needs to stop,” he commented.
Several other campers also spoke on behalf of Thomas and his work at the parks.
Sandy Sword, again, raised a number of questions regarding the recently and unanimously approved changes to the village zoning map.
She indicated council members had been given a list of 17 properties for consideration for changes in their zoning designations in June. She also asked what the zoning designation for the golf course was at the time.
Sword told council the golf course, according to the village ordinance, needed to be Public Parks and Open Space.
Village administrator Shawn Pickworth said the golf course is a commercial property because of the land use.
She also reiterated the absence of reason for a petition submitted and signed by a number of residents in the area of property owned by she and her husband and again attempted to make the “taking clause” applicable to the zoning change of their property from industrial to residential.
The “taking clause” refers to property obtained by eminent domain by an entity. Sword contends the clause relates to land that has been devalued by the village’s change in zoning use from industrial to residential.
Pickworth suggested Sword address her questions to village solicitor Stephen Bond.
Ashbaker asked whose idea the rezoning project was and what it accomplished.
Responding, Pickworth said, “It brought our zoning up to date.” He noted the zoning codes were updated in 2014 and the zoning map had to be updated to match the codes.”
She asked how much the project cost and Pickworth said the map alone cost over $10,000. “What good was this,” she asked? “You could have spent the money more wisely I think.”
Also questioned was why the cemetery was paying for having the library lawn mowed.
Ellen Simmons, a member of the library board, responded stating the library pays for their own mowing.
Ashbaker brought up additional matters at the cemetery relating to repairs needed on two of the smaller mausoleums.
“The city owns the cemetery, the families gave money to the city that is in a trust fund to fix the roofs. I would like to see them fixed,” she said.
She suggested the village look into re-establishing the board of public affairs to be responsible for the cemetery rather than continuing with the cemetery board.
At the close of the portion of the meeting for questions and public participation Martin thanked everyone for their comments.
Pickworth’s administrator’s report included the following”
• Crews are looking for a water leak near the intersection of S. Main and Clyde Ave.
• The annual Gun Raffle will take place on Saturday, Nov. 4 at the Hileman Building in Recreation Park beginning at noon. Doors open at 11 a.m. Tickets are on sale now at the village office.
• New billing software will be in use this month.
• Mayor Martin, Pickworth and solicitor Bond have met with representatives of Huron County regarding ownership of Biglow Parkway. Another meeting will be held on Oct. 20.
The Mayor proclaimed Oct. 9, 2017 as Drug Addiction Awareness.
Council members adjourned their regular meeting for an executive session to discuss compensation of public employees.
Upon councils return to their regular meeting employee raises ranging from $.20 to $.25 per hour were approved.
New London Council meets regularly on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in chambers located on James St. The next meeting will be held on Oct. 23.