Participants in the Mount Gilead Christmas parade know the date and time they will be marching in the village’s holiday kick-off event, they’re just not exactly sure where yet.

The annual event is scheduled for Dec. 2 at 7 p.m., but the specifics of the parade route are still in the works following Monday’s council meeting.

Morrow County Chamber of Commerce Director Cathy Francis delivered the group’s parade proposal to council members and chiefs of Mount Gilead’s safety services. But MCCC’s tentative route for the upcoming parade was a cause for some concern for several village officials.

In order to deal with parking issues that have been an issue in the past, the chamber suggested beginning the parade at Mount Gilead High School and continuing it through the square before ending at the Morrow County Fairgrounds.

The length of the route presented a number of safety and traffic issues said Mount Gilead Police Chief Brian Zerman.

“My biggest concern is it going that far with that many people,” he said.

Several council members and Mount Gilead Mayor Mike Porter echoed Zerman’s sentiment.

“That is a long way to walk for people who are not used to doing that,” Porter stated.

Additionally, both Zerman and Fire Chief Greg Young believe the number of closed streets the proposed route would require would cause traffic issues for those driving around the village, as well as emergency vehicles that may need to access to the barricaded roads.

Francis said the chamber would consider village officials’ concerns before presented a finalized route for approval.

Continuing with the topic of village safety, both Zerman and Young updated council about their respective departments.

Mount Gilead Police have been dealing with an influx of illicit drug related OVI cases in the past few months. The chief stated roughly 75 percent of OVI cases now involve drivers under the influence of illegal substances, a stark contrast to what officers have seen in past related offense, most of which were alcohol related.

“I don’t see that going away anytime soon,” Zerman told council. “It might actually get worse.”

The definitive urine analysis test in drug related OVI offenses also costs the department more to complete than alcohol related offenses, since the collected sample is sent to a third-party lab for results.

Additionally, council members passed the first reading of Ordinance 1753. The tax ordinance, if adopted, will require property owners and renters to notify the village after changes in a rental’s occupancy.

Mount Gilead will also begin using the state treasurer’s Ohio Checkbook Online service to disclose village spending to the public.

By Zach Jones

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Reach Jones at 419-946-3010