HEBRON – It took several years of patient negotiations and several price reductions before the Village of Hebron agreed to buy the former Bowman Chevrolet used car lot at the northwest corner of High and Main streets.
Now former Mayor Clifford L. Mason pushed several years for the purchase of the property in the center of downtown. Agreement was reached in late December to purchase the lot for $120,000 from the Ferris family of New Philadelphia, Ohio. The family had previously sold the former Bowman Chevrolet showroom and service center just west of Hebron’s former village hall.
The purchase was closed on January 13. The first step is to remove the asphalt paving, add some topsoil and then plant grass.
At council’s Jan. 14 reorganizational meeting, council members unanimously elected council member Jim Friend as council member. He replaces Bob Gilbert as president. Gilbert didn’t seek reelection.
New council member and now former Planning and Zoning Board member Wayne Carruthers was selected to represent council on the board. Mayor Mike McFarland announced that he had asked former council member and president Jim Layton to take Carruthers’ position as a community representative on the Board.
McFarland announced his committee appointments:
• Finance: Porter (chair), Morris and Carruthers;
• Safety: Friend (chair) Scott Walters and Alayna Morris;
• Water/Wastewater: Walters (chair), Porter and Morris;
• Public Works: Carruthers (chair), Tom Marietta and Friend;
• Parks & Recreation: Morris (chair), Friend and Porter; and
• Personnel, Annexaton & Insurance: Marietta (chair), Porter and Carruthers.
Council members agreed to continue to hold their regular monthly meetings at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays. The combined committees meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on the Monday between council meetings. Village Administrator Ralph Wise will continue to facilitate the meeting.
Council’s regular meeting followed the reorganizational meeting. During department head reports, Police Chief James Dean said the department answered more than 2000 calls for service in 2015. Officers responded to 51 vehicle crashes and made 83 arrests. Cruisers logged a total of 58,000 miles in 2015.
Dean also reported that the department recently learned that it will be receiving a bequest from a will. The decedent is not from Hebron nor is his connection to Hebron or the department known. Dean doesn’t know how much the department will receive from the estate.
Fiscal officer Deborah Morgan reported, “We had a good year.” She said the village’s revenue in 2015 exceeded expenditures by $759,496.
Fire Chief Jack Stickradt said the department made more than 1,300 runs in 2015, which was about 50 more than in 2014. Runs again split about 70 percent MES and 30 percent fire.
Stickradt asked for permission to apply for three grants. The largest is for a $1 million FEMA Assistance to Firefighters grant that requires just a five percent match. If awarded, he would use $850,000 to purchase a quint which is an engine and aerial platform combination. $75,000 would be used to update rescue equipment primarily for vehicle crashes with the last $75,000 to update communications technology in the department’s vehicles.
The second request seeks $10,000 in an Energy Cooperative Round-up grant toward the purchase of a $15,000 fire extinguisher simulator. The unit would make fire extinguisher training cleaner and safer; and it could be done inside. Area companies participating in the training have pledged $4,000 toward its purchase.
The third grant is for an Ohio Fire Marshal’s Fire Training Grant that will reimbursement the cost of some training done last year. Council members unanimously approved seeking all three grants.
In his report, Wise said the long awaited comprehensive flood study conducted by Bird + Bull has finally been completed. He said the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District is paying $10,000 of the study’s $20,000 cost. A copy of the study is available for public review at the municipal complex.
Council members want to review the study with residents via an open house meeting. Friend suggested that the open house be scheduled after we switch back to Daylight Savings time to encourage more residents to turn out. Time changes back in early March so Wise will get dates on when Bird + Bull representatives and their outside hydrology consultant are available in March. The open house will be well advertised.
Wise also reported that the village only received one bid on the three outbuildings left on lots purchased by the village in the Sunny Acres floodplain. The bid was an offer for the village to pay him to remove the buildings, not purchase the buildings. Village workers will remove the buildings before spring.
In his comments, McFarland said, “I’m very proud to be the mayor of Hebron. I want to do some good things for Hebron… I’m just tickled to death to be here.”
Council’s next regular meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27.