SCIO – At its July 13 meeting, Scio Village Council spent the bulk of the time discussing issues related to properties and repairs with residents who had called ahead and asked that they be put on the agenda.
Village residents Jim and Carleen Fodor were at the meeting attempting to deal with an ongoing dispute about an alley that the village has not used, and that the Fodors have maintained, for some time. Initially, Jim Fodor had appeared before the council requesting that the village do something about a drainage problem affecting his property. The water, he said, was running across his property and through his garage. Council asked Fodor to get rid of a decorative rock wall he had put up across the alley, so that they could take care of the repairs — but also because, as per the advice of their solicitor, leaving the wall up could end up giving the Fodor’s ownership of the alley, due to adverse possession.
Fodor, in turn, decided to inquire as to whether he could claim ownership of the property under dispute. Jim Fodor told council they had gone to the courthouse and consulted with Prosecuting Attorney Lauren Knight. According to Jim Fodor, Knight said, “that if we had maintained the alley for 21 years we could claim it.”
Scio’s Village Solicitor Jack Felgenhauer took issue with this.
“That’s not what she told you. No,” he said.
Felgenhauer and the Fodors proceeded to dispute whether Prosecutor Knight had given them such advice, and if it was correct.
“I wouldn’t sit here and lie, I’m not a liar,” Carleen Fodor said.
Jim Fodor warned the council that he would “go the attorney route” if they couldn’t resolve the issue with council. Council decided that they would need to discuss the matter in executive session, and get back to the Fodors afterwards.
Also under discussion was the condition of the pavement on Allensworth Drive in Scio. Ernie Bradley asked council whether there was anything they could do to repair the road. When told that at least the holes in the pavement encourage people to slow down, Bradley responded, “but what about damage to vehicles?” He went on to point out that school buses go up that road, that people from “all walks of life” who use that road also pay taxes and provide services to the community.
“And you tell us to just slow down and zig-zag around the pot holes,” Bradley said.
Village Administrator Jason Tubaugh explained to Bradley that there simply are not sufficient funds, at present, especially given the materials and labor shortage, to deal with these repairs. Getting rid of lead service lines throughout the community takes first priority, also.
Bradley expressed hope that the new Ohio bill to invest $500 million in communities in Appalachia, which was recently signed by Gov. Mike DeWine, would give Scio a chance at more funds. Tubaugh reminded him that the village would be competing with other municipalities in the Appalachian region of the state, and that $500 million would not go very far, once the larger cities as well as other villages have all gotten their share.
Ultimately, council did assure Bradley that they understood his concern and were “working on” a solution to the problem – but it certainly would not be this year.
One reason the village may be lacking funds for some repairs is that a number of residents continue to refuse to pay their income tax. Janeen Scott explained to council that she was doing her best to try to collect these delinquent payments, which amounted to over $13,000.
“And that does not even include the people who have not filed,” she said. “These people are refusing to file.”
She also said a lot of people just will not pay until the village begins to put pressure on them.
“People need to pay,” Mayor Michelle Carpenter said. “They’re not just going to get off scot free.”
Village Administrator Tubaugh then detailed the progress being made on different projects the village is involved in, including the water line project, the wastewater treatment plant, and the oil and shale program. The village has received extensive funding for various infrastructure fixes, including from Senator Sherrod Brown’s office, H2O, the EPA, and the American Rescue Plan (ARC)
Treasurer Heidi Trice also shared with the council that the village had received the second installment of funds from the ARC.