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MILLERSBURG -- An East Jones Street resident expressed his displeasure with the village employees who entered his property without consent to trim trees and clear some brush.
Frank Miller said he was surprised to find sawdust and other remnants in his yard when he came home from work on Jan. 26.
"Some of my trees and bushes had been cut down," Miller said. "I had not received any letter or notification from anybody in the neighborhood; no one knocked on my door. Yet village workers had come onto my private property and were cutting down my trees and some of my bushes. I called (Village Administrator) Nate Troyer to find out if there had been any work order for my property, and he said he had not put out a work order.
"After checking into it, he said there had been some claim in my neighborhood about the trees blocking vision and being able to see down to the highway (state Route 83)," Miller continued. "Nobody ever asked me or told me to trim my trees back. But somebody took it upon themselves to decide they could come down here and trim my trees without my authorization, and I don't appreciate it."
Miller said he's easy to get along with and would have trimmed the trees if someone had asked.
"Like I told you the other day, we did it for two reasons: the vision and also the culvert. We weren't picking on you," Troyer said. "It was in the right of way. Just north of his property is a culvert that crosses Wooster Road. There's about 30 feet of right way."
Miller said he feels they went beyond the right of way.
"I would've appreciated notification that you were coming on my property," Miller said. "That's what I'm getting at. I pay my taxes there like everybody else."
"I agree. We should've notified you before we accessed your property," Troyer said.
Miller was seeking compensation for the trees that were cut down. He said a mulberry bush was hacked up pretty badly and other berry bushes were removed.
"That will have to be council's decision," Troyer said. "In my opinion, they were in the right of way."
Troyer explained to council that the village workers had the chipper out last week working on clearing unsightly areas and clearing sight lines.
The workers couldn't access the culvert from the road, so that is why they used Miller's driveway.
"I agree we should've contacted him before they started, but we do have the right to maintain the storm sewers," Troyer said. "On the compensation part, I don't feel it is necessary. But, again, that's your decision."
Miller said he didn't plant the bushes. They have always been on the property.
"If somebody had asked me, I would have graciously trimmed them back," he said.
Council member Kelly Hoffee suggested Miller get quotes on the prices of the bushes and bring some photos to council's next meeting (Monday, Feb. 13) to help council decide if he should be compensated for the bushes.
In other business, council agreed to enter into a contract with Grasshopper Complete Lawn Care for $11,100 to service and install 32 existing baskets in the village with a grass, sun coleus, trailing begonia, calibrachoa, petchoa and a red ipomea plants by Memorial Day.
The contract includes watering and servicing the the plants throughout the summer. The flowers cost $4,300 and the watering, fertilizing and grooming over the 23 to 25-week period cost is $6,800.
Council members believe it is best to go through professional services such as Grasshopper than to try and maintain the hanging plants with volunteers and village employees who are not trained in plant care.
Reporter Kevin Lynch can be reached at 330-674-5676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.