Reynoldsburg code officers urge residents to clean up yards

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 Join the City of Reynoldsburg as they clean up their community on Saturday, June 7 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 pm. Volunteers are asked to clean up trash and litter along city streets, remove waste from streams and creeks, and/or assist general clean-up and repair for the elderly and disabled residents within the community.

Last year, more than 200 volunteers showed their pride for the city and in 2006 their efforts earned the city the prestigious Emerald Award from the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) for their outstanding efforts.

Members of the community are encouraged to bring documents for shredding,and dispose of bulk items, hazardous waste and some electronics items, including cell phones (see dates and times below).

Kick-off for the event is a 20-minute makeover beginning at 10 a.m. on June 6 at Reynoldsburg government offices, schools and local businesses. Volunteers are encouraged to call the Reynoldsburg Development Department at 322-6807.

Those interested in helping the elderly and disabled residents with their clean-up/repair needs should call the Reynoldsburg Building Division at 322-6802. All volunteers will receive a free event t-shirt and will enjoy free refreshments and food.

The schedule for the week:

•June 6 – 20-Minute Makeover (clean-up around work and businesses)    10 a.m.

•June 6 & 9-13 – Bulk item disposal at Street Department, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (cannot dispose of these items at this location over the weekend)

•June 6-15 – Bulk item disposal at City Hall, 7:30 am to 3:30 pm

•June 7 – Community Clean-Up Day – Hazardous waste disposal at Spangler Field in Huber Park, 8 am to 2 pm; IT Asset Disposal at City Hall- includes computers,    monitors, fax machines and cell phones8 am to 2 pm., ; Document shredding at City Hall, 9 am to 3 pm; Exchange broken red recycling bins at City Hall, 9 am to 3 pm    

June 6-15 will also be a prime week for Reynoldsburg residents to to hold their garage sales since no permits are needed and no fees will be charged that week.

Keeping Reynoldsburg free of knee-high lawns, trash cans within sight of the street and cars parked in yards are just a handful of the tasks keeping the city’s code enforcement officers busy this time of year.

Chet Hopper, chief building official for the city, came to the May 19 meeting of Reynoldsburg City Council’s safety committee with an update on the city’s code compliance procedures.

"My intention tonight was just to shed some light on what our citizens are to be compliant with," explained Ron Stake, chairman of the safety committee.

Mayor Brad McCloud said the number-one complaint this time of year is high grass, but the city also receives springtime calls about residents with trash cans within sight of the street, yards littered with debris, cars parked in the grass, or homes with downspouts hanging free from the roof.

Regarding the city’s response to such calls, McCloud said, "It is complaint-driven and our code enforcement officers are out daily."

When tall grass is the complaint, he said, "The code specifies that a seven-day notice be provided."

If the grass has still not been cut after that time, the city cuts the grass for the property owner – and then sends them a bill. But McCloud pointed out the city prefers not to be in the grass-cutting business.

"Our goal is compliance," he said. "Failing that, we do cite them directly into mayor’s court."

Hopper added, "We give them a code violation notice, which is essentially a warning."

At that point, he said, the property owners are told what to do to bring the property into compliance.

"Eventually, we probably get 95 percent compliance," Hopper said.

Councilman Doug Joseph asked why the numbers are showing compliance is increasing.

"I would attribute it to great effort by the code enforcement officers we have now," noting that a recent string of turnover in the department seems to have quelled. "We are really trying to do a better job."

Councilwoman Antoinette Newman asked whether the code enforcement officers are presenting the violators with a pamphlet explaining what the city expects.

"I think people would do a better job of complying if they really knew what they were supposed to do," she said.

Hopper said the pamphlet is under revision and the department should begin passing them out this summer.

In other code enforcement news, Safety/Service Director Pam Boratyn updated council on the 2007 mowing assessments, which were presented to property owners who did not cut their grass when they were told, and consequently the city cut it for them.

"These are people who did not pay when we went out," Boratyn said.

Reynoldsburg is looking to collect $11,400 in fees from Franklin County residents and $2,400 from Licking County residents. These amounts will be tacked on to the property owners’ next tax bills.

"I’m glad to see the city is out when people aren’t cutting the grass so the neighborhoods look halfway decent," Stake commented.

Traffic control signs

Street Department Superintendent Larry Ward came to council seeking authorization to apply for a grant from the National Association of County Engineers for reimbursement regarding upgrading traffic control signs.

Ward said the Federal Highway Administration has passed new regulations requiring higher reflectivity on signs, and the city has 3,100 traffic control signs and 1,100 street signs that are going to need replaced within the next seven years.

"This is a one-time reimbursement and the signs have to be installed in the next six months," Ward said.

Most people won’t notice any changes to the signs during the day, but "At night there will be much more reflectivity from the headlights."

Stake asked whether the city would be making the signs in-house.

"We still make quite a few," Ward reported. "But when you’re doing a lot of signs like this, it’s much easier to order from the manufacturer."

Ward noted that the old signs will be saved to make temporary signs or will be recycled.

New equipment

Council also agreed to authorize a $9,388 contract with Metro Audio-Video to replace equipment in council chambers.

"We want to replace 20-year-old equipment," Boratyn noted. "What you’ve got is ready to quit at any time."

Stake said this project needs to proceed, and noted some of the equipment has been held together by duct tape.

"I appreciate all the work you did," he said. "This is long overdue … We’d like to get this going as soon as possible."

Other business

In other news, council:

•Agreed to confirm the mayor’s recommendation of Jason Shamblin as the city’s new parks and recreation director

•Postponed discussion on a resolution to oppose legislation pending in the Ohio General Assembly seeking to eliminate mayor’s courts in Ohio.

•Delayed discussion on legislation waiving competitive bidding for various exempted contracts and expenditures over $10,000.

•Agreed to send to council for its second reading legislation accepting a 1.479 sanitary sewer easement and 0.796 acre waterline easement from Distribution Land Corp., and a 30-foot wide waterline easement and a 15-foot wide sanitary sewer easement from Tata Corp./Blacklick Office Park. Headed to council for its third reading is legislation accepting .039 and .085 sidewalk easements and a .085 acre waterline easement from Two Reynoldsburg Co./Shoppes at East Broad.

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