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Millersport pool in limbo

MILLERSPORT – The future of the Millersport Pool is hanging by a string.

In the Finance Committee report at Tuesday night’s village council meeting, chair Charles Mesko said the pool lost $12,000 last year. The loss actually totaled about $20,000 after considering the $8,000 in water bills that the Board of Public Affairs forgave.

“There are a lot of mixed feelings on the swimming pool,” Mesko said. “It is always going to lose money.” Losses of $4-5,000 a year are sustainable, Mayor Dean Severance said. The hole is deeper this year since the Board of Public Affairs isn’t willing to give away that much water. “That compounds the situation,” Mesko explained.

The Finance Committee – Mesko, Council President Dave Levacy and council member Kenny Munday – have discussed organizing a park board, primarily as a vehicle to raise funds for the pool. Mayor’s assistant Vince Popo is researching the cost of having a leak detection company to track down the water leaks. Finding the leaks is a critical first step. “We’ve got to correct those leaks,” Levacy said. “Without that, it (operating the pool) is impossible.” The Finance Committee will discuss the pool’s future in detail at a meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, February 27, at the village hall. Council members agreed not to pay $364 for a food service license due March 1 for the pool concession stand until an overall decision on the pool’s future is made.

In other business Tuesday night, council members had a lengthy discussion with Police Chief John Shirk about two aging police cruisers. Shirk said it is less costly to replace the two 2005 Ford Crown Victoria’s with two new Ford police interceptors. The Crown Victoria model has been discontinued. He said it will cost about $21,000 this year to fix the two high-mileage 2005 cruisers. Shirk proposed leasing two new, totally outfitted cruisers with a bumper-to-bumper warranty for five years for an annual payment of $15,812. The village would own the cruisers after five years. “I’m estimating we can get seven years out of each car,” Shirk added. In addition to avoiding the $21,000 in estimated repairs this year, Shirk believes the village will save $3,000 to $3,600 in fuel a year due to switching from an eight cylinder engine to a six cylinder and the improved fuel economy from a newer model.

The 2005 models are worth $3,000 each as a trade-in, but Shirk and Munday believe they can get about twice that since both vehicles would be sold outfitted and some area departments are interested in them. Resale value is Levacy’s main concern.

Shirk told council members that it will be an appropriation lease. If the village can not afford a future payment, they can cancel the lease by returning the vehicles.

Council members unanimously suspended the three reading rule and approved the resolution for the lease/purchase. Council members Gary Matheny, James Wright and Levacy all expressed reservations about the purchase given the village’s declining financial condition. The new cruisers should arrive in April or May.

In other police issues, Severance administered the oath of office to Police Officer Steven Eric DiSario. He manages the Speedway store at Brice Road and Livingston Avenue in Columbus. He is a graduate of the police academy at Eastland Career Center. Police Officer Chad Rosser was promoted to sergeant and given the oath of office for that position. Shirk announced the Police Officer Christopher Marr resigned in good standing due to the demands of his full-time job.

Council’s focus on the village’s financial problems prompted Munday to recommend pursuing annexation. “It is our’s for the taking,” he said. The focus would be on the 700-800 homes outside the village that have Millersport water service. It doesn’t include the Village of Buckeye Lake which purchases Millersport water under a long-term contract. Matheny agreed that council couldn’t wait until 2014 when the village is projecting a deficit in the general revenue fund to fix finances. Munday said forced annexation has been upheld by the Supreme Court of Ohio. Levacy and Matheny said it could take a couple of years. Mesko suggested discussing annexation over the next three months and holding a public forum. Munday agreed to head the special committee.

Council members also unanimously approved an ordinance amending the Curfew for Minors Ordinance enacted in 2006. The original ordinance had a typographical error that said persons 16 or 17 years of age must be at home between noon and 5 a.m. It now reads between 12 a.m. (midnight) and 5 a.m. and becomes effective immediately. Shirk requested the amendment.

He also requested that the village enact a more comprehensive noise ordinance. The current ordinance only applies to motor vehicles. The proposed ordinance, which Shirk asked to be read at three council meetings to allow for public comment, is based on Lancaster’s ordinance. It includes a catch-all “disturbing the peace” provision and also addresses “ sound amplifying devices” on private property and in motor vehicles. Shirk said the new ordinance will give police officers a tool to address noise complaints that aren’t caused by motor vehicles.

Council members also unanimously approved a resolution authorizing that Acting Fire Chief Matt Bergum be paid $7,500 annually. That’s the same salary that former Chief Bill Yates received. Severance said two interviews for fire chief are set for Feb. 16. He expects to name a permanent chief by the next council meeting.

Bergum said the department has made 125 runs year-to-date – 83 were EMS runs. He reported that an ordinance is being drafted for council’s consideration that would move the department from a 7-day to a 14-day work period. Currently, anyone working more than 53 hours during the sevenday work goes on overtime. Overtime would only be triggered after working more than 106 hours in a 14-day work period. Bergum said it will reduce overtime expenses when someone’s hours are packed into a one week period.

An ordinance changing the Board of Public Affair’s regular monthly meeting from 7 p.m. on the second Monday of the month to 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday was approved unanimously. The change was made to accommodate a member’s work responsibilities.

Summer boat dock rental agreements have been mailed out for the village-owned docks along Canal Drive. Fees are unchanged from last year – $300 for village residents and $400 for non-residents. New prospective dock renters should call the village office about availability and a waiting list.

Council’s next regular meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13, at the village hall.

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