Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
By Amy Kronenberger
Webworms under control
ST. MARYS - The application of 5,850 gallons of pesticide in St. Marys has brought the webworm infestation under control.
Exterminator Matt Ashcroft of Tawa Tree Preservation of Ottawa sprayed 4,050 gallons of low toxic pesticide on city land and 1,800 gallons on private property. The service cost the city $8,775, mayor Greg Freewalt said during a city council meeting Monday.
"The issue is pretty much taken care of, but we will investigate further to determine if more treatment is needed," he said. "We'll definitely do a followup."
The city agreed to eradicate the pests after residents living near the city-owned Weston Woods made a plea for help two weeks ago. Residents on Vine and Beech streets said the worms moved from the woods onto their properties, destroying landscaping.
Webworms are caterpillars about an inch long. They are named for the large web-like cocoons they spin in trees. Every four to seven years the worms have a "population explosion" that can last two to three years, Ashcroft said.
In other critter-related issues, the city wants to reduce the number of squirrels. The animals have caused frequent power outages.
Council's electric committee last week agreed to look into changing the city's ordinance to allow live trapping of squirrels within city limits during hunting season, Sept. 1 to Jan. 31.
The committee intended to present the amended ordinance to council Monday; however, members are still working out legalities with the Ohio Division of Wildlife, council president Dan Hoelscher said. They need to define who can trap, where they can trap and what can be done with the animal after trapping.
"We have to follow Division of Wildlife guidelines," he said.
In other action, councilman Patrick McGowan made a motion to amend the codified ordinance stating the city needs to notify the public of meetings through only one venue. Currently, the city notifies the public via a bulletin board in the municipal building.
McGowan recommended the city post the meetings on its website and in the newspapers, in addition to the bulletin board.
"The problem is, not everyone can check the bulletin board, not everyone reads the paper or has a computer, so we need to broaden the scope," he said.
Law director Kraig Noble said posting in two areas doubles the chances of a mistake. He said if it's posted on the website, it should come with a disclaimer.
Council voted five-to-two to send the issue to the streets and sidewalks committee for further discussion. Council chose the streets and sidewalks committee because McGowan is a member of that committee, and they have no specific committee for communications.
Councilmen Michael Kleinhenz and Dennis Vossler, both members of the committee, voted against the measure, saying further discussion was not needed. The meeting was set for 5:15 p.m. Monday.
In first reading, council suspended the rules and passed an emergency ordinance to assess a property owner the cost of demolishing a building.
The Gates building, formerly located at 110 S. Main St., cost $25,624.48 to be razed and removed. The cost will be placed on the tax duplicate of building owner Kalvin Schanz.
Freewalt told council members state funding to the city is down about $100,000 from last year.
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