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Council member questions new administrative position

BALTIMORE – Village Administrator Scott Brown had some good news for council members at their Nov. 24 meeting.

Brown said the village’s street paving project has been closed out. The original cost estimate was $300,000 with the actual cost coming in at around $260,000 for a nearly $40,000 savings. Brown said village received a $226,000 grant with the village taking out a $24,000 zero interest loan and paying $13,000 in cash.

In other business Monday night, council members heard the first reading for four ordinances. With council members Robert Hankison and Tony House absent, council members could not waive the three reading rule for the new proposed ordinances.

An ordinance to create a second full-time administrative assistance position and new temporary position for a second fiscal officer is the most controversial. The temporary position is to allow the village to hire a new fiscal officer to work alongside fiscal officer Flo Welker before Welker retires early next year.

“I’m against adding that extra position (administrative assistant),” Council President Jim Hochradel said. He suggested taking advantage of the temporary doubled-up fiscal officer position by letting them handle some of the financial duties currently done by the administrative assistant to ease the burden on her. Hochradel also suggested offering some overtime rather than funding another full-time position. He also wants to keep the currently vacant part-time administrative assistant position open. Hochradel added that the street department needs another worker maybe as early as this winter.

“I would have a hard time voting for a full-time person in the administrative office,” he concluded. Brown said he preferred to discuss personnel issues in executive or closed sessions.

The second ordinance would create a sidewalk restoration grant program. Brown said the idea arose out of the Basil Street project this summer when some property owners took advantage of a discount offer from the village’s contractor to repair their sidewalks. If council members approve, the village would contribute a maximum of $5,000 to the fund for 2015. Property owners, on a first come, first served basis, could seek reimbursement for up to 30 percent of the cost to repair public sidewalks in front of their property. Payments would be limited to a maximum of $500 per project and to one project per property per year. Application deadlines would be March 31, June 30, Sept. 30 and Dec. 20. Grant funds would only be awarded after the work is done and inspected.

“This might be an incentive for someone to repair a damaged sidewalk in front of their house,” council member Dwayne Mohler said. “I think it has a lot of merits,” Mayor Robert Kalish added.

The third ordinance would amend the current Downtown Business Façade Grant Program by deleting any village funding for 2015. That funding would go to the proposed sidewalk restoration grant program. The fourth ordinance would simply amend the 2014 appropriations ordinance to reflect actual expenditures this year.

Council members did approve one resolution and one ordinance after the third reading Monday night. The resolution approved the updated solid waste management plan for the Coshocton- Fairfield-Licking-Perry Solid Waste District. The ordinance is the appropriation for 2015.

Brown had a much more extensive report for council at their Nov. 10 meeting. He said a land developer recently discussed a proposal for a multi-unit general business development for property outside of the village. Brown said the property qualifies for expedited annexation into village which the developer wants to do if the property is purchased.

Brown said Green Gourmet Foods is steadily increasing production with a goal of producing one million pounds of potatoes per month. He said Sakas Industries has agreed to hook onto the village’s sewage system.

Brown also reported that the street supervisor found a used dump truck that will meet the village’s needs. It was to arrive Nov. 11. The net cost, after the tradein, was $40,000. Brown said the village got a much heavier duty truck – 33,000 gross vehicular weight versus a 17,500 GVW for about half the cost of a new 17,500 GVW truck.

Council’s next regular meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 8, at village hall.

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