JACKSON CENTER — During the regular meeting of the Jackson Center Village Council, Dec. 11, Mayor Scott Klopfenstein observed the village underwent of lot of positive changes in a short time and applauded the efforts of council, village administrator Bruce Metz and the village staff for a job well done.
Klopfenstein said that when planning for 2017, the list of things to do seemed a little overwhelming, especially when considering a scope of diverse projects that ranged from demolition of the old school building to the design and construction of a new state-of-the-art electrical solar field.
“Looking back and comparing where we were then to where we are today seems like an impossibility in such a short amount of time,” Klopfenstein said noting, “This past January found us facing the daunting task of completing a number of big projects, all of which took a lot of foresight, planning and execution with countless unseen challenges that popped up along the way, requiring adjustments that further complicated the situations at hand. Our administrator did a superb job of planning, coordinating and using our resources in an efficient and cost-effective fashion and our village employees completed each task in a professional and resourceful manner. There were a lot of new challenges put forth, and our team worked well together to get the job done. I’m very proud of their accomplishments and thankful to have such a dedicated bunch of people working for our town!”
In other business, council gave third reading of an ordinance to make appropriations for current expenses and other expenditures for the village budget for 2018. Metz told council that he and fiscal officer Bev Wren studied the budget thoroughly and made some necessary changes which helped curb costs.
“There were a few small but significant changes made which helped out with our bottom line. The good news is the proposal before you reflects an approximate $14,000 reduction in the budget for next year, and anytime we can reduce costs, that’s a good thing” Metz said. Council unanimously approved the budget.
Council approved a resolution amending the solar project lease agreement with DG AMP Solar LLC to correct encroachments upon existing easements. Metz noted, “We had to move a couple of easement lines and need to get the necessary paperwork signed to finalize things.”
In other new business, council approved a motion to appoint Barry Elliott to the Fire Fighter’s Dependency Board for a one-year term, Craig Halberstadt to the Planning Commission for a six-year term, Linda Wahrer to the Parks and Recreation Board for a five-year term and Ryan Woolley to the Tax Board of Review for a three-year term.
The newly appointed Economic Development Director, Ed Maxwell, will take his seat on the Community Improvement Corporation Committee at the beginning of next year.
Metz shared updates on a number of ongoing projects, including preparations for culvert replacement scheduled to start early next year on the west side of town.
“We have the temporary electric poles up and will soon install the wiring necessary to prepare for the switch to allow for excavation,” he said. Metz also reported on the electrical interconnection to the new solar field, detailing a test procedure that was used to verify the system is ready for implementation; “Everything went as planned and we should be able to begin harvesting electricity sometime after the first of the year” he said.
Metz also noted the village staff is just about finished with leaf pickup, putting up Christmas decorations and has readied village equipment for the snow season. He also shared information on maintenance operations at the water and wastewater plants and reported on meeting with Freytag and Associates on planning for the construction of the new vehicle storage building. Metz reported he is also currently working on the following projects: 2018 appropriation budget, participation in a WASG webinar for 2018 electric purchases, LEPC Board meeting, meeting with Vectren on the stand-by generator at the water treatment plant.
He noted the school board will do the dedication of Tiger Trail at its next meeting.
Before going into an executive session to discuss the employment of a public employee, council heard a report by Wren about the “Estimated Resources” document given to each council member for examination to better their understanding of how the new budget was designed. Wren stated the draft copy reflected year-to-date 2017 revenue numbers and preliminary revenue projections for fiscal year 2018. She also noted the received revenue and fund balances reveal the village will meet state requirements with the appropriation amounts dedicated to each fund.
The last scheduled Jackson Center Council meeting for 2017 will be Dec. 18, at 7 p.m.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.