By MADONNA JOHNSON
Norwalk Village Board Trustee
I was disappointed that the County Line was unable to send someone to cover the Village of Norwalk board meeting Monday night, but understand they had three other meetings to cover that evening.
At the July board meeting, our board president, Levi Helgren, had on the agenda four properties to be sent a raze order. The four properties were the old D&J tavern, the old blacksmith shop, the old creamery, and the old green lumberyard building. He took it upon himself to have the village attorney write up a raze order that basically said, you have 180 days to tear down your building or the village will assume the property and the village will tear it down.
He also said under the lawyer suggestion to appoint the board president as the administrator of the raze order. There were no previous discussions or committee meetings regarding this. When I asked why this wasn’t at committee or why nothing was in our packet, I was told, “I’m telling you now.” The motion carried to appoint the board president administrator of raze orders, which I opposed, and it finally was decided to contact the property owners to come to the August meeting to let them tell what their intentions for their buildings were. I was surprised that they hadn’t been contacted before.
At the Monday, Aug. 10, meeting, the property owners attended. They were all blindsided by the letter Levi had sent to them saying they would receive a raze order for their buildings and they could be on the agenda for the August meeting. The one property owner did have a lawyer send a letter stating the proper steps the village would have to take to serve a raze order. The property owners all wanted to keep their buildings and asked what the village wanted them to do. After each spoke, the board decided to basically give them a year to show plans or improvements to their property.
Another discussion was regarding the picnic license for selling beer at the tractor pull at the new location on the Muehlenkamp property. Once again, I was disappointed to hear the property owners bordering the track were not told anything or offered anything. The thing I keep hearing is, “It’s only one weekend out of the year.” These taxpayers are here every day all year long!
The Lions Club now has two licenses to sell beer, one for each end of town. At the committee meeting regarding the license, I asked how many tractors were expected. I was told we had no way of knowing, and then last Friday, the Monroe County Herald had a supplement all about the Norwalk Tractor Pull and how they were expecting all of these tractors because we were the only pull in the area.
The cars have been told to enter on North Street to park in the field. We have had two major accidents in that location within six months, and when I asked Chief Dave Jones if there would be someone there directing traffic, he answered “no.” Then it was mentioned to have an “EVENT AHEAD sign put in place. Dave said, “That’s a good idea, but there wouldn’t be time to get one, unless maybe the Lions Club could get one.” Levi said he would “mention it.”
As a board member, I am getting the feeling that as long as our village board president is also the Lions Club president, the best interests of the taxpayers is not as important as the interests of the Lions Club.