NELSONVILLE — City Council hopes to help a city resident who was recently displaced after they lost their home in a recent fire.
Council met Monday at city hall, 211 Lake Hope Drive.
Resident Betty Jo Parsely noted that when she was going by the pool, she saw that a camper, that is still on tires, moved into the mobile home park on Patton Street.
“There’s no sewer hooked up to it, so I’m just wondering if that was something that the city probably could monitor?” she said. “… That whole area down there, I think, needs to be questionable.”
She also noted that in the spot on Watkins Street where a fire recently look place now has a tent where the house was.
Council Vice President Gregg Clement oversaw the meeting as President Tony Dunfee was absent.
Council member Dan Sherman noted that campers with wheels and tents are not allowed as residences within the city limits.
Council Member Neil Sommers noted that while the tent may be an eyesore, the city must figure out how to help the resident.
Peter Galbraith, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Nelsonville, noted that he has been pastoring the woman for some time. After the fire, he has helped the woman get connected with Integrated Services and other social service organizations.
“I saw her yesterday and she’s in really bad shape,” he said. “… I am a bit concerned, and invite the city to support and to help in approaching this issue.”
Council Member Nick Smith, who volunteers at Timothy House, said the homeless shelter isn’t full and should have space for the resident.
Sommers said the city can get code enforcement in touch with the resident’s caseworker at Integrated Services to find a suitable housing arrangement.
“The tent is an eyesore, but she didn’t choose to be homeless,” he said. “This was a citizen that was living in a house, didn’t choose to be in a tent; I think getting services is the best route.”
In other matters, council will invite those interested in serving on the Board of Zoning Appeals to its next meeting to be sworn in.
For the past two years, former City Manager Scott Frank took care of all zoning appeal matters leaving the board with nothing to do, a former board member said.
In other matters, Council Member Nancy Sonick (Bumgardener) asked whether the code enforcement officer’s duties could be split into two jobs. The position’s duties includes enforcing the city building code and dealing with administrative work.
Council Member Dan Sherman noted that the position has included both duties since 2017. In the past two years, it became a union position.
“It was suggested that we have two part-time positions at 32 hours,” he said. “But if we go with two full-time employees, we’d be adding another $40,000 to $50,000 because of benefits.”
In other matters, City Council unanimously approved two ordinances regarding the national medical opioid settlement. One was to opt into the settlement and the other would allow the city auditor to deposit the funds.
The funds, which will total $1,395.29 for the city, must be used to combat the city’s opioid problem. The ordinances allowed Auditor Taylor Sappington to put part, if not all, of the money into the K-9 fund.
Another ordinance, allowing the city auditor to “accept, approve, authorize and enter into agreements to collect money for prior findings of recovery and restitution,” was tabled and sent back to committee.
In other matters, City Council learned about the Tunnel to Towers 5K run, will take place April 30.
The foundation builds smart houses for injured veterans or families of the fallen first responders and veterans. They also help pay off debt. To learn more about the race or to register, visit the website runsignup.com/Race/OH/Nelsonville/2023TunneltoTowers5KRunWalkNelsonvilleOH online.
In regards to the Police Department, Chief Devon Tolliver noted that the agency answered 224 calls for service. They are still looking to hire three officers and are in the middle of scheduling civil service testing. He said he expected testing to take place in mid-May.
Nelsonville City Council is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. March 27 at council chambers in city hall, 211 Lake Hope Drive, Nelsonville.
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