HICKSVILLE — On Monday, the Hicksville Village Council reversed a decision it had made some seven years ago, thereby making Rock Street open to two-way traffic throughout its length.
While Rock was never officially a one-way street, signs were posted there around 2011 prohibiting left or right turns onto High Street following an earlier traffic accident. Travelers on High Street could still enter Rock Street, but council had deemed the entrance from Rock to High to be risky due to visual obstructions.
Incoming Police Chief Mark Denning addressed council on Monday and expressed the belief that Rock should be officially designated as a one-way street, prohibiting exits from Rock onto High Street. Denning later admitted to assuming a large amount of accidents had occurred there, but council informed him this was not so.
Councilman Michael Barth and others present had noted similar visual obstructions on other streets with no additional signs added on.
Following a lengthy discussion, a motion to remove the signs on Rock Street was met with a split decision. Mayor Diane Collins broke the tie, siding with members Shelia Baker, Eric Bassett and Larry Ridgway in favor of removing the signs. Barth, Ron Beverly and Ron Jones voted against the motion, preferring to keep the sign situation as it was.
Council also discussed the new illuminated “Welcome to Hicksville” sign recently erected on the west end of town near the FWT industry. While council spoke in favor of keeping the sign, a long discussion ensued about installation of an electric meter there. Placement of a meter was met with disfavor by developer Justin Kuhn, who was heavily involved in bringing the new sign to town and who considered a meter for the sign unnecessary, as well as a potential eyesore if installed above ground.
At the time of the sign’s approval, Kuhn said American Electric Power would deal directly with the town in all sign-related matters, causing council to wonder if the village would take over responsibility of it, including paying the electric bill. Kuhn also reported difficulty in dealing with AEP.
Solar power was considered for the sign, but Kuhn believed a solar cell sufficient for long-term illumination would cost a large amount of money and that store-bought ones would prove ineffectual.
Also, village administrator Kent Miller had concerns about responsibility of insurance for the sign. Miller is to meet with AEP officials today to discuss the matter further.
Council also held the first reading of an ordinance approving 2019 appropriations. The reading was preceded by an appearance from Lisa Weaner of the Fort Defiance Humane Society, who had asked council about the possibility of funding for the society’s animal shelter.
As of last January, the shelter has once again accepted cats. Hicksville veterinarian Karen Pedden is involved with a successful cat spaying and neutering program at the shelter, which accepts around 150 cats a year. Weaner estimated 17 percent of cats arriving at the shelter come from Hicksville or from out-of-town areas with local addresses.
Weaner added that shelter officials have spoken to the Defiance City Council and the Defiance County commissioners about providing funds for the animal shelter’s spay/neuter program.
While council approved the first reading of the appropriations ordinance, Ridgway said he preferred raising awareness in Hicksville about fundraising rather than devoting village funds to the matter. Collins expressed doubts that the commissioners would support such a program.
“What if no one else pays and then they stop (receiving) cats again?” Bassett asked.
The public was invited to provide input on the matter. The appropriations ordinance will likely be passed at the next regular council meeting of Dec. 17.
In other business, council:
• passed an ordinance increasing the amount of money loaned to the Hicksville Brewing Co. Previously council had approved a revolving loan fund to HBC for $130,000; the money has since been increased to $150,000.
• held the first reading of an ordinance establishing pay ranges for village employees.
• heard from Jennifer Casertano of Defiance County Health Department. Casertano discussed recently-released data, taken every three years, assessing health among adults, youth and children in the county. Among its findings, the health department revealed an increase in smoking, drinking and obesity among county adults and physical, mental and emotional difficulties in both adults and youth. There is also a decrease in use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs among youth. The entire report can be found on the DCHD website.
• heard EMS classes will start Jan. 7 at the Williams County EMS office on Mondays and Thursdays from 8 a.m.-noon.
• noted the cutoff date for local Christmas for Kids applications will be Dec. 7, with pickup of items from 6-8 p.m. Dec. 17.
• was reminded of the annual Christmas parade on Dec. 8.
• was informed of another rate hike from Mediacom, which provides cable TV service to Hicksville.
• was told the Crippled Children and Adults Society welcomes donations of wheelchairs, bath chairs and other items. Donations can be made by writing them at P.O. Box 154, Hicksville.