SMITHFIELD - The looks of the village and the lack of financial reports in years past were discussed at Tuesday's Village Council meeting.
Resident Danny Flaherty Sr. said, "It has been over a year since fire destroyed the building on Main Street. And there are now two other structures that have been burned and are unsightly," resident Danny Flaherty Sr. told council. The building he spoke about is the former Thomassons Hardware.
He also said citizens need to be warned about cutting grass and allowing it to go onto the street.
Pat Freeland, council member, said the building's owner had one year from February to get the area cleaned and was putting it off until a later date. If it is not done by then, a judge will make a ruling, she said.
Freeland also said that notices have been sent out regarding cutting grass and blowing it into the street and there have been recent citings regarding the grass.
Fred Vandeborne, a Stadium Road citizen, said when he turns to enter South Street on his way home it looks like a slum. One of the burned houses is where children wait for a bus, he said, and he believes something should be done about the situation.
Terri Barath, council member, said there had been grant money to raze the dilapidated buildings, but it's not available anymore. She noted there is funding to take down a dilapidated building on Green Street, however.
In other matters, Barb Harrah, board of public affairs member, said in the time she had served on the board there had never been a financial report issued and asked why that was allowed to happen.
Geordie Lindsay, councilman, said four reports were to be issued each year but the village was hurting financially. Freeland explained nothing was balanced for 12 years, therefore no financial reports could be made.
Auditors now are going back to 2000 in the books, she noted. She said bills and payments are accepted on faith.
"You don't know when people aren't doing their job. They are bonded and you accept it on faith," she said.
Council President Nikki Pflug said that it was due to poor bookkeeping and the inability to provide financial reports.
Debbie Coconaugher, clerk/treasurer, said there have been missing records in the past, but small communities didn't come under federal audits until three years ago. This was when the village was red flagged because nothing had been filed to the federal government. The last time a report was sent in was in 2000, it was noted.
Solicitor Bryan Felmet explained the recent public meeting called by Village Council regarding the water situation was open to commissioners.
"At the time only one commissioner made a commitment to attend but later all three were able to attend. Therefore it needed to be recorded by their staff. There was no problem with legal ethics," he said.
"I don't understand the fuss being made. We had township trustees speaking and people from all over the county talking, too. Hopefully we will get this behind us," Felmet said.
Village Council on Tuesday unanimously agreed to let the Jefferson County Water and Sewer Department take over the village water system. The village owes the county about $150,000 in unpaid water bills. The village has owed the county money for water purchased for the past eight years. Barath asked if a copy of the meeting minutes could be obtained and Lindsay said yes, adding a transcript fee would have to be paid.
In other business:
Pflug said new playground equipment had been obtained and plans call for a play area covered with a shredded rubber tire flooring to make to it safer for children playing.
Council members noted the Apple Festival is planned Sept. 21-23. The fire department is in charge of the parade, and police will have Main Street blocked off for the event.
Shelia Lee asked how a citizen could become involved in the festival and was told by Freeland that a sign-up sheet would be at the committee tent and those interested could sign up for 2013.