Joshua Morrison/News The former Mount Vernon Middle School building on North Mulberry Street will have its property tax foreclosure case heard by the Board of Revision on March 13.

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MOUNT VERNON — The future of the old Mount Vernon Middle School is not clear.

Mayor Richard Mavis said he, Law Director Rob Broeren and Property Maintenance Code Enforcement Officer Greg Bemiller met with Joel Mazza and a development attorney, Don Plank, about the building.

The building is currently scheduled to be the subject of a Board of Property Maintenance Appeals meeting at the end of February, but it has also been scheduled to be the subject of a Board of Revision tax foreclosure hearing on March 13.

Mazza is seeking to buy the building from its current owners, who owe more than $22,000 in back taxes and assessments. If the Board of Revision finds it “abandoned and delinquent,” it could be handed over to the Knox County Land Bank.

The mayor said Mazza is aware of the Board of Revision situation and is still pursuing a possible acquisition.

Water theft

In an unusual situation, the city Law Director’s Office is looking into possible charges in two cases where water service had been shut off for non-payment of bills but the residents had turned the water back on, and, in at least one case, damaged the water meter so it would not record water use.

Law Director Rob Broeren said possible charges could include theft of water and criminal damaging to electronic water use monitors known as MXUs, meters and pipes, or tampering with city property.

Broeren said that in 10 years associated with the Law Director’s office, these are only the second and third cases of water theft he has seen.

Utilities Director Mathias Orndorf said the process of installing the MXUs and meters is about 70 percent complete (1,600 were installed last year) and installation of antennas and other communications hardware will begin this spring. He expects the new system that will allow instant water use reporting, to be ready to implement by the end of the year.

Orndorf also issued a warning that they have found a couple cases of cars parked over water meters and if they have to, they will tow cars that are preventing access to meters.

Orndorf said the work on Ames Street this week was to repair a leaking valve that had apparently been damaged in the recent Parrott Street project. When they excavated the valve, the crew discovered the pipe and valves were bent and they had to have parts shipped from Columbus. Then, almost as soon as they reburied the valve, the line broke and they had to dig it back up and install a collar on the break. That resulted in a boil advisory, which was to end Friday evening if tests were positive.

Orndorf reported two water line breaks this week, one on Saturday in a six-inch line on Taylor Road and one later in the week on a 1.5-inch line.

Parks and Buildings

Superintendent Dave Carpenter said two sections of the fence around the Civil War Monument on Public Square will have to be replaced after being struck by a car Monday night and will cost about $4,800, plus installation costs. A claim has been filed with the driver’s insurance company.

Carpenter said that when ordered, the fence will take about two to four weeks to be delivered and then will be installed by city employees.

Carpenter said heating problems cropped up at The Station Break and the main fire station during the recent cold snap, but they have been repaired.

The bid opening for the water park addition to the pump room and replacement of the heaters will take place Feb. 28. The project is scheduled for completion by May 1.

Other projects

The bid opening for the Kirk Street Water Improvements Project, estimated at $224,000, will also take place Feb. 28 and the bid opening for the Beech Street Sidewalk Improvements will take place March 7. The engineer’s estimate is $150,000.


Chuck Martin: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @




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