MECHANICSBURG – To help rid the village’s financial statements of accounts no longer in use, Village Council approved Monday the closure of several funds and the transferring of remaining dollars in those funds to active accounts.
In regards to the Mechanicsburg Mayor’s Court, which ceased operations on Oct. 1, 2014, council agreed to close the Mayor’s Court Computer Fund and transfer its $8,480.14 balance to the General Fund.
As for the Mayor’s Court Fund, Mayor Greg Kimball informed council he authorized the transfer of that account’s balance of $24,382 to the General Fund.
Council was also asked to act on two fire department-related funds – the Fire Trust Fund with a balance of $2,000 and the Fire Building Fund with a balance of $4,506.62.
“Both of these date back quite awhile,” Fiscal Officer Dan Eck said. “The Fire Trust Fund was a donation back in 2007 to the fire department. We have no documentation on whether there were any requests or restrictions on that donation. It’s sat there ever since.
“The Fire Building Fund has been in place for at least 20 years. The only thing we can find in old minutes is that there was land behind the building here that was donated to the fire department. When it was sold, the money was put into a CD and that became the Fire Building Fund. Again, nobody can find documentation on restrictions on usage,” he added.
Eck proposed to council that it consider passing a motion to dissolve both funds and transfer the combined balances of $6,506 to the village’s Emergency Vehicle Fund, which council did.
Neighbor dispute addressed
On Aug. 1, resident Nancy Rhodes discussed concerns with children playing basketball in the street near her 168 E. Race St. home. She asked if anything could be done to prevent children from playing in the street not only for their own safety, but to prevent her personal property from being damaged as her vehicle had been damaged by a basketball.
In attendance again, Rhodes pleaded for assistance, stating, “It’s still going on.”
Village Solicitor Joe Jimenez said the issue stems from Rhodes’ neighbor placing the basketball hoop adjacent to the street, encouraging children to play in the street.
“It’s not just that they are damaging Nancy’s car,” council member Jodi Compton said. “They are becoming a danger to themselves, because they can’t stay out of the street.”
To address the situation, Jimenez presented to council a draft modification of a village ordinance relating to criminal damaging, which underwent a first reading.
Jimenez said the proposed addition related to criminal mischief reads, “No person shall knowingly create a situation facilitating criminal damage by others where property damage actually occurs.”
Council was informed that if the proposed modification is approved after three readings, violators can be cited by police with a third degree misdemeanor, which carries a fine up to $750. Also, the violator would be liable for any property damage.
Free tire disposal
In preparation for the countywide Scrap Tire Disposal Day to be held from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 15, at the Champaign County Fairgrounds in Urbana, the village and Goshen Township have banded together to host their own local event.
From 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 8, Mechanicsburg and Goshen Township residents may drop off unwanted tires at the village’s street department building on Mill St.
“We are going to haul them over (to the Champaign County Fairgrounds) in our dump trucks,” Village Administrator April Huggins-Davis said. “If residents miss it this weekend here in town, they will still have a chance to go over to the Champaign County Fairgrounds and take tires there.”
The countywide tire disposal day in Urbana is being organized by the Champaign Health District and local governments as a way to control the mosquito population, as tires left in the elements are ideal breeding grounds for the disease-carrying insects.
Cracking down on nuisance violators
Zoning Officer Dusty Hurst informed council that letters will be mailed within the week to residents in violation of the village’s nuisance ordinances pertaining to tall grass/weeds and junk cars.
“We will get this all cleaned up before wintertime,” he said.
Hurst stated at a council meeting earlier this year that property owners are in violation if their grass is over 8 inches tall or has gone to seed.
As for the junk car issue, Hurst said, the ordinance pertains to vehicles left outside, not those stored inside a building.
“If they are not tagged and not operable, it is a violation, and you will be cited for that,” he said. “With harvest well underway, we have a lot of rodents looking for new homes. If you have a junk car, that is where they are going.”
In other business:
•The village will be smoke testing the sanitary sewer system Oct. 17-21.
“We haven’t done the whole town in a long time, so we are going to do that to see if we can find any smoking guns,” Huggins-Davis said. “We’ve got some infiltration (water leaking into sanitary sewer lines) somewhere, because we are still getting water down at the sewer plant when we have a heavy rain.”
•Residents were reminded that an ordinance passed on Aug. 15 prohibits the disposal of leaves and other waste into storm sewers, as that can lead to clogged catch basins.
Huggins-Davis addressed council with concerns over residents mowing grass into the street instead of back into their yards, which is a violation of the ordinance.
•Eck informed council the police department recently assisted a paving company with work in the village and was compensated for the job. Following Eck’s recommendation, council authorized the $795 paid to the police department to be transferred from the General Fund to the Police Cruiser Fund.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.