By Grace Wyler
The Poland Village Council has encountered a major problem in its ongoing attempt to build a sidewalk through the village along Route 224, council members said at their regular meeting Tuesday.
The council has received a grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation to construct the sidewalk, which is estimated to cost around $73,000. The village will match 20 percent of the grant funds.
In order to begin the project, however, the council must receive permission from two property owners to construct the sidewalk on their land.
One landowner has agreed to donate the land to the village in exchange for a tax credit, but the other owner has asked the village to buy the land. The village cannot afford to buy the land, according to Mayor Timothy Sicafuse.
“The property is going to cost more than the project,” Joe Mazur, president of the council, said. “We shouldn’t have gone ahead without having the property.”
The council voted to authorize the mayor to offer the landowner a tax credit equal to the value of the land, as determined by an appraisal. The village was required by ODOT to get an appraisal of the land as a condition of the grant.
In the event that the property owner does not agree to donate the land, the council will have to revisit the project, Sicafuse said.
Some council members, including Mazur, noted that it might be worthwhile for the village to consider foregoing the ODOT grant and build the sidewalk at the village’s expense. This would allow the village to go forward with the project unhindered by the grant requirements, Sicafuse said.
The village has already put substantial funds toward the grant project, council member David Raspanti said.
“I will say that if this doesn’t go through, we are spending a lot of money on projects that don’t come to fruition,” Limmer said. “It’s a lot of money...for a stack of paper.”
In other business, the council approved the 2010 budget for Poland Village.
Council member Robert Limmer, the chair of the Finance Committee, congratulated the committee on putting together the budget, particularly in light of decreasing revenue.
The committee will revisit the budget periodically this year to see if there is any way to cut the village’s expenditures, Limmer said.
The council also established a new storm water utility program and approved the fees associated with the program.