CENTERBURG — Centerburg Village Council heard several first readings for personnel and budget-related ordinances at its October meeting Monday.
Two ordinances pertained to the retirements of Village Clerk-Treasurer Terry James and Deputy Clerk-Treasurer Molly Thompson, effective March 31, 2020. One ordinance eliminates the elected position of clerk-treasurer and creates the position of Village Fiscal Officer, effective April 1, 2020. The other temporarily creates the position of Fiscal Officer Trainee, effective Jan. 1 through March 31 of next year, with the intent to allow a 90-day training period for the first Fiscal Officer. Both ordinances received first reading; the ordinance to create the trainee position will probably be passed as an emergency at the next meeting to allow time for finding a candidate.
Affecting village personnel more broadly are two incomplete ordinances, which also received first readings. The ordinance to set employees’ 2020 compensation will be calculated once the cost-of-living adjustment is announced; the announcement typically takes place in November, but was in mid-October last year. The ordinance to acquire health insurance coverage for full-time employees is pending a quote from the insurance agency.
The ordinance to amend the 2020 budget and appropriations is also incomplete, as expected, since final calculations can’t be made until mid-December.
An amendment to the sewer rates also received the first reading. This amendment reflects a planned increase following the recommendation of a rate study done in 2018 when the ordinance to increase the rates was first adopted. Increases for both 2020 and 2021 are included in the amendment, but a problem was pointed out by council member Rusty Griffith. The amendment specifies meter rates for 5/8, 1, 1/2, 2, 3 and 4-inch meters but not 3/4-inch meters. According to Griffith there weren’t 3/4-inch meters in the village when the ordinance was first approved but there are now a number, less than eight, currently installed in the village. Village Administrator Joe Hardin said it was unwritten, but intended that those customers would be charged at the 5/8-inch rate.
Thompson verified with Hardin that there is a similar but opposite discrepancy in the ordinance setting tap fees; those specify rates for 3/4-inch and upwards, not 5/8-inch. She also confirmed with him that 2019 is the last year in which the council can increase tap fees without requiring a new ordinance.
Mayor Dave Beck suggested contacting an engineer to request a rate suggestion before the amendment is passed so that everyone is charged fairly and the village isn’t losing revenue.
•Received an invitation from Bryan Hetterscheidt to take part in the next Serve the Burg, Nov. 17, starting at the elementary cafeteria at 9 a.m. There have been requests for leaf raking and window cleaning.
•Heard a report from Hardin that the 2019 street project was completed by Mid-Ohio Paving in September. His crew is currently working on repairing a catch basin which was not included in the street project which went out for bids. Del-Co should be done installing meters in the next 60 days, with only 30 left to install. The North Ewing project and street widening have progressed into the engineering phase. Hardin has submitted grant applications to Ohio Public Works Commission for $125,000 and also to the Knox Community Foundation for $7,000 for sidewalks.
Councilmember Saundra Dove commented on the change in traffic light frequency which went into effect recently, asking if the alternative of turn signals was looked into. Hardin responded that there are no turn signals because there are no turn lanes, adding that inserting a turn lane would eliminate downtown parking; he further noted the change in the light frequency seemed to be helping with problem areas.
•Heard a report from council member Tom Stewart that the Central Ohio Joint Fire District firehouse is five weeks behind schedule and the open house will take place in the spring. Delays are due to a couple of problems with piping compounded with the inspector being out of town.
Once that situation is resolved the plan is to move on to framing the kitchen and day room. Firefighters will move to their new sleeping quarters as soon as those pass inspection. One reason for moving the open house is that the firefighters will be renovating the old sections themselves to better match the new addition. The firehouse is back up to a staff of five per day.
•Received thanks from Dove, speaking on behalf of the Centerburg Gardening Club, for use of the council room for their most recent meeting. Dove also reported the club’s plant swap had an okay turnout on Saturday and reminded those present that the club’s Christmas wreaths are the only money maker for the club for the year and an order form is available on the club’s Facebook page.
The club would like to get some more substantial pots to replace those currently in use.
• Heard second reading on a resolution to renew the village’s contract with the Mount Vernon City Law Director for legal service. Mayor Beck has reached out a couple of times and hasn’t heard back.
• Heard first reading on and passed an emergency resolution to accept funds from the former Women’s Club of Centerburg for the maintenance of the murals created by the club and other improvements to the aesthetic appearance of the village.