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Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio

Local Government

Municipal Court: Centerburg man sentenced for Domestic Violence

MOUNT VERNON – David S. Messer, 38 of Centerburg, changed his pleas before Judge John Thatcher in the Municipal Court on February 27, 2017 and was found guilty of domestic violence and violating a temporary protection order. The Court sentenced Messer to serve 180 days in jail with 106 days suspended, placed him on two years probation, and ordered him to complete the Mount Vernon Municipal Court’s Hands Down Program.

Other cases:

Jeffrey T. Fisher, 32 of Mount Vernon, changed his pleas and the court found him guilty of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, persisting. The Court sentenced Fisher to two years probation, ordered him to complete a drug and alcohol assessment within 60 days and comply with all recommendations, and ordered he complete the Mount Vernon
Municipal Court’s Hands Down Program.

Ashley N. Ashbrook, 23 of Gambier, changed her plea and the Court found her guilty of driving under a financial responsibility suspension. The Court sentenced Ashbrook to pay a fine of $200 plus court costs.
Brandy J. Butcher, 39 of Mount Vernon, changed her pleas and the Court found her guilty of three charges of petty theft and two charges of criminal trespass. The Court sentenced Butcher to serve 75 days in jail for the petty theft charges, concurrent with 30 days in jail for the criminal trespass charges.

Richard C. Jackson, 38 of Mount Vernon, changed his plea and the Court found him guilty of driving under a financial responsibility suspension. The Court sentenced Jackson to pay a fine of $200 plus court costs.

Shelby S. Price, 37 of Killbuck, OH, changed her plea and the Court found her guilty of having an obstructed view while driving. The Court sentenced Price to pay a fine of $75 plus court costs.

Scott A. Llewellyn, 25 of Mount Vernon, changed his plea and the Court found him guilty of resisting arrest. The Court sentenced Llewellyn to serve 20 days in jail.

Joshua Z. Senter, 27 of Mount Vernon, changed his plea and the Court found him guilty of assault. The Court sentenced Senter to serve 180 days in jail.

Jared A. Nethers, 34 of Mount Vernon, changed his plea and the Court found him guilty of disorderly conduct, persisting. The Court sentenced Nethers to serve 30 days in jail, placed him on two years probation, ordered him to complete a drug and alcohol assessment within 60 days and comply with all recommendations, and ordered he complete the Mount Vernon Municipal Court’s Hands Down Program.

Joshua E. Wheeler, 36 of Centerburg, changed his plea and the Court found him guilty of disorderly conduct, persisting and violating his terms of probation. The Court sentenced Wheeler to serve 30 days in jail.

Diquan L. Taylor, 21 of Mount Vernon, changed his plea and the Court found him guilty of driving without assured clear distance ahead. The Court sentenced Taylor to pay a fine of $50 plus court costs.

Chealsie M. Loew, 24 of Mount Vernon, failed to appear for her scheduled hearing. The Court issued a warrant for her arrest with county and adjoining county radius and set bond in the amount of $750 cash or surety without the application of the 10% provision.

Steven M. Thompson, 24 of Mount Vernon, failed to appear for his scheduled hearing. The Court issued a warrant for his arrest with county and adjoining county radius and set bond in the amount of $250 cash or surety without the application of the 10%
provision.

Assistant Knox County Public Defender John Dankovich represented the defendants in the above cases.

Nicholas J. Reese, 35 of Mount Vernon, changed his plea and the Court found him guilty of possession of marijuana drug paraphernalia. The Court sentenced Reese to pay a fine of $150 plus court costs.

Randy S. Talbott, 43 of Mount Vernon, changed his plea and the Court found him guilty of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drug of abuse. The Court sentenced Talbot to pay a fine of $500 plus court costs, serve 180 days in jail with 174 days suspended, placed him on two years community control, and ordered he attend a 72 hour Driver Intervention Program.

Caleb L. Pratt, 24 of Centerburg, changed his plea and the Court found him guilty of menacing. The Court sentenced Pratt to pay a fine of $250 plus court costs, placed him on three years community control, ordered him to complete a drug and alcohol
assessment within 60 days and comply with all recommendations, and complete the
Mount Vernon Municipal Court Hands Down Program.

Nicholas A. Scott, 36 of Mount Vernon, changed his plea and the Court found him guilty of reckless operation. The Court sentenced Scott to pay a fine of $150 plus court costs.

