Village needs right person to operate Durapatcher

LISBON – The village street department came under further criticism at last week’s council meeting.

Center Township resident Bill Catlett, who owns property in town, said he was stunned to read council was asked to consider placing a street levy on the ballot, which he found ridiculous given how poorly he believes they have spent the money already given them.

He was speaking in particular about the Durapatcher, a machine purchased by the village in 2010 for $62,000, which is supposed to be able to fill potholes any time of year and save money in the process.

“You made the right decision four years ago to purchase the Durapatcher. Where you went wrong is you don’t have the right person to operate it,” he said.

Catlett wanted to know why street Superintendent Jim Oliver had yet to take Center Township up on its offer from last month to show them how to properly operate the Durapatcher. The township has one of its own, and he said the the township employee who operates the Durapatcher knows what he is doing.

“If I spent $70,000 on a machine … and my guy can’t run it, I’d find another guy,” said Catlett. “You guys are looking like fools.”

He also questioned the wisdom of grinding out sections of potholed streets, thereby making them too large to be filled in by the Durapatcher. Catlett said they would have been better off just filling in the hole the way it was with the Durapatcher.

Oliver said later in the meeting he met with Center Township workers the day before the council meeting.

In other action, council met in executive session with village Solicitor Virginia Barborak to discuss the appeal of disciplinary action apparently taken against a street department employee.

Council also hired Michael Conway of Niles and Michael Cherol of Boardman as part-time police officers. Police Chief Mike Abraham said they are replacing other part-time officers who recently quit.