COLUMBUS GROVE — The Columbus Grove Police Department stopped two men from knocking on doors Wednesday after receiving complaints.
“Apparently, a couple individuals were going door to door and telling people they would have a $500 fine if they were not under contract today to have their sewer hooked up,” said Columbus Grove Mayor Ken Wright. “They were two people that were private contractors and scared some people.”
The two individuals, Albert Morales, of Columbus Grove, and Rick Martin, of Fort Jennings, were later identified by the police department and asked to stop. Wright said they were operating without a permit to solicit.
Columbus Grove currently is in the third phase of a project to separate sewer and storm water lines. A letter was sent out to residents asking them to be hooked up by Sept. 1 or be under contract with someone to do the work.
The Columbus Grove Police Department issued this statement Thursday:
“Village Residents: If you have been approached and advised that you need to have your sewer hookup completed within the next few days, or you’ll be fined, please contact the Columbus Grove Police Department. You can call Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch at 419-523-3208 and ask to speak with a Columbus Grove officer. There were allegedly two individuals soliciting to hookup sewers for residences and allegedly added that it needed to be completed within a couple days. This Is false. If you have any questions about the sewer hookup deadlines or need suggested contractors, contact the City building Monday - Friday at 419-659-2365 and they will assist.”
“The city is monitoring who is hooked up and who is under contract,” said Police Chief Nick Gilgenbach. “There were a couple people trying to stiff-arm people to get a contract signed.”
Gilgenbach said the village council has yet to set a date when residents would actually be fined. After a date is determined by the council and residents are still not in compliance, the fine would then be assessed.
“But that is down the road,” Gilgenbach said. “If someone is able to solicit work in the village, they will have pieces of paper stamped by the village.”
Wright said the village did not want the message to get out that the village was trying to collect money.
“We are not trying to fine people,” Wright said.
Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or at [email protected]