Withee Village Board puts property transfer on hold


The Withee Village Board held their regular meeting on Monday, March 11. They learned that the Withee Library Board is still looking for a replacement for Nancy Amacher who resigned.
Most of the meeting was taken up by discussion of a property transfer request to transfer property from Andrew T. Fawley Trucking to Straightline Investments LLC. Fawley had purchased the property from the Village in 2021. He was given an extension on time to build late that year. To date all that has been done is a driveway and parking lot, which violates the conditions set forth in the deed. Ray Kilty was requesting that the deed be transferred to Straightline Investments, with no objection from Fawley. Fawley also has delinquent taxes owed on the property. This leaves the Village with three options: extend the time Fawley has to build on the property, deed the land to Kilty with whatever conditions they choose, or pursue legal avenues to get the land back. Kilty said he would like to do something different with the property and needs the deed in his name so he can get a loan. He spoke about putting up an extra large business oriented storage building along with possible retail space. He would start on the north side of the property and work around it clockwise to get something built and some tax dollars generated. Trustee John Frankewicz made a motion which died for lack of a second to postpone the issue and discuss it at a future closed session. Clerk Ellen Niemi said she had checked with the village’s attorney and it can’t be discussed in closed as the village no longer owns the property. Frankewicz then suggested taking the property back as none of the conditions of the deed have been met. Kilty said he already has $60,000 worth of improvements on the property and his only other option would be to file a lien against it. Part of the issue was that Fawley didn’t know about the wetland on the parcel until after the purchase. Trustee Sue Kalepp said she really didn’t want storage units on the property. She wanted to see a business that would make jobs available. Kalepp felt that there could have been more communication with the board. A motion was approved to postpone any action until next month’s meeting to get more information. Village President Everett Lindgren said they would need something from Andrew Fawley saying he was willing to sign over the deed and something from Ray Kilty outlining his plans for the property. Kilty added that he is working on a small manufacturing business going in also. He said he would copy the design of his Owen storage units with two buildings 72’x40’ housing six to seven units each. It would not be a mini storage and units could be adjusted based on the needs of the business using them. Kilty felt he could get the first building up by the end of the year if the transfer happened soon.
The Village will be getting a $500 safety grant from their insurance company. DPW Derek Schad plans to use the grant to buy such things as safety cones and an arrow board. The board approved the grant for this purpose. There is also up to $10,000 in grant funds available in a safety grant through the Clark County Health Department. A number of possible items were discussed including stencils for crosswalks, pedestrian crossing/crosswalk signs, and a speed radar sign. The grant is for materials only, but Clerk Niemi said that labor could come from savings. The projects would need to be completed by the end of September and billed through the county. The board decided to leave it up to DPW Schad what to purchase once he got a couple more estimates for the cost of signs.
Due to the revaluation in Withee scheduled for this year, the Board of Review will be held on August 7 rather than in the spring.
The purchase of a new printer for the Village Clerk’s office was approved. The board agreed to the purchase of a Canon color printer from EO Johnson at a cost of $3,506.48 plus the cost of copies. The printer will be paid for from the contingency fund. The reason for making the purchase now is that the current printer has been discontinued and will no longer be serviced after the end of the year. The current printer will be moved to the village shop once the new printer arrives to be used there until it quits working.