AFTON — Afton Board of Trustees addressed the town's recent break-ins and cautioned residents that it could easily happen again.
Mayor Bill Harrison discussed the September burglaries during the town's monthly board meeting on Monday.
“We had some break-ins last month,” Harrison said. “Two on the 16th of September and two on the 22nd. The report said they stole pom poms. This sounds more like someone was messing around and stealing. The more serious one, someone kicked in a back door. I’m not sure if anyone was living in those places. They did steal tools from a parked truck.”
Harrison said burglaries and break-ins are not only happening in Afton but in Miami, as well.
“The point I’d like to make is it’s not just us,” Harrison said. “There were three burglaries in Miami in a three-day period with people in the house. This is pretty dangerous, in a lot of aspects.”
The town currently does not have its own police department and relies on assistance from the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office. Harrison said there is an officer on duty in the town at least once a day, but it might not be enough.
With the upcoming election for a new sheriff, the town has to wait until they can address the situation any further.
“The other point I would like to make is until after November, we really can’t pursue anything because we don’t know who the sheriff is going to be,” Harrison said. “If we can just hang on for another couple of weeks, then we can talk to whoever the sheriff will be.”
According to Harrison, the town has experienced disagreements with previous sheriffs for in the past.
“We’ve had disagreements with five sheriffs,” Harrison said. “We do have Holli Goforth, who is our code enforcer, and she has three deputies who are covering at least one shift a day. When they get a call, the rest of the county officers respond, as well.”
The board discussed the purchase of a ground penetrating device in order to successfully locate occupied grave sites at Mount Hope Cemetery.
“Over the years, especially in the older parts of the cemetery, a lot of graves don’t have any stone,” Harrison said. “All of the records burned in 1930 or 1935, so everyone who was buried there before that time, there is no record whatsoever. Since that time, two ladies went throughout the cemetery and mapped every stone.
“One of the problems is, we know where the stone is but we don’t know which side of the stone they’re buried on,” he added. “As the cemetery gets more crowded, it becomes more of an issue, especially in the older part.”
Harrison said the board is trying to figure out a way to identify a burial in a particular lot. The device would be able to locate occupied graves and would also assist with Afton Public Works Authority projects.
“These new locators, Bernice has one, and we’re going to take it down to the cemetery and see if it can find what we’re talking about,” Harrison said. “In the same token, we need it on the Public Works side for all of the gas and water lines. When they put in the water lines, they put in plastic lines and no locator lines.”
As a motion, Harrison suggested the board split the cost of the ground penetrating device equally from the Public Works Account and the General Fund Account. The board approved the motion unanimously.
The board approved zoning the closed Church of Christ building on 3rd St. from commercial to a multi-family residence. One of the potential buyers is interested in turning it into a duplex.
Afton resident Linda Speer gave a presentation on a water leak at her house. The board agreed to give her a six-month extension with no interest charge to pay for the bill.
The Town of Afton Board of Trustees will meet at 6 p.m. on Nov. 21 at City Hall for its next regular scheduled meeting.
— Kimberly W. Barker is a staff writer for the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @MiamiNews_hound.