Jose L. Quinones, 32 of West Palm Beach, FL, failed to appear for his scheduled hearing. The Court issued him a warrant with county and adjoining county radius with bond setin the amount of $1,000 cash or surety without the application of the 10% provision.

Morgan Giles represented Reese and Talbott. Christian Roland represented Pratt. James Giles represented Scott.

Assistant Director of Law Brittany Whitney represented the State of Ohio and the City of Mount Vernon in these cases.

 

MV Council begins consideration of wastewater rate hike

By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter

MOUNT VERNON — Amid warnings that more rate hikes are coming, council members gave a first reading on Monday to legislation raising the wastewater rates by $1.45 per cubic foot. Combined with a $1.26 per cubic foot increase in water rates, city residents will now pay a minimum of $43.36 a month for water and wastewater services.

“We can guarantee you there will be future considerations,” Auditor Terry Scott told council.

Speaking at a Utilities Committee meeting prior to council's legislative session, Utilities Director Mathias Orndorf cited several issues the utility faces:

*Increasing costs
*Level revenue stream
*Phosphorus abatement required by the EPA
*An overtaxed sludge system
*An aging system built in 1992 in great need of serious work
*11 lift stations ranging in age from 10-20 years to 50 years for which the city has been replacing pumps and motors

Additionally, the 2 million gallon underground reservoir on New Gambier Road needs repaired. Built in 1963, Orndorf said that nothing has been done on it since it was built; city officials first recognized the need for repair in 2004.

Due to the city's financial predicament, Orndorf pushed the reservoir repair back to 2018. In response to Councilwoman Nancy Vail's question about the risks of waiting, Orndorf said it will cost more every year repairs are delayed and that more things will break down. The current price tag to repair the reservoir is a minimum of $600,000.

Regarding the rate hike, Vail said she feels people in the community are understanding and want to protect their quality of life. Money from the water and wastewater rates is restricted to those respective accounts; it cannot be used for other city projects. State law requires water and wastewater utilities to be self-sustaining.

Three found guilty in Municipal Court Feb. 22

MOUNT VERNON - Judge John Thatcher found three people guilty after trials to the Court and one other hearing held in the Mount Vernon Municipal Court on February 22, 2017.

Jasmine S. Cosner, 25 of Mount Vernon, was found guilty of petty theft after a trial to the Court. Kroger Loss Prevention Associate Jeffrey Shanyfelt and Patrolman JasonPayne of the Mount Vernon Police Department testified for the prosecution. The Court sentenced Cosner to pay a fine of $200 plus court costs, serve 180 days in jail with 179 days suspended, was placed on two years of probation, and attend and complete a social responsibility class.

Michael D. Hawkins, 22 of Danville, was found guilty of speeding, 70 mph in a 55 mph zone, after a trial to the Court. After hearing testimony from Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Daniel Trautman, Jr., the Court sentenced Hawkins to pay a fine of $35 plus court costs.

Curtis L. Kidd, 37 of Utica, changed his plea and the Court found him guilty of driving under an administrative license suspension. The Court sentenced Kidd to pay a fine of $250 plus court costs and to serve five days in jail.

City of Mount Vernon releases list of projects to be dropped in 2017

MOUNT VERNON - The city of Mount Vernon has released a list of projects to be delayed or dropped due to financial concerns in 2017.

City Projects to be Delayed or Dropped

  • N. Sandusky St., Belmont and Tilden Avenue Improvement Project
    (Design delay)
  • City Clean-Up Weeks and First Saturdays.
  • Bike Sidewalk between the end of the trail at the storage building to South Main Street.
  • Three (3) vacancies in water-wastewater and one (1) vacancy in Street Department will remain unfilled.
  • The employment of three (3) firefighter/paramedics will be delayed.
  • The hiring freeze for fulltime personnel will be continued.
  • The Elmwood Fire Station will be closed. Timing for closure will be at the discretion of the Fire Chief. A cost assessment of repairs and upgrades needed at the station will be completed.
  • Blackberry Alley delayed.
  • Front steps of City Hall.
  • Repair or replacement of two million gallon water storage tank on New Gambier Road.
  • In addition to the above, the city has already cut approximately $1.6 million out of the budget during the budgeting process.

