Walbridge: Mayor says court functioned well in 2020

Larry Limpf

In its first year of operation after five years of being idled, Walbridge Mayor’s Court functioned well, Mayor Ed Kolanko said last week, looking back on 2020.
“I would say it was a good decision to reinstate it,” the mayor said. “The pandemic changed how many things were done. It was a challenging year but I would say it was a success. It operated at breakeven point, which was the idea, not to be a money maker. It was reinstated to be a service to the community, which it was.”
Village officials opted to eliminate the mayor’s court in 2015 and cases normally heard there were handled in Perrysburg Municipal Court. At the time, the village clerk of courts was retiring and it made financial sense, the mayor said, to have cases heard in municipal court.
In 2020, cases were heard by a magistrate, Drew Griffith, and Cory Speweik, who filled in when needed as magistrate.
“He did a phenomenal job running the court. We’re very pleased by that. (Police) Chief Kenneth Campbell is also pleased with how the magistrate ran everything,” the mayor said.
Mayor’s courts hear cases involving local ordinances and state traffic laws.
As of last week, case statistics for 2020 in Walbridge were still being compiled, Rose Chambers, clerk of courts, said.
Village council also approved funding for a part-time property maintenance/zoning officer position in the 2020 budget and citations issued were heard in mayor’s court.
Violations involving trash, overgrown lawns and weeds, inoperable vehicles, vehicles parked on lawns, discarded construction materials and others were addressed by the officer.
“We’re trying to work with the residents to make sure their properties are in line with the zoning code,” the mayor said.
From July 6 to Dec. 28 2020 only three violations resulted in police citations and 63 were settled with property owners complying before receiving a citation.
“We did see some properties with repetitive problems but the majority of our community does a good job of complying and respecting the code,” the mayor said. “We’re hopeful the people have an understanding of our expectations and we see a decline in those numbers in 2021. We definitely try to give them the opportunity and time to resolve the issue.”
The village may also revise its zoning code this year to update sections written in the 1960s and ‘70s, he said.


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