SHERMAN - The village of Sherman would like a few of its residents to clean up.
At the May 7 regular council meeting, board members engaged in a lively debate about the best way to get certain property owners to clean up the junk scattered throughout their yards.
The village has recently asked two residents to remove large trash items, such as old toys, washing machines and appliances from their property. One owner has complied, but the other has done nothing.
The Sherman zoning code does not contain a stipulation requiring property owners to keep their yards free of debris, unless the debris can be considered dangerous or would attract rodents. This allows for an ongoing source of frustration for board members and neighbors.
"I've lived in this village for 74 years, and it's just deteriorating and deteriorating and it seems there is nothing we can do about it," said Donna Reyda, councilwoman.
Sherman Mayor John Patterson said the problem lies in the code. When he was elected mayor, the village had spent thousands of dollars on developing a zoning code, he said.
"In my opinion that was money wasted," he said. "When you start going to a person and telling them what they can do on their personal property, you are in for a battle. If you win, you have to go to every home in the village and do the same thing."
Patterson and Jim Weise, councilman, said they would go to visit some of the residences personally to ask owners to clean up the junk.
In other business, village clerk Ann Gilbert reported that the village has been approved for two grants and a low-interest loan from the USDA that can be used to purchase a new snow-plow truck and a new loader.
The village stands to receive a $10,000 grant to help purchase the plow truck and $20,000 for the loader, Gilbert said. In addition, it is pre-approved for a low-interest loan of up to $100,000. The interest for this loan would not exceed 4.5 percent, she said.
Patterson asked if the village could receive the grants, but "shop around" for a better interest on the loan.
"I believe we can beat 4.25 percent," he said.
The council approved a motion to lock in the application but to also explore other loan possibilities. A public hearing for the purchases was set for the first Wednesday in June.
The "Shave The Mayor" campaign is continuing well, Patterson said. Donations included $200 from an unusual source, however.
Not long ago, a dwelling on Park Street was abandoned by people who left everything, including many animals, Patterson said. The interior of the dwelling was completely ruined and there was animal excrement and urine everywhere.
The bank that owned the property hired a contractor to gut the dwelling, who hired a subcontractor to haul away refuse from the house, Patterson said. This sub-contractor was supposed to provide a dumpster and photographs proving that material had been dumped.
On large-trash cleanup day, the sub-contractor was caught trying to put the material curbside, Patterson said. He then donated $200 to the "Shave The Mayor" campaign if the village would haul the material away.
Later, the village got a call from the original contractor who said that the sub-contractor had been paid $3,800 to haul the material away. As an apology to the village, he also promised to donate to the campaign, Patterson said.
"We don't have that donation yet, but at least we have the $200," Patterson said. "I believe that sub-contractor is going to be in a lot of trouble, though."
Sherman Superintendent of Streets and Water Doug Crane said that flushing of the water lines began May 10. The affair has been publicized for some time, he said.
The board gave permission to Sherman Wastewater and Sewer Plant Manager Jay Irwin to allow Advanced Septic to deposit sludge at the plant, provided the plant can process the amount delivered at that time, he said.
"I told them we can't handle a lot," Irwin said. "We are looking at a couple hundred dollars every time they come and it won't cost us anything extra to process it.