Owners of vacant commercial and industrial property in London may soon feel a pinch in their pocketbooks, pending future action by city council.
On Thursday, council member Henry Comer introduced a resolution requiring owners of vacant business buildings to register those addresses with the zoning department and pay a fee. Initial registration fee proposed is $400, subject to a 50 percent increase if it goes unpaid.
If the property remains vacant for a year or more, fees increase. Annual renewals are $800 for the first year; $1,600 for the second and $6,400 for the fourth.
“It will help to clean up the city a bit,” Comer said.
Council member Rex Castle said fees will pay code enforcement officers charged with inspecting those vacant business properties.
Council president Joe Russell noted the measure focuses on downtown London where long-vacant properties have been an ongoing problem.
He asked that the proposed resolution be referred to the city’s safety committee for further consideration before council takes any action.
Also on Thursday, council amended a city ordinance that required a one-year waiting period for any former city employee to be appointed to boards or commissions. Approval paved the way for the group to make two new appointments to the board of public utilities.
Steve Scaggs was appointed to a term that begins on Oct. 21 and runs to Dec. 31, 2023. Marcus Vest was appointed to serve on the board from Oct. 21 to Dec. 31, 2021.
In other action, council authorized Safety-Services Director Joe Mosier to advertise the sale of the city administrative office building at 6 E. Second St. Ads will run for five weeks while the city accepts bids on the soon-to-be-vacant property.
Those offices, along with offices at 102 S. Main St., will soon move to the former London Primary School at the corner of Walnut and High Streets. The police and fire departments will remain in their current locations.
Mayor Pat Closser announced that Staples donated 250 boxes and 72 rolls of packing tape for the upcoming move.
Closser also said trick or treat in the city is set for 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 31. He noted the outdoor volleyball court on Park Avenue is almost complete, as is the street department’s move to the former Ohio Department of Transportation garage on U.S. 42.
Youth basketball sign-ups are set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 20 at the Community Center. Sign-up sheets are also available on the parks and recreation department’s Facebook page, Closser said.
In other routine meeting business on Thursday, council:
* Approved a resolution moving $500 in donations to the police department’s fund.
* Approved the transfer of $47,400 that was earmarked for various parks and recreation purposes to a fund for the purchase of mowers and other vehicles for that department.