BRADFORD — The village of Bradford’s crackdown on delinquent taxpayers this year appears to be paying off.
During the Bradford Council meeting Thursday evening, Village Administrator Rick Looker updated the council on the village’s ongoing initiative to hold delinquent taxpayers accountable to collect tax money owed to the village.
“To date, we’ve been able to collect $20,000 in back taxes,” Looker said.
In October, Looker said that they had issued over 70 complaints about income tax violations in Miami County Municipal Court. At that time, he said that the village expected to address over 150 delinquent taxpayers. The village has since exceeded that estimate.
“I think to date I may have 300 separate cases in court,” Looker said. He added that he has about another 40 cases that he expects to be the last batch from unpaid taxes for 2016.
The council approved a contract with the prosecutor’s office at a cost of $8,500 for prosecuting the tax cases and additional property maintenance cases.
The council also approved an additional cost of $2,500 to Boring and Associates for their additional time working on the tax cases. The council also approved increasing their contract amount to $1,200.
Looker said that he expects those costs to go back down in the future if there are fewer delinquent taxpayers.
Later in the meeting, Looker told the council that he met with the village of Covington to discuss the feasibility of the village of Covington collecting Bradford’s garbage.
The village is currently contracting with Rumpke for garbage collection, and if Bradford decided to go with Covington, then Bradford customers would potentially have to give up recycling.
“They don’t want to collect recyclables,” Looker said. He said this was due to the labor cost of collecting the recycling.
The village of Covington provided Looker with a tentative cost, the amount of which he did not disclose to the council.
“That cost includes if they bought 800 toters for us,” Looker said.
He said that if the village of Bradford absorbed the cost of purchasing toters, then the plan with Covington would be approximately 40 cents cheaper per customer. If the village of Bradford allowed Covington to purchase the toters for them, then the cost would be approximately $2.10 per customer.
“I think the encouraging thing is it’s a work in progress,” Looker said. He indicated that he did not find the services comparable to what they have with Rumpke at this time.
After a discussion, council member Bob Daughtery said, “I don’t think it’s going to be feasible this year.”
Mayor Don Stump encouraged Looker to keep the lines of communication open with Covington.
The council approved Looker beginning the bidding process for garbage collection.
Earlier in the meeting, Looker updated the council on the Water Treatment Plant, which the village is continuing to finesse.
“The old plant never had to go through pre-chlorination,” Looker said, explaining that they are working on adjusting the chlorine treatments.
In regard to the old plant, Looker said that Feb. 6 will be “the last day that we can use the old plant.” After that day, the old plant will be offline.
Looker brought up what to do with the plant once it is vacated, referencing previous meetings where the council discussed possibly keeping the building to use for storage instead of demolishing the building.
Looker reiterated that it was his recommendation to demolish the building, but the council would ultimately have to decide what they wanted to do with building. Looker advised that if they wanted to use the building for storage, then the building would have to be modified.
Stump asked if the money to demolish the building was already budgeted. Looker said it was.
Council member Galen Balmert made a motion to go ahead and demolish the building. The motion was approved.
While on the topic of water, Balmert asked Looker about lead testing. Looker explained that the village tests its water on a regular basis for lead, receiving samples from various households throughout the village.
“We have no lead in our water,” Looker said. He added later, “We test all the time, and we never get any lead.”
Switching to a different village facility, Looker said there are needed repairs for the municipal building.
“For years, we’ve been experiencing heating problems in this building,” Looker said. He explained that there is not enough air flow to get the heat from the furnaces to the offices and that they will have to fund repairs to the connect the appropriate duct work.
“It will be in the budget,” Looker said.
The village also repaired a snow plow that broke down during the recent snow events. The cost of the repairs was approximately $1,200.
Looker has also received notice from Vectren about Vectren replacing gas lines within the village, doing work on Clay, Liberty, and Oakwood streets. He said he has given them notice that the village will be reconstructing Harrison Street in 2019.
“If they come in after the fact, they’re going to pay for it,” Looker said.
At the end of the meeting, Daughtery discussed possibly changing the council’s meeting time in order to work around school sporting events. No decision was made Thursday evening.
Council member Jeff Wirrig was absent during Thursday’s meeting.
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