Columbus Street in Lithopolis will undergo a major makeover in the summer, but winter weather is taking a toll on village streets with drivers dancing a pothole shuffle with their vehicles.
"We have four major eruptions going on on Columbus Street right now," Lithopolis Mayor Eric Sandine said during Lithopolis Village Council’s Feb. 23 meeting. "There’s no sub-base to the road, so mud is pushing up through the asphalt. The ground is pretty saturated."
Sandine discussed several options to correct the problem, including contracting for patch work, renting/purchasing a hotbox to store patching asphalt, or using a radiant heater to warm the asphalt. Compounding the problem is the lack of a secondary vehicle to transport the patch material; the village dump truck is currently used for snow removal/salting.
"In the short term, we’re getting a radiant heater to keep the cold patch workable or wait until March and get hot mix," said Sandine. "For right now, we’re going to have to excavate a little and then fill with gravel."
Long-term options include purchasing a used trailer for asphalt storage/transport.
"There’s no magic wand," admitted Village Administrator Ed VanVickle. "We’ve looked at all these options."
Recouping tax monies
Residents who do not pay their fair share of income tax to Lithopolis are on the village’s collection radar and could find themselves facing a judge if they fail to file.
According to Sandine, the village could recoup nearly $100,000 if major offenders settle their tax bills with Lithopolis. He said there are residents who have never filed or paid income tax for five to 10 years and they are the ones targeted for initial enforcement.
"They’ve already received at least three letters and a subpoena," stated Sandine. "We’ll go to court and get a quick judgment for back taxes. Once we file for a judgment in court, it will become a public record. I think we’ll probably see money once that step is taken. Once we start the process, I think we’ll see people filing and paying. We’ll go after the most serious first."
In a Feb. 8 letter to Fiscal Officer Jacinta Seagraves, Regional Income Tax Authority Audit Supervisor Nick Rebraca reported 149 letters were sent and 118 subpoenas mailed on Dec. 10, 2009. Seventy-four received no response, 15 were undeliverable, four were retired or deceased, and 38 final filed.