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West Unity Awards Funds To Nine Businesses

LANDLOCKED ISSUE … West Unity resident Steve Hay is seen here as he addressed the Village Council asking for assistance in how he can put up a garage near his home. There are some prohibiting conditions and Solicter Katie Rakes said she will help him work through them so he can then present it to council for approval. (PHOTO BY REBECCA MILLER, STAFF)

By: Rebecca Miller

During the November 12, 2020 West Unity Village Council meeting, Fiscal Officer Sarah Higdon announced that nine of eleven applicants for the Village Assistance from Covid Funds, were eligible and will receive help.  Each of these companies will be getting a $2000 small business grant from the village: Knight Life Coaching, AJ Door, Carlos Fades and Cuts, Handyman Hardware, A&D Laundromat, Hilltop Freeze, Jacoby’s Ole Smokehouse, Klinger Pharmacy and The Weight Station.

West Unity resident, Steve Hay, addressed council asking if they will assist him with a quirky issue. He wants to tear down his shed and build a garage but his driveway belongs to the village as it used to be the drive in to the old school. He also shared that when he bought the house at the age of 24 he did not realize what questions to ask and is finding out now that the property lines are not where he thought they were. He asked if the village is willing to vacate the unnamed street or give him rights to it as otherwise he is landlocked.

Village Soliciter Katie Rakes asked him a few questions and said that she will get paperwork together and inform him of the formal process through which he needs to go with the County Commissioners.  Mayor Don Leu said that the Village Administrator will check into how it affects the village and they will get back to him with their thoughts.  Rakes explained that eventually he would also need the village’s approval, but they need to get to that point.

In legislation council voted to approve Resolution 11-2020-29 “Resolution authorizing funds from the Coronavirus Relief Distribution Fund to be used to cover necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency related to Covid-19 during the period between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020”;  “Resolution 11-2020-31 Resolution establishing the rates within the specified ranges of pay of certain officers and employees of the village of West Unity, Ohio for the Calendar year 2020 and declaring it an emergency”;  and Ordinance 2020-8-2020 “Revised permanent annual appropriation ordinance.”

The items that have been or will be purchased by the village with Covid Funds are:

Small Business Grants $18,000;  Electrostatic Handheld Sprayer $1467.79;  Laptop Computer to work from home $850.97;  Payroll reimbursement Police Dept. $32,300.87; Curtis Blue Line-body armor carriers $5225;  Kore Communications Upgrade internet $1532.13; and Auto Trim of NW Ohio police car lettering $875.

Following an Executive Session to discuss land acquisition and public employment, they also voted to approve Resolution 11-2020-30 “Resolution establishing the rates within the specified ranges of pay of certain officers and employees of the village of West Unity, Ohio for the Calendar year 2020 and declaring it an emergency.”

in his report to council, Village Administrator Josh Fritsch said that the six month probation ends on Saturday, November 14 for Samantha Taylor and she has far surpassed his expectations. He asked if council would approve him taking her off probation. Higdon agreed and commented that she is an excellent worker.  He reported that the seeding will be done next year and some of the water line projects will need to wait.

Council member Dave Short voiced a concern that they might not come back in the spring, and Fritsch assured council that the village is holding a retainage and also needs to fill out their “Significant Completion Certificate” before the job is considered complete.  About 90% of the leaves are down and the crew is getting them taken up. He recommended that residents put long skinny rows of leaves instead of really large piles as it is easier to clean up with the Leaf Vac.

The Christmas Decor is getting put up in the park and he is excited that the village is getting involved.  His last comment was that the project being done with ODOT concerning lights is still on hold, but should get started soon.

Police Chief J.R. Jones and Fritsch spoke with council about putting 2 Hour Parking signs on the 100 Blocks of Jackson and Main Streets to keep the spots open for people using the businesses during the day. Council all approved of the idea and commented that it will also help with snow removal.

Residents of the upstairs apartments will need to park in the lots provided by the landlords, leaving the parking spaces open for customers of the businesses.  Fritsch said he will order the signs.  Council also approved having Klinger Pharmacy put out a sign for a specific space to be left open for people dropping off or picking up medications, a Curbside Pick-up Only sign.

Jones asked to schedule a Safety Committee meeting on December 10 at 7:15. He gave the monthly report in the council packets, so did not verbalize them.  Fiscal Officer Sarah Higdon pointed out that every business was offered a packet to apply for the Small Business Grant, eleven applied and nine were eligible.  She reported that the Bryan Area Foundation, on Behalf of the Millcreek West Unity Foundation, is giving the village $1407 for the Kissel Building and a Dividend check came from Bureau of Workers Compensation for refund, which can be used for whatever the village chooses.

Mayor Leu reminded everyone that per the governor’s orders, it is required now that masks are worn in businesses. The business owners are not going to be held responsible and can get in trouble if they don’t enforce it.  The storm sewer map is finished and laminated and is at the office. The military banners will be taken down till Memorial Day 2021. He is hoping more will participate next year.  The memorial benches at the parks can still be purchased with the cost for the donor being only $500 with the village paying the difference.  “We did really well this year and have four already,” he said. “There are four more ready to go in the Spring also.”

Council comments shared:

  • Kevin Gray thanked everyone for getting reports done and doing the budget so well.  He commended the Chamber for the Fall Fest this year.
  • Steve Marvin thanked Josh for his personal touch of getting all the apps to the businesses and J.R. and his officers for all they do.  He agreed with Council member Dave Short on needing to make plans for if it tightens up again for covid.
  • Terri Lebowsky thanked Sarah for how she does such a great job on the Budget, all the work the village crew is doing to keep the town looking great.  She mentioned how it looks great to see them working together so well at the office.
  • Mike Beals dittoed on what is going on in the village. I appreciate how you make things easier for us and make educated decisions.
  • Dave Short said everyone is doing an incredible job. “We need to be ready in case we get shut down again. I think the next one will be our last meeting in person.  We need to start putting our heads together as the virtual meetings make it hard to really communicate with each other.”  Terri suggested getting really masked up and sitting farther apart and making sure there are no more than ten. Short added that he has a serious problem with the Governor “over reaching” and making rulings, when he feels it should be up to the people.

Mayor commended the office staff for getting the budget showing that they are in the black.  Terri Lebowsky also commended Higdon for helping her fill out her paperwork for the Williams County Small Business Grant.

Rebecca can be reached at

Source: The Village Reporter

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