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Koehler volunteers as administrator

THORNVILLE- Thornville resident Ron Koehler volunteered to act as interim village administrator following former Village Administrator Josh Eggleston’s April 4 resignation.

March 26, village council members hoped Koehler would stay in the position for at least two months while they decide whether to hire a permanent replacement for Eggleston or create a board of public affairs. Some council members believe a board of public affairs would be a more cost effective method of administering the village. Thornville was administered by a board of public affairs in the past. By law, an interim administrator must serve until an alternative form of government is established.

“Ron Koehler really deserves special thanks for volunteering,” said resident Willis McNabb.

In other council news: Council member Ron Dittoe said during the March 26 council meeting that council members need to tell the Thorn Township Trustees soon whether or not they are interested in being part of a proposed Thorn Township police district. He said he believes village citizens are in favor of the police district and he expects the township to move forward with the district even if Thornville’s not interested.

Previously, Dittoe presented council with an outline of Thorn Township’s proposal for a police district- prepared by Thorn Township Trustee Tim Phipps- which would include Thorn Township, Thornville, Hopewell Township, and Glenford. If approved, the district could potentially take over Thornville’s police department office and establish an officein Glenford. He said the trustees hope to have the proposal ready for public vote in November 2007. If the district is approved by voters and Thornville takes part, the district would simply absorb the Thornville Police Department. The district would be governed by representatives of Thorn and Hopewell townships, as well as Glenford and Thornville.

March 26, Dittoe asked Perry County Commissioner Thad Cooperrider, who was present at the council meeting, why the village should have to pay twice–to a township police district and to the Perry County Sheriff’s Department–for police protection.

“I don’t have the answer for that,” said Cooperrider, who was clear that the commissioners have no say in the operation of the sheriff’s department. That’s all up to Perry County Sheriff William Barker, he said. “Our hands are tied about telling another elected official how to do his job.” Cooperrider said the county supplies the sheriff’s department with operating funds and it’s up to the sheriff how to spend it.

Cooperrider added that Thornville and Thorn Township pay most of the taxes in the county, yet are the last to be served by the sheriff’s department.

Council member Mary Renner (who replaced former council member Jim Royer) said she’s called 911 a couple of times and has gotten an answering machine. She said she once called the sheriff’s department to report a lost child, only to be told the department didn’t have sufficientgasoline to send a cruiser.

“They’re using that as an excuse,” said Cooperrider. While the department’s funds are limited, “they have money for gas.” He agreed with a resident’s suggestion that a sheriff ‘s department substation should be considered for Somerset or Thornville. “That’s a suggestion that should be looked at,” he said. Cooperrider also agreed t h a t t h e c ommi s s i o n e r s , representatives from Thornville, Thorn Township, the sheriff’s department, and northern Perry County should meet to discuss local law enforcement.

Barker could not be reached for comment.

Council President Beth Patrick said March 28 that she would like to talk to Barker before deciding whether the village should participate in a township police district. “I think that’s fair,” she said.

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