ANSONIA–A group of Ansonia residents attended the village council meeting Tuesday evening, seeking a solution to make the town’s properties appealing to not only its residents but to its visitors.
The main issue dealt with complaints of an unkempt property at the trailer court, Eastwood Estates.
Kris Riffell, a resident there, has been publicizing the problem on Facebook and decided to take it to the council. According to him, it involves Lot 36.
“The previous tenant had over 40 cats at one point,” he alleges. “The tenant moved out four years ago, and it should be condemned. The owner has been hiding under a rock for quite some time now, and that rock is about to be overturned. Or quit and let someone who is capable of managing take over. We want change, and I won’t stop till something is done.”
Riffell reported that there are at least three mobile homes there without running water.
“We get to look at that every day,” he said. “I tried to contact the owner, and he hangs up on me. The health department won’t deal with it, and I’ve contacted the state health department. For those in Ansonia who are having issues with Eastwood Estates, please contact the Department of Commerce.”
As for the mobile home park issue, Village Administrator Tom Welbaum indicated that the only thing the village can do at that trailer court is water lines and sewer.
“I will call the owner and go through the village solicitor and do something about it,” he added.
In addition to Riffell, others in the audience included residents Loretta Setser, Crystal Reier Gibbs, Sandy Bey, Marlene Reier, Teresa Reier Neal, Linda Gasper, Teresa Fleckenstein, and Ed and Shelba Kelly.
Mike Bowers, director of the Darke County Economic Development, was also in attendance and answered some questions and explained what is happening elsewhere. Among those ideas was to have a spring cleanup day and a fall cleanup day.
One resident reported that her neighbor is not mowing her yard or cleaning up that particular property. Other subjects concerning the residents in attendance were stray cats, abandoned vehicles, and vandalism.
As for the abandoned vehicles, Police Chief Frank Shapiro told the group that the village has to pay for the towing fee and its storage.
“I hate to see the village get a bill with a high fee,” he said.
Residents offered some suggestions.
Crystal Reier Gibbs remarked, “If you take them to court, and they won’t pay the fines, put it on their taxes. There has to be consequences,” and Linda Gasper suggested copies of the ordinances be handed out to residents so they will comply to the rules.
Gibbs is also the one who volunteered herself and possibly others in town to help those who are unable to take care of their properties.
“Some people will probably take the help,” Mayor Ted Adkins said.
Several agreed they like the new rules for operating golf carts on the streets.
“We require license plates for the golf carts now to make sure people have insurance,” the mayor said.
There was also some discussion about tearing down houses beyond repair.
“We don’t have money to tear down houses,” the mayor told them. “The fire department can’t do the burning of homes anymore. They can’t use it in their training.”
At the meeting, the council was also informed there is a tree covering up the stop sign at Winbigler and Ansonia-Elroy Road.
It was also noted that Christa Everman will be stepping down from the council in September as her family is moving out of the village.
“I enjoyed my time on council and will help where I’m needed,” she said.
Councilman Mike Hackler remarked, “Come to more council meetings so you’ll understand the roadblocks we run into, We have already brought these subjects up.”
“We have thought of forming committees to solve issues in town,” added Councilman Jeff Gariety.
“We’re on a limited budget. We want the town to be better. It’s a constant battle. We have so many things we have to abide by,” were some of the comments made by the mayor throughout the meeting.
After the meeting with the council, Riffell commented, “Being my first Ansonia Council meeting, I personally was satisfied. That being said, ask me this again in two weeks (next council meeting). I’m going to do whatever it takes to get something done, whether it’s at a county, state, or government level, so be it. I just want to see our community the way it should be seen by everyone.”
The following day, this announcement appeared in the village news on Facebook: “On Tuesday, July 18, multiple members of the community attended the village council meeting. The attendees brought forward concerns regarding properties within the Village that are not being maintained. Some examples given were: overgrown yards and weeds, building maintenance issues, and trash and junk piling up.
“Council members explained to the attendees that many of these issues are being addressed. They also explained there are challenges and processes the Village has to follow to legally ‘take action’ against property owners in trying to resolve the issues mentioned.
“After much conversation, the attendees and the village council agreed that the most effective course of action may be to have community volunteers assist residents who may be having issues completing this maintenance on their own. If someone is struggling physically or financially, having volunteers assist them vs. litigation and fines is likely a better resolution for our community.
“Those offering to volunteer would like to schedule or set day(s) to complete work.
If you are willing to volunteer in the clean-up efforts, please message our page. If you are a resident in need of this type of assistance, please message our page, so a volunteer can assess what you may need and what resolution can be made.
“The village council would like to thank the residents in attendance last night. The council is appreciative of the willingness of residents to volunteer to better our community, and to be a part of potential solutions.”
Members of the council are Mayor Adkins, Fiscal Officer Julie Kimmel, and council members, Christa Everman, Steve Hilderbrand, Mike Hackler, John Middleton, Dan Brown, and Jeff Gariety.
The council of the Village of Ansonia meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the council chambers, 100 W. Canal St. All council meetings are open to the public.