Manchester Village Council met on Tuesday, August 5 at 7 p.m. at the Manchester Community Building.
A check was presented to the council for $465 earned by the car show held during Manchester River Days. In addition, Jack Roush has decided to donate a race car to Manchester to be auctioned off on October 12. Originally it was just going to be the frame of the car, but Roush has decided to install an engine, so it will be a complete race car.
“This will be the only complete race car that they have turned loose out of their shop. Just like it came off the track,” Street Commissioner Buster Ruark said. “It came out of their museum down there. It was a race car they raced in 2012.”
The council revised ordinance 2001-17 with ordinance 2014-3, unanimously voting aye to make the ordinance an emergency motion. The council then unanimously voted aye to pass the motion with the Mayor signing it into law. The ordinances deal with the compensation and attendance of council members at village council meetings.
Ordinance 2001-17 had been written with the underlying assumption that the village council would meet twice a month. As the council has been meeting once a month, not counting special meetings, the law needed revising.
The council opened the two sealed bids they received for the old high school property. William Broerman of Manchester offered $33,500 and a business plan to secure the building with a security system and explore grant possibilities for using the classrooms as training centers or to develop the building for assisted living.
Tim and Judy Peterson offered $25,000 and a business plan to develop the building into a ‘business incubator,’ providing work space for budding entrepreneurs to establish themselves. The council decided that a special meeting will be held on Monday, Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. to speak with each party and discuss the matter.
Council discussed the possibility hiring an Ordinance Officer in the Police Department. The idea is to combine the FEMA Zoning Officer with this new position, so the officer can perform both duties. Council-member Teresa Blythe wanted to know why an Ordinance Officer was needed to enforce the ordinances when that was the duty of the entire police department.
“That’s their job - to enforce our ordinance,” Blythe said. “So why do we need an Ordinance Officer?”
When it was pointed out that the ordinances weren’t being effectively enforced, the council began discussing whether they needed to outline how the ordinances should be enforced rather than create a new position.
The Buildings and Street Commission brought up the issue of weed ordinance and nuisance ordinance violations. The council discussed continuing on with the process outline by the ordinances that, should the violators not correct the problem, results in misdemeanor charges being filed.
The question of who is responsible for trees that hang over streets came up in the discussion. It was clarified that the village does not own the property along the streets. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain any trees or bushes that line a street. Should a tree or bush cause a vehicle accident, the property owner could be liable.
“I’m hearing a lot of people say that we own so much of the land to the street or from the sidewalk to the street,” Mayor Troy Jolly said. “The property owner owns to the middle of the roadway.”
Street Commissioner Ruark clarified, “What the village has is an easement. Some streets we have a 15 foot easement and some a 30 foot easement from side to side. The state has a right of way of 60 feet along state highways.”
During the public participation segment of the meeting, Joe Young told council that he felt the police department was harassing him for riding an all-terrain vehicle to the ballpark.
“He is constantly harassing me about this four-wheeler deal,” Young said. “Everybody else does the same thing. I cannot leave my house. It’s getting out of hand. He’s getting too aggressive, and he has been downright disrespectful.”
While the 14 minute discussion became heated, it was clarified that ATVs cannot be driven directly on highways or streets regardless of permits. Many present felt that it was legal to drive a ATV along the shoulder or ‘berm’ of the highway; however, the streets in the town have no shoulders, so ATVs cannot be driven through town.
The discussion then turned to whether the police department has jurisdiction over the ball park which is outside the village limits but is owned by the village. Many felt that the law allows the police to patrol property owned by the village, even if it lies outside the village limits.The Solicitor said she would study the law after the meeting. The council then discussed the possibility of annexing the property and extending the village limits.
Downtown revitalization projects are being planned for all of the villages in Adams County through grants that the Adams County Board of Commissioners and Economic Development Office worked to receive. Manchester is taking part, and, as part of the environmental planning, Mill Creek Environmental Services is expected to examine the structures along Second Street during the week of August 18.