CENTERBURG — Relevant rumors, thanks, and ideas were shared at the Nov. 20 meeting of the Centerburg Village Council.

In roundtable, Councilmember Greg Myers started things off by addressing rumors “going around the village” of a large development going in south of Centerburg. According to rumor, the village hasn’t been very receptive to these plans and the development has been thinking of putting in their own wastewater system package.

Hoping to address those rumors, Myers said “Centerburg wastewater plant is open to business,” continuing that the village is willing to “take them on.”

This spun the conversation toward Centerburg wastewater policy and rules for annexation into the village.

Mayor Dave Beck countered that all wastewater customers outside of the village pay a surcharge which doubles their fee and added that, currently, the only way to annex properties into the village requires the property to be touching the corporation limit line. Changing that would require an ordinance and would also need to go through the Knox County Commissioners.

Despite this, he agreed that the wastewater plant has the capacity and additional business would be beneficial to the village.

Answering ideas of a hypothetical rate reduction to bring in additional business to the wastewater plant, Village Clerk Teri James told council that reducing the surcharge would serve the village no monetary benefit. James also noted that village residents were paying just as much through the combination of income taxes and other village-related fees as those who were only paying for wastewater usage; the difference being residents pay some here and some there whereas non-residents pay one bill.

Beck invited anyone with ideas of a solution to bring their suggestions to the council. Village Solicitor Kyle Stroh suggested that there needed to be a deeper conversation on the topic, more clearly setting out hypothetical objectives to build possible solutions toward.

Beck concluded that the village can’t do anything now, agreeing with Myers that they will be “keeping the channels open.”

Also in roundtable, Saundra Dove shared some local club news. The Centerburg Garden Club will be hosting its first annual home decoration contest, “Light up the Holidays.” The contest, open to Centerburg residents only, will be judged the week of Dec. 16 based on “curb appeal.” There will be gift certificate prizes for both first and second place; first place totaling $100.

On behalf of the Heart of Ohio Women’s Club, Dove presented a check for $2,165.90, their account balance, to the village toward the maintenance of the murals the club created. Council passed the resolution to accept the donation at their October meeting.

Before donating their balance to the village, the club purchased two “beautiful” trash cans for the village and a six-foot bench for the Heart of Ohio Trail.

Dove reported that she spoke to the Ohio Scholars Association about the lighting of the Christmas tree but is unsure if the organization is planning a tree-lighting event.

The Heart of Ohio Trail is having their annual meeting and pizza party 6 p.m. tonight in the village council chambers. The community is welcome to come learn about updates made to the trail and enjoy some pizza. Dove specifically mentioned how great Centerburg’s boy scout troop is and the several eagle scout projects which are along the trail.

In the citizen comment section of the meeting, Brian Hetterscheidt reported on the November Serve the Burg and said that 37 volunteers participated, raking leaves and preparing 57 meals.

At the conclusion of the meeting, before council went into executive session, local businesswoman Tammy Goodman came forward with her desire to lend ideas to help the village attract more people. Beck suggested that the Centerburg Area Business Association still had funds before it was disbanded and that the organization would be a good thing to restart. It just needed leadership, he said. With general consensus from council, Goodman was advised to contact the former secretary of the association, Skip McWilliams.

In the business section of the meeting, council tabled the resolution to enter a contract with the Mount Vernon prosecutor until the December meeting due to the contract having the wrong year and a request by the village to amend the contract to explicitly include Marsy’s Law compliance.

Of the four ordinances pertaining to personnel which received second readings, the Employee 2020 Compensation ordinance was commented on by Village Clerk Teri James. James reported that Social Security had estimated cost of living increases of 1.6 percent and she had run budgets for both 1.6 percent and 2 percent aggregate cost of living increases. Her recommendation to council was that payroll increases be in that range. She also noted that those budgets did not take into account the 7.81 percent health insurance increase which the village was since quoted; that increase was estimated to be “much higher” for the sake of the budgets.

James also reported that the liquor permits are expiring at the end of the year. Noting that while the village doesn’t typically take action on this, this is the appropriate time to make such changes.

The amendment to the Employee Compensation Ordinance to change the billing clerk from salary to hourly employee, James explained, is necessary because the current billing clerk was initially moved to salary to make up for the irregular hours worked between weeks; with her workload changing under the office re-structuring at the start of the new year given the creation of the fiscal officer position, hourly pay would better compensate for the additional duties of that position.

Village Administrator Joe Hardin reported that the village is still picking up leaves but will hopefully be done by Monday to switch over to salting sidewalks. Christmas Walk preparations are also underway, according to Hardin.

Hardin also explained the Surplus Auction resolution to council. Until now all equipment disposed of by his administration had been less than $1,000 in value. There is a 2006 3-ton Chevy which currently needs disposed of. The resolution, passed as an emergency, will also allow Hardin to dispose of such equipment in the future via surplus auction.

Village Solicitor Kyle Stroh reported that Whistlestop is now fully within Centerburg and that KnoHoCo’s Heart of Ohio Homes is moving forward.

Council also gave first reading to the resolution for 2020 membership in the Regional Planning Commission. Councilmember John Jackson voiced that everyone in the county benefits from the commission even if not everyone contributes while Mayor Beck agreed membership was definitely worthwhile. Stroh noted the 2019 resolution didn’t pass until January 2019, so there’s no need to pass it as an emergency.

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Hannah DeVolld: 740-397-5333 or hannah@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @