Swanton Council meeting becomes heated

By Drew Stambaugh - [email protected]

The Swanton Village Council meeting last week briefly became heated leading to a five-minute recess to cool down.

Councilman David Pilliod took issue with some comments made during a committee meeting and tension spilled over into the regular meeting. The matter at hand was a tree removal at 102 Oak Street.

The property owners, the Sheperaks, paid to have a tree removed and later discovered, due to its location, the village may have been responsible for removing the tree. They requested compensation for the removal cost, which was over $2,000.

At the Aug. 23 meeting, the Public Service Committee recommended the village pay half of the cost, or $1,072.50. “They didn’t follow all the rules completely, but the committee has come to the compromise of paying one half the cost,” Pilliod said.

At the regular meeting that followed, a motion was made to pay half the cost. Misunderstandings followed; first with the wording of the motion then with the vote.

After it appeared to some that the vote failed Pilliod asked Tom Sheperak if he had been a member of the Bar Association. He then asked fiscal director Jennifer Harkey if she’d like to lecture him on ignorance of the law not being a defense, calling back to a problem Pilliod had with statements at the committee meeting.

Harkey responded that the village has procedures that need to be followed.

Ultimately the results of the vote showed that Council was deadlocked 3-3 on whether to pay the Sheperaks for half the cost. Mayor Neil Toeppe broke the tie, agreeing to pay half the cost.

But it didn’t end there. After the vote, Pilliod continued, “Would anyone else like to offer him a lot of legal advice?”

Administrator Rosanna Hoelzle asked to be excused for a couple minutes then a five minute recess was called. After the recess, Council returned, and the meeting continued as it normally would.

The Public Service Committee also discussed the addition of driveway over a waterline easement for a new home at 3810 Waterville Swanton Road. Council approved the driveway, contingent on the legal aspects of the easement.

Possible parking options on village owned property across from the VFW on Main Street were also discussed. The village will continue to work on options for new parking on the parcel. The goal is for the area to include both green space and parking spots.

Also at the meeting, Council approved the third reading of an ordinance to amend the Community Reinvestment Area in the village. The boundaries would change to include the entire village. Also, a housing officer would be designated to administer the program and a Community Reinvestment Housing Council and a Tax Incentives Review Council would be created.

Other business

Fall bulk drop off day in the village is Sept. 18, Hoelzle reported. It will include dumpsters, document shredding and electronic waste recycling.

• The Public Safety Committee discussed the proposed new Fulton County EMS contract. The village will look to gather more information before a final decision is made on approving the contract.

• Hoelzle reported that bat boxes would be installed at Memorial Park and Pilliod Park as part of Aden Dzierzawski’s Eagle Scout Service Project. The boxes can hold up to 200 bats and can aid with insect control.

• A public meeting will be held for sewer separation Project 8 and 9. It will be Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. in the Swanton Community Center on Chestnut Street.

The start of construction is dependent on when the contractor finishes its current project, but should be in early autumn.


By Drew Stambaugh

[email protected]

Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010

Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010