Council discusses health citations, festival

Holly Shively and Holly Shively

Bowling Green City Council convened yesterday evening for its biweekly meeting.

Prior to the City Council meeting, the council’s Community Improvement Committee met to discuss the housing maintenance issues and quality of housing.

First Ward councilman Daniel Gordon chaired the committee. Second Ward councilman John Zanfardino and At Large Robert McComber also served on the committee.

Since 1985, the City Planning Department has been working with the Health Department to conduct an exterior housing survey, which is to be done every five years. The exterior housing survey shows information about exterior housing and sanitation problems. The city is due for the survey in 2016.

“There is a percentage of folks that just have refused to deal with our intervention and perhaps can’t,” said council member Zanfardino. “These are the impasses that I think we need to develop ways in which to get passed.”

Ten years ago, any health department violation was handled by the county’s prosecution office. When the city took the violations into their own hands, the process became much quicker.

The new citation process consists of a notice sent by the health department, which can lead to a civil infraction. If the civil infraction is not paid, then it moves to Reigers office. If it is still not taken care of, the infraction becomes filed under a criminal action.

“Within any criminal justice system we have people who don’t comply,” Reiger said.

Criminal charges can be issued more than once, and the fines continue to grow. “We would rather them use that money to fix the home each time,” Reiger said.

McComber said that he could clearly see better results in the last five-year survey were much better than those in the 2006 survey, but that constituents still seem dissatisfied with gaining compliance from violators.

On the other hand, Zanfardino said, “I would say it’s about the same at best.” Zanfardino’s reasoning centered around seeing more extensions, which he didn’t believe was compliance.

Zanfardino proposed two options to help clean up the exterior of homes and improve compliance. First, he suggested a proposal to not allow garbage cans to be in front of homes. He also suggested a proposal to expand the revolving loan fund to all income levels for those who need extra money to take care of problems with their homes that cause civil infractions.

The committee members reached consensus to seek administrations viewpoint within the next month.

During the general city council meeting, Noah Tony Hetrick was sworn in as Police Chief, after serving as Sargent, Lieutenant and Deputy Police Chief for Bowling Green over the past 19 years.

Key concerns addressed included upcoming traffic and parking restrictions for this weekend’s Black Swamp Arts Festival. Starting Thursday at 6 a.m., the eastern part of City Lot 2 will be closed, and the rest of that lot will close Friday. On Saturday at 3 a.m. there will be no more on street parking on Main Street between Clay and Pearl Street, Prospect between East Wooster and Club, Clay between Main and Grove, and Club between Main and South Prospect. An hour later, Main Street will be closed between Clay and Pearl, along with all the side streets besides Wooster, and they will remain that way for the rest of the weekend.

Two students from Tom’s Campus Club, Rodrigo Patterson and Valerie Schweizer attended the meeting to discuss their upcoming service event on Sept. 25. The event will feature a “giving spree” where teams of University students will travel to Walmart and compete to purchase the most items from a list. The team who wins will get to donate all the money the organization fundraised donated to their philanthropy of choice. All the items purchased will be donated to Project Kinect here in Bowling Green.

Other problems addressed included construction and removal of trees on West Wooster Street.