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Trustees approve more nuisance properties

April 12, 2012
By J.T. Whitehouse , Town Crier

Austintown Township trustees approved the declaration on seven more properties as nuisance properties at Monday's meeting. They also gave the warning of high grass complaints, asking residents to report them early.

"Let us know about them," said Chairman Dave Ditzler.

He explained that the process to clean up a property can take time. The township has to send a letter that gives the property owner notice they have a specific amount of time to take care of the situation. If the property is not taken care of, the township can send a crew, or pay a crew to clean up or cut grass. The cost is then assessed on the property's tax bill.

While it sounds cut and dried, Ditzler said the township lost an estimated $40,000 last year from property assessments. He explained that a lot of nuisance properties are in foreclosure and the banks wash their hands of it. The properties are often sold to land banks and any liens against it are forgiven. Ditzler said the township can pay to clean it up, and then lose that cost when a property is turned over to the land bank.

All the trustees agreed that the nuisance needs to be taken care of though, and Trustee Jim Davis said this is the time of year that tall grass comes into play.

"We want the public to get the calls in early when the grass gets out of control," he said.

He also brought up another big eyesore regarding signs. He said a lot of people are having garage sales and they post signs, and then never return to take them down. He also mentioned a lot of handwritten signs have been going up throughout the township and he said those are not permitted.

From nuisance complaints, Ditzler moved on to a complaint he had with polls running in the Neighbors newspaper. He said the recent poll asked residents' opinion on whether they thought the trustees were paying the new fiscal officer too much money. He also mentioned that the poll was inaccurate and shouldn't have run.

"The fiscal officer's salary is set by a state mandate," Ditzler said.

He asked how a publication could ask people to vote on a poll, when that poll was not a valid one.

On a different note, Park Supervisor Todd Shaffer mentioned this year's Concerts in the Park. He said the concerts will continue at 7 p.m. every Tuesday though the summer, and this summer's series will be in memory of Al Hreno.

"Al played at the park for many years," Shaffer said. "In fact when he played, it was usually among out largest crowds."

He said the musician was best known for his polka and patriotic numbers. Going back further, Hreno was among a handful of local musicians who started playing in parks before park concerts became commonplace.

Shaffer said there will be a big banner placed at the band shell to honor Hreno and the concert schedules will contain the same.

In other business:

Trustees approved a motion declaring an inoperable and dismantled pickup truck at 1210 South Turner Road as a public nuisance and ordered its removal.

Trustees declared the following properties public nuisances due to trash, debris, junk and/or scrap items stored in an exposed manner about the property: Lot No. 2, Rebel Plat 1, Seventy-Six Drive; 3773 Mahoning Ave., 5645 London Drive, 4251 Crum Road, 143 North Roanoke Ave., 4573 Burkey Road, and 4600 Fitzgerald Ave. Property owners will be issued letters ordering a clean up of the property within seven days.

Police Chief Robert Gavalier publicly thanked local businessman Sam Moffie for his $250 contribution towards the Austintown K-9 unit. He told trustees the officer entering the K-9 patrols will be heading to Pennsylvania later this month to begin training with the new dog.

Fire Chief Andy Frost mentioned that his department received a $1,200 grant to purchase gas detectors which have been placed on the department's two squad trucks.

Shaffer mentioned the park will be holding a Shine for Care Benefit Walk at noon April 28. He also mentioned that Armstrong will provide 250 kites that kids can put together on the Friday before the walk. The kites will be painted and designed, and then at 2 p.m. on Saturday, all 250 will be flown at the park.



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