JACKSON CENTER — It was a busy evening at the regularly scheduled council meeting in Jackson Center Monday night. After the initial call to order, council heard a financial report from Larry Wahrer, who shared the ups and downs associated with income versus expenditures and how a variety of projects in the village affected the final outcome.
“Last year was a good year, and our income was up but so were costs associated with a number of major developments that took place during a very busy year; yet despite the increased amount of expenses, we managed to break even, so considering all that was accomplished we did quite well,” Wahrer said.
Issues discussed in new business included the appointment of three individuals in the fire department. Braden Lotz was appointed the assistant fire chief, Ron Ludwid was appointed deputy fire chief, and Alexis Shady was appointed firefighter. The appointments for the positions of leadership are on a three-year rotation, as noted by Fire Chief Jerry Davis: “We did some revisions in the departmental bylaws, and we will be on a three-year rotation from now on. This gives all qualified personnel a chance to grow, achieve goals and improve on the level of service we provide. It opens up a door of great opportunity, allowing our staff members to work together and share valuable resources regardless of their level of experience. It will be good for our community in the long run.”
Ludwig was present for his appointment and Mayor Scott Klopfenstein acknowledged his 38 years of service to the Fire Department, saying, “Thank you, Ron, for all you’ve done over the years. We can never fully express our gratitude for the valuable contributions you have made to the department and our community; I know there’s been talk of you stepping down in the past, so we really appreciate you hanging in there and serving for so long. You have done far more than anyone could ask for, and it will be hard to replace you when the time comes.”
Village Administrator Bruce Metz humorously agreed, noting, “We will have to say goodbye to ‘Father Time’ when Ron retires.”
In other new business, council passed a resolution amending the village income tax ordinance, making changes to comply with state mandates.
Council then reviewed the changes authorized by village solicitor Mike Burton and voted in favor of the changes.
Council then passed another ordinance approving and adopting the updated, countywide Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan prepared by the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency.
“The plan is updated every five years and sets standards for how to respond to natural hazards like blizzards, flooding and the effects of storms and tornados like lightning and wind damage,” said Metz. “This is a countywide plan developed on how to recover from local natural disasters with detailed instructions, making it possible for everyone to understand how municipal infrastructure operates, where it is located and how to tackle problems that may occur in the event of natural disasters. This plan is designed to make it possible for anyone to step in and fix things in the event of failure due to unforeseen events.”
Council heard the first reading of an ordinance adopting rates, terms and conditions for electrical service provided by the village of Jackson Center. Metz noted there will be some increases that come with growth; however, the actual cost per kilowatt hour is coming down.
“The basic customer charge will be increasing, but we’re still a lot lower than most local utilities in neighboring communities. The average residential bill is now $107.27m including taxes and energy charges (use) and will go up to around $109.94. Anyone having questions can contact me or attend upcoming council meetings where pending issues are always open to discussion,” he said.
Council approved a resolution authorizing the village administrator to enter into a contract for professional services with GDP Group (Glaus, Pyle, Schomer, Burns, and DeHaven Inc.) for engineering the Jerry Drive 69Kv substation project. The proposed contract that is not to exceed $438,000, which includes construction supervision from start to finish. The total cost to replace the old substation will be approximately $2.78 million.
Metz reported on the progress made in purchasing a 150-kilowatt, standby generator for the wastewater treatment plant. Metz went to three local banks to get estimates for interest rates on loans to purchase the generator.
The rates ranged from 3 percent to 4.5 percent. Metz noted that while the primary use of the generator would be in the event of a power failure, it could also be used to help with “peak-shaving” to keep usage down at times when power consumption levels are extremely high, thereby resulting in a lower fee for the cost of electricity.
“Last year, we saved over $127,000 by lowering our energy consumption at times when demand is at its peak. It was the combined effort of the city, local industry and our residents pulling together to do what they could to reduce power consumption, and I want to thank everyone for their contribution. We did a great job, but we’re working on ways to make it better, which contributes to us having some of the lowest power rates in the area,” Metz said.
Before going into executive session for the purpose of discussing the purchase or sale of land, Klopfenstein reminded those present to get the word out about the annual Fireman’s Soup and Supper Benefit to be at the American Legion, 627 E. College St., Jan. 27, from 4 to 7 p.m. Admission is based on donations with all proceeds going to help local families in need.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.
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