- 1 of 2 Photos | View More Photos
MILLERSBURG -- Residents along Knox Township Road 222 voiced their displeasure to the Holmes County Health District Board with the trash build-up on the Gallion property at 4565 Township Road 222 in Big Prairie.
"We have had numerous complaints about the property on Township Road 222, of garbage, tires, old trailers, mattresses, equipment like refrigerators and driers," Patra Giroux said. "This has been going on for a year with promises every month that somebody's going to do something about it. Nobody does. We come back in, we come back in and we come back in and there has never been any results, so we're here today."
Neighbors across the road said the trash has led to several problems.
"Last year, I killed snakes and mice, and to have old tires stacked up like that for no reason is a health hazard," Giroux said. "It is right on the road, and we're not getting any results. My mom called a Holmes County commissioner and he makes a joke out of it, telling her one man's trash is another man's treasure. She's 85 years old, and to be treated like that is disrespectful, and I'm certainly not happy about it."
Another neighbor asked about the process.
"What is the process for resolving that type of issue," Danielle Giroux said. "I've read this regulation from your website that we need to file a nuisance complaint form and then he would be visited and receive a notice and, if he didn't do anything, someone would go back out within 15 days of that hearing. Then you guys would put a lien on the land, or address it in the taxes and have it cleaned."
"Typically once it goes through, it goes to citation hearing," said Health Commissioner Michael Derr. "We had that citation hearing, and got it wrapped up with our prosecuting attorney to start doing the resolution of the property.
"It's, unfortunately, a lengthy process to get through, but we're insuring that we're doing it correct, by the law. That's where we're at in the process. It is up to our prosecuting attorney."
Derr added that he can't provide a timeline on the situation.
"We're hoping to get something resolved here in the next couple of months," Derr said.
Board President Kurt Rodhe said that typically, they try to avoid legal means.
"Sometimes it gets dragged out a little longer because we try to, through our own staff and orders, to address those without having to resort to legal means," Rodhe said. "That's always our last resort, and that's basically where we're at right now. When we resort to the prosecuting attorney, they either file or tell us we can act."
Derr added the prosecuting attorney is looking out to make sure there is no recourse that can come back to the health department.
"Last year, they told me it would be taken care of by Labor Day," Patra Giroux said. "I've been coming in here for a year and told it would be taken care of by Labor Day. Here it is six, nine months later, nothing.
"We all like the guy. It's a shame it's come to this," she added.
There is an old, abandoned trailer on the property that could have all sorts of things living in it.
"Would you want this across from your place? It's terrible," said another neighbor, James Ritchey. "It shouldn't be that way. Even if they've got to make some kind of ordinance that stops people from doing this."
"It blows my mind that I can go down the road and throw a wrapper out the window and get fined $250, but I can see them throw all sorts of garbage, right there on the road," Patra Giroux added.
Rodhe assured the visitors that the board would have the health commissioner speak with the prosecuting attorney.
"We don't like it any more than you, but we are bound that we just can't march in without following proper legal procedure," Rodhe said.
"We're at that final stage."
Reporter Kevin Lynch can be reached at 330-674-5676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.