Wellsville council hears concerns over rental property

WELLSVILLE — A resident brought his concerns about a neighboring property before village council Tuesday night, with the owner of the property in question sitting a few feet away.

Bill Walker, speaking during the first opening for public comments, said a building that is rented as apartments has several issues, including trash piled up and unsafe stairs.

Walker has brought the concerns up before, he said, calling the situation “a disgrace.”

He wanted, in the least, for council to make the owner of the property put in a dumpster so the bags of trash do not continue to pile up.

“Something needs to be done,” he pleaded.

He also said there were several safety issues with the stairs at the building, pointing out one of the tenants has a small child.

The fire department inspected the stairs but the report was not yet complete, however Walker gave details from a third party report he said he had conducted by an engineer.

The owner of the property said he has spoken with the tenants multiple times about the trash and claimed that removing it is their responsibility, a statement with which council disagreed.

“It’s your responsibility,” councilwoman Karen Dash told the man.

The back-and-forth between the owner of the property and Walker had to be halted by Mayor Robert Boley calling for order twice.

Councilwoman Christi Thirtyacre also said the reported condition of the stairs being used by a woman with a small child “are concerning.”

Walker, detailing interactions with the tenants and things he said he’s observed, pleaded with the owner to conduct background checks on renters.

The renter argued background checks and references have not prevented getting stuck with bad renters in the past.

The mayor, who knew the renter, said the village has delivered a letter about the trash and will deliver another, stating, “I have no problem taking them to court.”

Councilman Martin Thorn suggested that Walker keep pursuing the matter with the county health department, since the village does not have its own department.

Council also heard from Evan Scurti, senior development specialist for the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association, about possible funding for studies on marketing the village’s areas that fall within a federal opportunity zone.

The Trump-administration-era program gives incentives to developers who develop in the zones, one of which falls within the village.

Scurti said there are some 8,700 zones in the country, 320 of which are in Ohio. Wellsville is the only one located in Columbiana County, he said.

Scurti, who had spoken with the mayor about the program, said OMEGA has grant funding for consulting work on marketing the zones and presented council with requests for proposals to review.

He said there would “not be any administrative burden on the village” and there is no local match required.

Village financial officer Hoi Wah Yu also said during her report that the village’s budget, despite the increase in things like fuel prices, is still on track and that revenues have been higher than expected.

The village will receive a state grant of $150,000 for the marina project, she said, and she thanked the county commissioners for providing the village with an additional $87,000 for the reservoir project.

Members of the Columbiana County Park District Board also appeared to talk about the need to potentially put a levy on the ballot to have funding for projects it plans to do and to continue maintenance of the three properties it maintains.


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