Complaints from citizens about the increasing dangers posed by abandoned, uninhabitable and completely unkept properties in the village again occupied a large part of the June meeting of Bridgeport Village Council.
Mayor John Callarik asked his secretary to note the specific locations of the troublesome properties so that village officials can attempt to connect with potential solutions to the specific problems of each complaint.
Possible grant funds may be accessible to the village in the near future to fund demolition projects, including fees related to asbestos removal issues.
Councilmen Melvin Husarik and Dave Smith noted there are ways to pursue asbestos removal and other demolition related costs that provide for connections to future reimbursement possibilities for the village.
"A lot of those properties we have now we can't even find out who owns them, they're abandoned," said Callarik.
"We have to pick ones that it's the least costly to tear down," said Callarik.
"You don't want to spend the money all at one time. Otherwise that money is not going to go very far," he said.
"This town needs a cleanup," said the mayor. "We just gotta take action and start doing it."
When Callarik was asked by Counciman Dick Riley about efforts to access another grant source for demolition monies he acknowledged conversations have been held in pursuit of that other grant source, but he considered it premature to bring details to council floor.
Riley expressed concerns council members, particularly grant committee members, are not kept informed from the first on grant projects being pursued on behalf of the village.
Callarik announced a published agenda will soon become regular practice for council meetings.
"People should call the mayor's office maybe a week ahead of time to get on it. I'll get my agenda out to everybody a couple days ahead of time, and maybe we can look at those kind of things. In between, if we find something out about it we can call the committee to look at it before the meeting. We're losing too much time. We're not getting anytning done," said Callarik.
"We can help you if we know about the grants," said Riley.
Callarik said he agreed but will be sharing information with the committee after he has a definitive answer on the grant award.
Following on the idea of improving the cleaning up effort as far as high grass and weeds in the village, Callarik asked for council's approval to hire two part-time people to work on an as needed basis - with no probationary period - to supplement the effort of the single employee now available.
"One man just can't do it. We're getting so far behind. The town looks shaggy. Anyplace you go you see high weeds, roads need patched. We're not gonna get something done unless we do something like that.
"We've got the money in the street department we can hire a few people, but I want workers. I want someone out there who's working. If they don't work they are gone. If council will give me that authorization I will hire two guys myself. If they are not doing the job, they're gone.
Callarik said the request is only for employing personnel during the summer.
"We might not even want them all summer, but just until we get the place cleaned up a little. I'd say if you do that you are going to see a big difference in the town. I'll take that responsibility to get that done, but I need some help" said Callarik.
Smith supported the idea of one person being hired as a part time person available year round, noting it might be a means of reducing overtime costs.
"The reason why I want to take charge of that and get it done. I'm willing to take that on and do it, but one man - four hours - its not gonna do it," said Callarik, noted he has two former employees he would like to hire for the duty.
Callarik agreed to work at the outset with hiring two people.
"Set a time of 30 days, eight hours a day, pay them eight dollars an hour," said Callarik.
Progress on the effort will be evaluated at the July meeting.
"I'm not going to be the roadblock. I will give it one chance," said Smith.
Addressing another employment matter, council approved the hiring of two part-time officers: Phillip Putnam and Nathan Schaal.
Approval for scheduling two nights of additional patrolled coverage was approved at the request of the police chief and he will be responsible for deciding when the additional coverage shifts will be on patrol.
The request was rooted in a need to reduce a recent increase in thefts across the village.
Other legislation put on the floor included hiring Brian Cooper as a full-time employee who will be assigned as sanitation truck driver; and approval of a continuing agreement to provide police protection for the Village of Brookside.
Council approved the fiscal officer's request for a special meeting to be held on July 10 at 6 p.m.
The next regular meeting of council will be held on Tuesday, July 17.
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