Blanchester council looks at parade permits

By John Hamilton -

BLANCHESTER — Updates on parade permits and the next step for filing village documents were among the items at Thursday’s Blanchester Village Council meeting.

Council agreed to allow certain parades to be exempted from having to pay costs and a deposit.

The ordinance, which passed in August 2017, was made so any group that wanted to hold a parade or something similar “shall obtain a permit to do so from the Mayor of the Village of Blanchester.”

The village’s three big parades — Fourth of July, Homecoming, and Memorial Day — were grandfathered in to where they didn’t need to pay in March 2018.

In September 2019, Councilmember Don Gephart wanted to revoke the ordinance because it wasn’t working for everyone because the exempted groups still needed to pay.

Mayor John Carman told the council that, after discussion with Police Chief Scott Reinbolt, he thought the best way to avoid issues would be to appropriate costs to Reinbolt’s budget for special events.

“If we want to exempt these parades and assemblages, (Reinbolt) seemed OK with that — appropriating the funding so it doesn’t come out of his budget,” said Carman.

Along with the three parades, any parade of the village government would be exempted as well.

Village Solicitor Andrew McCoy explained that, while those groups and events would be exempt from payments, they would still need to fill out a permit.

“The goal was to exempt the costs for any event put on by the village or village department and these three events,” said McCoy. “They’re still going to be required to take out a permit and go through that process of review and evaluation through the corporate heads. But they’re not going to pay any costs.”

The officials expressed no rejection of the idea and wanted to discuss it with Reinbolt before taking further action.

Next step for filing

Carman is looking to purchase a new fireproof file cabinet to protect important documents of the village.

A two-door cabinet, one similar to what they have now, would cost around $3,000, according to Carman. Fiscal Officer Jewelie Casteel looked through Uline, with which the village has an account, and a four-door cabinet has a price of $2,995, with shipping being $192.53, bringing the total to $3,187.53.

Carman urged council that the new cabinet should be purchased soon because, as of now, they don’t have a place to put the latest important documents. The council approved a motion to purchase a new one without exceeding $3,200.

Councilmembers Harry Brumbaugh and Don Gephart asked about having the physical files be uploaded to computer files. Councilmember Reilly Hopkins said village officials had been “slowly but surely” doing that.

Casteel mentioned that it’s not hard work, but they are facing obstacles.

“The problem is manpower,” said Casteel. “It takes a lot of time.”

Carman mentioned that having them in a digital file would make it easier for citizens to obtain items when making a public records request.

McCoy advised that the county keeps a lot of their documents in cloud storage — a computing model where data is stored on remote servers accessed from the internet — but they will also either have a hard copy or on microfilm.

“Technology changes all the time. You never know what’s going to happen, but you’ll always have microfilm,” said McCoy.

He added the county has a records department that handles converting files rather than outsourcing it.

Carman advised he would look into it further.

By John Hamilton

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574