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Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

New Bremen council considers property police

By Margie Wuebker
NEW BREMEN - At least 95 percent of residents abide by the village's property maintenance code but a handful flagrantly disregard the rules, village officials say.
The problem may be resolved by hiring National Inspection Corporation (NIC) of Dayton to monitor violators.
"We know everybody and hiring someone to enforce our ordinances takes personality out of the mix," mayor Jeff Pape said during a Tuesday night village council meeting. "As long as we have people who don't abide by the rules, others will do the same."
The company provides watchdog service to Jackson Center officials in neighboring Shelby County. Three eyesore properties have been removed in that village since NIC was hired three years ago.
In exchange for an $11,400 annual fee, a company representative comes to the community once a month looking for violations, talking with adjoining property owners and fielding telephone complaints. NIC also reviews property ordinances and suggests revisions if needed.
Violators could face court action with judgement orders going on their real estate tax bills. Nonpayment could ultimately result in foreclosure.
Solicitor Steve Smith spoke in favor of the proposal.
"If we get rid of those on top (those who don't abide by the ordinances), then it's well worth the money," he said.
The village has won past lawsuits regarding property maintenance. Smith said the problem clears up for a while and then crops up again.
Officials called things such as overgrown grass and uncut weeds "easy pickings" compared with properties with borderline plumbing hazards and missing siding among other things. The problems seem to escalate in the spring.
Village administrator Wayne York, who has in-laws residing in Jackson Center, said the Shelby County community is pleased with NIC's efforts.
No action was taken. Pape requested the proposal appear on the Feb. 28 council agenda.
"Ninety-five percent or more of New Bremen residents take care of their properties," Pape said. "It's unfair that a few don't."
In other business, council:
• Authorized York to seek bids for a parking lot expansion at Bremenfest Park. The engineering estimate is $131,000 with two alternate options - overlaying the existing pavement and paving a service road leading to a shelterhouse. The parking lot expansion will abut the new Rotary Club Sunshine Park scheduled for completion before July 4.
• Spoke with Bob Parker and Linda Emmons of New Bremen Emergency Medical Services prior to second reading of a $15,000 contract. The money will be placed in a separate account and used for such things as education, equipment and training until the amount is expended. The squad also receives revenue from a levy.
• Approved the payment of a per capita assessment as part of the Auglaize County Emergency Management cooperative agreement. The cost for 2012 is 70 cents per person or $2,084.60 for the village.
• Discussed the possibility of recruiting an intern from Wright State University to assist economic development director Angela Hamberg at no cost to the village. Possible projects include development of the village's social networking capabilities and the establishment of a needed database.
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