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Confusion continues in storm water ordinance

October 13, 2011
By Richard Sberna
Poland Village Council found itself stuck in a linguistic limbo during last Tuesday’s meeting. Council members were hoping to have received a clarification of the language for the storm water utility ordinance repeal question, which is scheduled to appear on the Nov. 8 ballot in the village.

However, village solicitor Anthony D’Apolito said that numerous efforts to contact Tom McCabe at the Mahoning County Board of Elections have been unsuccessful following an initial discussion two weeks ago. As yet, council is still uncertain about the intended meaning of the measure as it is currently worded. Mayor Tim Sicafuse expressed concern about the continuing uncertainty because absentee ballots will soon be available to voters.

Council member Christine Yash read the current text aloud: “Shall the ordinance repealing ordinance 1376-10 and establishing a storm water utility program for the Village of Poland be approved?” D’Apolito said the language sounds as if it’s asking voters to approve something that’s already been approved and is law, instead of the original intent of the issue, which is to repeal that law. In his reading, the ballot is asking voters to act as a “constitutionalizing check” on the power of council, to approve what has already been approved.

The people of the village, of any populace, has no power to approve a law that has already been approved,” D’Apolito said. “All they can do is repeal it, and that is the question that was asked by the petitioners. The question on the ballot is a different question.”

Mayor Sicafuse voiced his concern that village residents who signed the petition, which got the measure placed on the ballot, were not properly informed.

“In talking to some of the people that [repeal advocates] talked to, they didn’t really get the right facts,” Sicafuse said. He reiterated that the ordinance will cost the average Poland Village homeowner $42 per year, and suggested that those most opposed to the ordinance are business owners. Council member Joe Mazur agreed, stating that businesses would pay a higher fee, but that they tend to create more waste water runoff.

“We’re not going after them, it’s just based on usage,” he said.

A public hearing on the storm water utility issue will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, at the village hall.

A motion for the construction of an addition to the village maintenance garage was unanimously approved. The project will be carried out by Custom Prefab Contractors, Inc., of North Lima.

In other business:

* Council approved the hire of a new full-time employee for the village street department.

* A resolution was passed recognizing Cheryl Halase Saculla, a second-grade teacher at North Elementary School, as Poland Schools Educator of the Year, and James E. Bennett III, of the Poland Seminary High School class of 1960, as Alumnus of the Year. The pair will be honored at the Poland Education Foundation’s annual banquet, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the Lake Club.


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