Mingo discusses demo grants for downtown

MINGO JUNCTION – Village Council on Tuesday discussed demolition of buildings in the downtown area, concerns about the electric aggregation program and turning delinquent water and sewer accounts into a collection agency.

The Mingo Revitalization Committee met with representatives of the Ohio Mid-Eastern Government Association about possible grants for demolishing as many as three building on west side of Commercial Avenue, near the corner of McLister Avenue.

Jodilynn Fitzgerald and other members of the revitalization committee are trying to get funding from the county land bank to tear down the former Knights of Pythias building at the corner of Commercial and McLister avenues.

Fitzgerald said the group will go before the Jefferson County land bank on Aug. 20 to ask the building be included in a list that will be part of a $500,000 grant the land bank is seeking through the state. The revitalization committee also is seeking funding to demolish two adjacent buildings to the Knights of Pythias and two houses in the village.

The Knights of Pythias building alone will cost $40,000 with an estimated price tag of $140,000 for all three Commercial Avenue buildings, she said.

Council, as part of the grant package, agreed to commit up to $27,000 from the village’s demolition account.

Fitzgerald said the group also will be seeking money through OMEGA.

She said the Knights of Pythias building is a safety concern because people are entering the abandoned structure, in addition to rodents.

Councilman James Morrocco pledged support for the demolition.

“If we don’t get this torn down now, we will never get it torn down,” he said.

Fitzgerald said the village has to try to get grant money.

“The people of Mingo Junction deserve a downtown that is not full of dilapidated and blighted buildings,” she said.

Council also asked John Ney of World Energy to discuss why residents who were not part of the original electric aggregation program are not being notified to join after contracts with other electric suppliers expire.

The village last year entered into a three-year contract with Dayton Power & Light Energy Resources Inc. at a rate of 5.99 cents a kilowatt hour, about two cents a kilowatt hour cheaper that other suppliers.

Ney said residents on other contracts could opt into the program but there apparently is a problem with Dayton Power notifying residents about the option.

Councilman Michael Herrick said residents were supposed to be getting letters about the program when contracts with other suppliers expired. The contract expires and the residents are forced to pay a higher electric rate.

Village Administrator Steve Maguschak said residents should be able to join the village’s electric aggregation program 30 days prior to a contract with another electric supplier expiring.

Mayor John Fabian said it should be easier for residents to enroll in the village’s electric aggregation program.

Ney said he will contact Dayton Power about the village’s concerns.

“This should have been a flawless transition. This should have never gotten to this point,” Morrocco said.

The phone number for Dayton Power is on the villages website if residents have questions.

Council approved a request from Councilman George Irvin, chairman of council’s water and sewer committee, to turn delinquent water and sewer accounts into First Federal Credit Control of Cleveland. Irvin said the company will take 35 percent of whatever is collected.

Fabian, members of council and the Mingo Revitalization Committee also commended volunteers who participated in this past weekend’s Mingo Community Days.

Fire Chief John Wright told council he needs to take $1,500 a year from the contract services fund to pay for a new federal requirement for emergency medical calls covered by Medicare. He said the federal government is now requiring the village go through a third party for billing, at a cost of $1,500 a year.

Maguschak said the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is requiring the village spend $90 for a sign noting an ODNR grant was used to pave Aracoma Park in 1978. The old sign disappeared over the years.

Fabian announced Aracoma Park’s swimming pool will close on Aug. 31, but the pool will be open for senior citizens in the morning if a lifeguard is available.

Council also:

Approved an ordinance adopting a hazard mitigation plan overseen by the county’s Emergency Management Agency. The federal requirement adopted in 2000 requires a plan to mitigate loss of life and property in the event of a natural disaster.

Approved the transfer of $19,000 to pay for the installation of a lime feeder at the water plant to improve water quality.

Approved a resolution commending the Indian Creek High School softball team for a successful season.

Heard only the first reading of an ordinance to transfer $1,500 for a new pump at the splash pad at Aracoma Park. Two council members, Morrocco and Councilman Chuck Dickey, objected to having the ordinance approved on an emergency basis. Morocco said he is against spending more money on the splash pad, which cost in excess of $250,000 to build several years ago.