Below is a list of City Projects that will be funded for 2017

*City Street Paving
*Mount Vernon Avenue Bridge (Design & Engineering)
*Parrott Street – South Main Street (Intersection Design)
*Coshocton Avenue/Verndale/Kroger intersection
 (Design & Construction)
*Pleasant Street Water and Brick Street Project
(Construction – Mulberry to Gay)
*Pleasant Street Water (Center Run to Coshocton)
*Bike Trail Under Pass (Design)
*Chestnut – N. Main Street Intersection Improvement
 (Design & Construction)
*Downtown Traffic Study
*State Route 586 and State Route 229 (Mulberry to Center Run)
*City Share 20% + Cross walks and ramps 100%
*West High Street – Sandusky Street Intersection Improvement
*Ariel-Foundation Park Safety Fence

Council adopts legislation for bike trail path and Sandusky Street work

By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter

MOUNT VERNON — On Monday night, City Council members adopted two pieces of legislation authorizing the city's safety-service director to contract for engineering services on city projects.

The city will contract with EMH&T for services relating to the bike trail path under the South Main Street viaduct. Joel Daniels, safety-service director, will advertise for bids and then award a contract for services for a downtown traffic study.
In a committee meeting prior to the legislative session, City Engineer Brian Ball told council that the Ohio Department of Transportation accepted the bike trail as a priority project for FY2019. ODOT will pay 95 percent of the $1 million construction cost; the city will pay the remaining 5 percent plus the environmental design costs.

“The heavy part of the work will be on the environmental side,” said Ball. Environmental work includes building a wall section in the river to stabilize the trail. Bundled into EMH&T's contract is environmental work involved with the Center Run waterline project and the Coshocton Road/Vernedale/Kroger intersection project.

ODOT will award the bike path contract in late July 2018. Ball said that EMH&T will get underway with design services in March; the city, with help from ODOT, will do the environmental work this summer.

The downtown traffic study council authorized is expected to cost $100,000. Ball said the last relevant traffic study, done in 2004, is no longer valid. The new study will look at how traffic flows into the downtown area, volume, traffic light patterns, routes 3 and 36 and rerouting Ohio 13 onto Sandusky Street.

In response to Councilwoman Nancy Vail's concern about spending money on the projects when the city is facing a budget crunch, Ball said that both projects will improve safety, traffic flow and efficiency. Referring to the bike trail, he said that if the city turns down an ODOT project that has already been accepted, the city could be put at the bottom of the list for future projects and may also face decreased funding.

Regarding the traffic study, he said, “We're going to start on the High Street/Sandusky Street intersection in two weeks. Should it be two lanes or four lanes? If we reroute Ohio 13, we don't know if two lanes will work. This study will help us apply for a grant this July; if we don't have a vision prepared, we can't get that money. It does seem like a big number, but the return will be one hundred fold.”

Councilwoman Susan Kahrl said the city should take advantage of the state grant money since the state has cut back on other city revenue. “This is not just a decision made yesterday for this project; it's been wanted for a long time,” said Councilman John Francis. Auditor Terry Scott pointed out that money for the engineering services is included in the 2017 budget.

Council suspended the required three readings on both pieces of legislation; Vail voted no to suspending the rules on the traffic study piece. Both resolutions passed unanimously. When it came time to vote, Vail said, “I came feeling I would object, but after hearing Mr. Ball and the ramifications, I will support [the legislation] with some reluctance. We need to take care of the funds we have.”

Council also waived three readings and adopted other legislation:

*Authorizing Scott to transfer funds, pay bills and make supplemental appropriations. Supplemental appropriations include $8,520.73 from an Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation grant for safety equipment for the water department, $5,703.66 from the Baldwin Shrine Club for a child training mannequin for the fire department and $10,308 taken from the police and fire pension funds due to an calculation error.
*Appointing Tom Mickley to the Shade Tree and Beautification Commission and Mike Whitaker to the the Solid Waste Haulers Board of Appeals
*An updated ordinance setting the salary of the safety-service director due to some wording being omitted from the ordinance previously adopted
*Setting the compensation of the probation officers, MERIT Drug Court coordinator and court clerks for the Mount Vernon Municipal Court
*Maintaining the compensation of the city council president and council members at $8,378 for 2018 and 2019 and the city treasurer at $8,888 for 2018-21

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