By Matt Clevenger
For Miami Valley Today
WEST MILTON — Members of the West Milton village council held the first in a new series of “on the road” meetings Tuesday, Sept. 26, visiting the Milton-Union Senior Citizens Center to show their support for a 0.25-mill levy that will appear on the ballot in November.
“We’re just trying to showcase the senior citizens center,” municipal manager Matt Kline said. “They have a small levy on the ballot for November, and we’re just trying to show our support.”
“We’re just trying to express our support,” West Milton mayor Anthony Miller said. “The things you do and what you provide to the community is important, and we understand that.”
In other business, council also heard an update on the Stillwater Street paving project, which is almost complete but has also gone over its original budget by approximately $20,000.
“They tried to save 20 years ago, and now we’re paying,” Kline said of the quality of work that was done last time the road was paved. “All they did was pave,” he said. “They never profiled anything, they just paved.”
Workers even discovered three separate catch basins that had been completely paved over before. “We exposed three catch basins, so now the water is actually going to go down into the storm sewers like it’s supposed to,” Kline said. “That street should work a lot better now.”
“I’m very happy with the way it’s come out so far,” he said. “We’ve had some height issues, so there are a few driveway approaches that we need to fix. There’s a couple that we need to fix, that we’re going to fix.”
The road also needs to be painted before the project is completely finished. “We will be painting it,” Kline said. “We need a few rains to get the oils off of it.”
Council also heard an update on the Stillwater Crossings development. “I’m happy to report things are going to happen,” Kline said. “I got confirmation that one of the entities finally got board approval for signatures.”
“Milcon is under contract,” he said. “As soon as those bonds are in the bank, they’ll start bringing equipment in.”
Council members also heard announcements about the upcoming census, and the county’s new land bank project. Census day will be April 1, 2020.
“They are verifying addresses,” Kline said. “2020 will be the first time that you can actually fill out your census online. The first mailing goes out April 1. If they haven’t received your response back by a certain day in April, then they’ll send you out a second one. If you don’t respond to that one, then they’ll send a person out to your home.”
Council members agreed to plan an upcoming resolution announcing the census, and one announcing their support for the creation of the county land bank. “It’s organized by the county commissioners,” Kline said. “It takes blighted, empty properties that aren’t paying any more taxes. They’ll go through the expediated foreclosure process, or they can do a deed in lieu of foreclosure.”
“A lot of people will do that,” he said. “The taxes and fees they owe far exceed the value.”
“We’ve got several of those properties,” he said, noting that the land bank could end up owning them. “They could do several things with them. One of the things that was mentioned was Habitat for Humanity just doesn’t have any more properties in Miami County.”
Council members also heard an update on the Ludlow Falls sewer project.
“We had a public hearing that was required for Ludlow Falls sewer,” Kline said. “I thought the meeting went well. There was no opposition.”
The village will split the cost of the project, with West Milton’s portion equaling approximately $25,000 per year. “Our revenues from the get-go will be over $50,000,” Kline said, so just on extra revenues we’ll be able to afford the debt.”
“There are about a half dozen easements that we need to aquire,” he said. “I’ll start those conversations with those homeowners here in the next couple weeks.”
The council’s next meeting will be the WMUT joint meeting, which will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Union Township building.