G. Rapids compost site getting trashed


GRAND RAPIDS – Residents who clean up their yards and illegally dump in the town’s compost facility have
through spring of 2010 to clean up their acts.
Village Administrator Chad Hoffman announced at last week’s council meeting he had received two proposals
to install 250 feet of chain-link fencing and a gate at the compost facility, but both were over $5,000.
He recommended not fencing in the site.
"I can’t see spending that much money because of a few people choosing to ignore rules and
regulations," he said. Hoffman also expressed concern that illegal dumpers, who currently ignore
the sign that’s there, would just dump outside the new fence if it were installed.
In addition, the facility would be unlocked from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and he said 90
percent of the materials dropped off are after hours when people are home from work and on weekends.
Instead, Hoffman wants to "hit it hard" in the town’s spring newsletter what can legitimately
be left there – only grass and leaves – "and hope we don’t have to shut it down."
The compost facility is a service the town provides for residents within the village, not outside of it,
or across the river but still with a Grand Rapids address.
Councilman Curt Williams asked Hoffman the cost to the village when people dump illegally.
"We have to take it out and dispose of it," said Hoffman. "It’s in violation of the permit
from the Ohio EPA. We’re only allowed to compost certain items." He noted illegal dumps are made on
a weekly basis, from a pickup truck load of branches and tree limbs, to a dump truck load of them, to 10
bushels of walnuts dumped along with leaves.
Members approved the petition from the chamber of commerce to use public property for its annual
Christmas Open House on Nov. 21, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Nov. 22, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event
will include ice carving, singers and other entertainment.
Council authorized Hoffman to proceed with Suburban Natural Gas and let the courts decide the issue of
its employees paying income tax to the village.
Members also said the historical society can come up with plans for Blue Bell Island park, which they
will then discuss before giving final approval.
Guests Judith Snyder and Mark Tolles, both candidates for the Otsego School Board, attended the meeting.
Mayor Judy Keifer said her concern "is the way the school board went about getting the money to
build this (central) elementary school," and asked Snyder about it.
"I think it should go to the voters," replied Snyder. "I’m not comfortable with that way
of doing things." She said more research needs to be done and a lot more questions answered.
Councilwoman Carolyn Erdody asked if the path the school board is currently taking can be changed, and if
it’s "cut and dried" the way things are being done.
"It will hurt the village when they lose the buildings, not just financially, but the kids,
too," said Snyder. "I just personally believe that anything can be changed."
Williams said as a teacher he is concerned about residents who say they’ve given up on the school board,
and asked how Snyder, or any other school board member, can re-energize people’s trust.
"Be honest. Talk to the people. … Work with what you have," said Snyder. "The biggest
thing is communication. I’ll give you my phone number. I don’t have a problem with that."
Tolles said he doesn’t like to think the central elementary school is a "done deal." He
expressed concern about the board’s lack of transparency on the issue, its reliance on bond counsel and
how it "blew off a majority of citizens."
"School boards are made to represent the individual, listen to them and formulate policy. … I
believe citizens must be listened to, and the board has a duty to monitor the superintendent. … He
doesn’t control the whole thing."

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