It is difficult enough to balance a home budget; much less one on a village size scale, but a 2007 financial report by Finance Director Nanisa Osborn for Canal Winchester brought good news to village council about savings in the thousands.
The original cost projection for a recently completed water treatment plant and wellfield/water line was nearly $5.6 million, but the actual cost was $5.35 million. Original projections for the Diley Road project were $5.7 million and the actual cost, including interest on notes, was $5.4 million.
"Both projects were brought in significantly under budget," stated Osborn. "The water treatment plant and wellfield/water line projects were $242,054 under budget. The Diley Road project was $298,445 under budget. I am so proud of our staff and the contractors. It is so unheard of (for such large savings). I got a call from the EPA to make sure I was reporting the right numbers. They were as amazed as we were."
The good news continued to roll in at council’s April 7 meeting when Public Works Director Matt Peoples asked council to enter into a contract with Strawser Paving for the 2008 street improvement project. The engineering estimate for the endeavor-which includes repaving of Washington Knolls and Oak Street, pavement repairs in Winchester Trace, and pavement resurfacing in Westchester and Ashbrook-was $418,000 and the bid came in at $341,208.
As spring blossoms pop up in lawns and gardens across Canal Winchester, peddlers and solicitors are preparing for their annual arrival as well, but they now face tighter controls on registration and the hours in which they operate, following passage of new legislation.
The last time the village updated conditions for soliciting in the village was in 1995 when only fees and hours were addressed.
Osborn previously said the reason for updating the code was to offer the village more discretion in determining the type of individuals and businesses soliciting in Canal Winchester and, while it has not been a problem in the past, by tightening up the code future problems can be avoided.
According to the ordinance, everyone acting for or hired by another as a peddler or solicitor must obtain a license. However, uncompensated individuals acting on behalf of recognized religious or charitable non-profit organizations are not required to obtain a license, but they must register with the mayor’s office.
License and registration certificates must be obvious and attached to the peddler or solicitor’s outer garments. They are not transferable. Activity is restricted to Monday-Saturday (never on Sunday or holidays) between 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. or sun down, depending on which is earlier. Residents or businesses have the right to refuse uninvited peddlers or solicitors by placing a sign near their main entrance.
Council approved an ordinance opposing pending legislation in the Ohio General Assembly eliminating mayor’s court.
"They are conducting hearings on this this week," said Osborn. "They are making amendments, but I still have concerns about the amendments. I think it will be a very expensive change for us. I think those who would benefit are not residents of the village. People have the ability to have a personal conversation with the magistrate or prosecutor (with mayor’s court). We still have a very local system. This would not make it a local system."
The village’s formal statement asserts that mayor’s court, with few exceptions, provides a fair and impartial hearing for all defendants and cited the following positive aspects:
•Court hearings are less formal and, as a result defendants feel more comfortable presenting their case without the presence or expense of legal counsel.
•They are more efficient than municipal courts.
•Mayor’s court provides the greatest protection of a defendant’s constitutional rights.
•The current system preserves "home rule." Canal Winchester uses a magistrate to eliminate any conflict which could arise with the administrative functions of the village.
No one is compelled to keep their case in mayor’s court. Defendants can transfer their cases, with very few exceptions, at any time and for any reason.