MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis was joined by Safety-Service Director David Glass to review a number of issues with the Knox County Commissioners on Monday, who sat in their first session of the year under this year’s president, Allen Stockberger.
The first issue was to resolve the issue from Thursday about which governmental agency would serve as coordinator for Region 9 of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. As Jonette Curry was appointed to fill the position of county auditor, that left the experienced Terry Scott in the position of Mount Vernon city auditor, as an ideal person to handle the NSP paperwork. Thus the commissioners agreed that they would write a letter of support stating that they wished the city of Mount Vernon to be the lead agent.
The commissioners said they would advise the Richland County Commissioners of their decision. The Richland Commissioners had already stated their intention in last Thursday’s meeting to support whomever the county and city chose as lead agency.
Mavis said Scott was willing to take on the extra work and would be prepared shortly to do so.
More involved discussion emerged on the issue of the placement of a cellular phone tower proposed by Verizon, to go on county property on Radio Hill, just off Coshocton Avenue. Verizon requested the commissioners to sign off on a site located roughly equal distance between the county jail access road and the county’s property line, bordering the Wolf Run Regional Park.
It was first determined that the tower site would not be in the way of a proposed city fire department substation. Mavis then asked if it wouldn’t be possible to have the tower farther back by the property line, in a less conspicuous location. Glass said the builders would probably have to get a variance from the zoning board of appeals to place the tower near a property line. Stockberger said he thought such a variance would be approved, since the adjacent land is quasi-county land, being part of the Knox County Park District, which is overseen by the county commissioners. Glass said he would check to find out.
Mavis said he would prefer the tower to be even farther back, behind the jail if possible, but the commissioners said Verizon was not happy with that location. Commissioner Robert Wise said he was concerned that if they pushed Verizon too far back, the company would simply cross property lines and offer to pay a nearby resident the $10,000 annual fee for hosting the tower, money Wise said the county would hate to miss out on. The commissioners said they would contact Verizon and see if they were open to a tower position closer to the property line, but still about 300 feet back from Upper Gilchrist Road, even though this would be a slightly lower spot than Verizon’s desired spot.
The commissioners then asked Mavis about an inquiry they received from a local community about permissive taxes — which fund road and bridge repairs — collected by local governments. Mavis said there were two tiers of permissive taxes.
The “old $5 tax,” as Mavis called it, has been in place since the Blizzard of 1978, when it was allowed to be collected by local governments as a piggyback sales tax during the administration of Ohio Gov. James A. Rhodes. A later tax, for the same purpose, is a $15 fee added to license fees. The first $5 of this tax is to be shared by all county, municipal and township entities. The second $5 goes to the county engineer, through the commissioners. The final third of the tax goes to the city. Mavis said that any incorporated community can share in the money collected for the old $5 tax, although he wasn’t sure if all the county communities collect that.
In addition to appointing Stockberger president, the board appointed Wise vice president and reappointed Rochelle Shackle as clerk/administrator for the year of 2009. They voted to keep their business hours the same, on Mondays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to close of business and the times will be officially published in a legal notice on Saturday.
Commissioner Theresa Bemiller was appointed commissioners’ representative to the following committees: Knox County Visitors’ Bureau, Family and Children First Council, Solid Waste Policy Board, Solid Waste Executive Board, MOTA, Heart of Ohio RCD and 9-1-1.
Wise was appointed to the following committees: Area Development Board, Local Emergency Planning Commission, Adult Emergency Assistance Board, Emergency Food and Shelter Board, Revolving Loan Board and Investment Board.
Stockberger was appointed to: RSVP Advisory Board, Emergency Management Agency, Fair Housing Board, Ohio Public Works Commission, The Station Break and the Investment Board.
Wise and Stockberger were also appointed to the Kno-Ho-Co-Ashland Community Action Commission for 2009.