COVINGTON – Covington Council member Doris Beeman submitted a letter to Mayor Ed McCord during their meeting on Monday night that she will be resigning. Her resignation will be effective Dec. 31.
The council approved her resignation “with regret.”
There was only one other item of official business on the agenda. The council waived the three-reading rule and approved the annexation of 8.705 acres from Newberry Township.
“This is the Covington school property annexation,” McCord said.
During public comment that evening, Debra Bolin of Covington stated that the recent Spring Street Project has caused issues for property belonging to her and her mother located on the 500 block of Spring Street.
“Your contractor took out a row of bushes,” Bolin said.
Village Administrator Mike Busse denied that the contractor did that. “As far as I know, we didn’t take any bushes out,” he said.
Bolin was adamant that a row of bushes was removed. Bolin also stated that the hillside where those bushes were located is starting to have erosion problems.
“We’re now starting to see sinkholes,” Bolin said.
There was also a step put in that did not match with the other steps. The distance between the existing steps is approximately five inches apart, but the new step was put in approximately three inches from the other steps.
“Two people have fallen,” Delores Sampson of Covington said.
Bolin stated that she is willing to pay for those steps to be fixed, but she stated that the alleged damage to the hillside is the village’s responsibility.
Busse disagreed, stating he consulted with their contractor and engineer about this issue. “We all agree that there’s nothing that we did,” he said. “I think it’s time and dry weather.”
Bolin stated that there were no issues with the hillside prior to this project. She is concerned about the hillside sliding without the bushes holding up the hill. Bolin also remarked that mulch was put in after the bushes were allegedly taken out, but she does not believe that mulch will hold the hillside.
“This is not from the rain or the weather,” Bolin said. “There was no problem before … There is nothing that we did.”
In regard to possible sinkholes, Busse stated there were some soft spots created due to cleanouts being put in that the contractor will have to come back in the springtime to fix.
“I’d like to see it myself and see what’s going on,” council member Bud Weer said.
Council member Joyce Robertson also said she would like to see the hill, and other council members nodded in agreement.
“Let us take a look at it and see,” McCord said. “We will get back to you.”
During the village administrator’s report, Busse went over a number of projects continuing in the village as well changes happening due to winter approaching.
“Leaf pickup will continue through Friday, Dec. 4,” Busse said. Leaf pickup is continuing with 80 percent of the leaves currently down.
In regard to the Spring Street project, Busse explained that VTF has completed the concrete work on Spring Street. The cones and stakes have been removed from the driveways and sidewalks, according to Busse. The contractor has also been contacted about cleaning up and backfilling.
For the property at 136 North High St., Busse said, “The Ohio EPA grant has been approved for the phase 1 and asbestos study for the property. They will begin within the next couple of weeks, so this property has been staked by Rob Cron.”
The South High Street parking lot has also been staked by Rob Cron.
Covington’s park is also now closed. “The park has been winterized and is now closed for the winter,” Busse said.
The village is also preparing their well field for winterization.
“We are working on the 2016 budget and hope to have a draft for discussion at the Dec. 7 meeting,” Busse said.
Busse also explained that he will be attending an Ohio Public Works Commission fund meeting on Thursday with engineer Brice Schmitmeyer of Access Engineering to see what kind of funding the village for the Waste Water Treatment Plant phase 1 construction.
Busse has also met with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), going over the Safe Routes to School project.
“Brice and I met with ODOT for a safe routes to school progress meeting last week,” Busse said. “ODOT is requesting additional right of way takes for properties where curb ramps must be installed across from the new sidewalks.”
Once the right of ways are secured, ODOT will fund the remainder of the project up to $240,000.
“We expect it to come in under that,” Busse said.
For the last item on his report, Busse explained that the village is continuing to replace water meters. They have currently replaced approximately 620 meters, which is a little over half of the water meters.
During McCord’s mayor report, he went over the following items:
• The free community Thanksgiving Dinner will be held at the Eagles on Saturday, Nov. 21, from 4-7 p.m.
• The government center will be closed Thursday, Nov. 26, and Friday, Nov. 27, for Thanksgiving.
• The government center will close at noon on Dec. 24 for Christmas and reopen at 8 a.m. Dec. 28.
• The government center will close at noon on Dec. 31 for the New Year’s Holiday and reopen at 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 4.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall