(Posted Aug. 31, 2021)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
With developers showing active interest in Mount Sterling, village council is updating fee structures related to development.
“We want to make sure that all developers, whether they are industrial or residential, know what our fees are. That includes everything from tap fees for water lines to things like parks,” said Andy Drake, a member of council’s planning committee.
The committee started with the water and sewer tap-in fees which were last updated 15 years ago. They solicited feedback from the community and looked at the fee structures of six nearby municipalities.
“We were dramatically underpriced by maybe a factor of 75 percent or more,” Drake said of what the committee found.
The committee proposed to council an updated list of fees designed to be more competitive with surrounding communities. The ordinance was presented at council’s Aug. 23 meeting as an emergency, meaning council could bypass the usual three-reading rule and vote on the measure immediately.
When council member Melanie Fritz asked why the emergency clause was necessary, Mayor Marci Darlington said, “They’re eager,” referring to the developers.
Drake said two developers, one residential and one industrial, likely will return to Mount Sterling in September or October. At that time, Drake said, the village hopes to work out a deal for mapping another residential subdivision or part of the village’s industrial park. Any deal that’s proposed will go before council, he added.
“We would really like to be warm and receptive to those folks, and we’d really like to be able to start talking turkey,” Drake said.
Council suspended the three-reading rule and unanimously passed the new water and sewer tap-in fees.
American Legion Post 417 is coordinating and funding installation of flagpoles at the veterans’ monument located across the street from Mount Sterling’s town hall.
Legion member Carroll Liston reported to council that the poles are slated to be installed in time for Veterans Day services in November.
The plan is to place a 25-foot tall pole for the American flag on the west side of the monument and six 20-foot tall poles for each branch of the military service on the east side of the monument. The six flags will represent the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Space Force.
“We hope it will be an added visual for downtown Sterling,” Liston said.
The village owns the property where the monument stands and where the flagpoles will be installed. Council unanimously approved the Legion’s plans.
On recommendation from the flagpole installation company, the Legion will be purchasing three sets of flags. Two sets will be rotated every month or so, and the third set will be set aside for special occasions, such as Veterans Day and Memorial Day.
The Legion welcomes donations to help cover the cost of the flags, as well as upkeep and improvements to the monument area. Checks can be made out to “American Legion Monument Fund” and mailed to P.O. Box 17, Mt. Sterling, OH 43143.
Council member Becky Martin submitted her resignation as chairperson of council’s nuisance and abatement committee.
The committee recently proposed changes to village law regarding vehicles parked on private property. After discussion at the Aug. 9 council meeting, the proposal ultimately failed for lack of a second motion.
Martin said other measures that would help with nuisance enforcement, such as reinstating the positions of village administrator and code enforcement officer, also have failed to gain support.
“This administration and council has taken away all the tools and does not support this committee,” she said before announcing her resignation from the committee.
Martin said she will “still remain vigilant as a citizen” when it comes to beautification of the village. She said she will continue to volunteer for community cleanup days and, as president of the Mt. Sterling Chamber of Commerce, support the continued purchase of flowers for planting around the village. She said she will support the newly formed group of residents who are performing beautification projects around town. She is a member of the Market Crew, a merchants group that gives 100 percent of its proceeds back to beautification projects in Mount Sterling.