Walbridge police budget balloons

    BY DEBBIE ROGERS, Sentinel Staff Writer
    WALBRIDGE – The village police budget has ballooned by $26,000 this year.
    At Wednesday’s meeting, council heard that the 2014 police budget of $247,000 has gone up by $26,000.
    After the meeting, Mayor Ed Kolanko said a new military leave policy and built-up vacation time led to
    the increase. Also, the police department is responding to more calls for service.
    "It’s very difficult to put a pricetag on safety," he said.
    An officer who was on military leave but who also got his police salary, and vacation and comp time for
    other officers contributed to the unexpected expenses this year, Kolanko said.
    He added that the police department has also been busier.
    "They are providing a service to the village, but with that service comes an expense."
    The excess dollars for the police department will be made up out of other areas of the village budget,
    Kolanko said.
    In other business, council hired Mike’s Hauling and Demolition, Northwood, to demolish the building at
    114 N. Main St. for $18,500.
    Council voted in September to buy the dilapidated downtown property which had been a dental office and
    coffee shop in previous years. The cost was $25,000.
    Joann Schiavone, a former council member, asked what the plans were for the property.
    "We’re going to have it up for sale and hopefully get some sort of retail business in there,"
    said Councilman Larry Boday, who is chairman of the buildings and lands committee.
    "It’s not going to be a parking lot," said council president Ron Liwo.
    Kolanko said the building has seen better days and must come down for the property to be marketable.
    "At some point, we as a village needed to do something," he said. "We are really making an
    investment in the community."
    Schiavone said it was too bad that council didn’t purchase the former Walbridge Elementary building when
    it was on the market.
    James and Christian Kolasinski bought Walbridge Elementary from the Lake Board of Education in November
    2012 for $31,900. A request to rezone the property for commercial use was denied by the planning
    commission in June.
    Schiavone said the site has turned into a "ghetto."
    "And it’s becoming worse and worse and worse," she said. "It sort of sickens me. It was
    such a precious building."
    Solicitor Brian Ballenger said the owners have been cited twice into Perrysburg Municipal Court. Kolanko
    said the citations were for property maintenance and zoning violations. The village has also had some
    mowing done there and assessed the costs to the real estate taxes.
    A non-profit group that provides resources to churches and charities has located in the school.
    EnPuzzlement has been asked to file a business plan; the planning commission has recommended in favor of
    a temporary use permit, but the process is ongoing.
    Also at the meeting, council heard two Halloween comments read into the minutes. Council moved trick or
    treating from Friday to Thursday to accommodate a Lake High School football game.
    Joe Schiavone said he went through 220 pieces of candy in 35 minutes and thought that 90 percent of the
    traffic was from out of town.
    Sharilyn Boday said she appreciated the date change because she is a football fan. She added that
    Walbridge is viewed as a safe environment for parents to bring their children. She went through 415
    pieces of candy – 300 is a normal amount.