JACKSON CENTR — Charles A. Wirick was appointed police chief for the village of Jackson Center during Monday night’s council meeting. The council chamber was filled to capacity with about 40 people showing up in support of his appointment.
Wirick has served as interim police chief for the village for the last 21 months and Mayor Scott Klopfenstein said he has performed very well.
“Chuck stepped into a difficult set of circumstances but made the best of the situation; he has done a great job and during the transition period I have yet to hear one complaint about his performance or dedication. He has been through a lot but has served his community well and we are thankful to have a man of character in his position” Klopfenstein said.
Village Administrator Bruce Metz agreed saying, “Chuck has excelled tremendously, he is very capable and not only stepped up to the all the challenges he faced but handled each one in a prompt and professional manner. We are pleased and thankful to welcome him aboard.”
Wirick was sworn in by Village Solicitor Mike Burton as a larger than normal crowd looked on; refreshments and congratulations were shared after the meeting.
In other business councilman Larry Wahrer with the Finance Committee gave a financial report noting there had been some larger than normal expenditures for street projects and other construction but noted that overall things looked good.
“We are in pretty good shape as it stands and are actually about 2.9 percent better off than last year at this time,” said Wahrer.
Council had the first reading of an ordinance to establish job classifications and rates for all village employees as well as increases in salary for the zoning officer, mayor, fiscal officer, assistant and deputy fire chiefs. Also included is a possible cell phone compensation for village employee’s personal phones instead of the village providing phones. These and other issues will be considered after the next election from next April to August 2018.
Metz discussed the process of looking into a request for qualifications concerning the construction of a new electrical substation noting he was working with consultants from Sawvel and Associates to get the project started. Sawvel will assess the needs and recommend possible qualified contractors to choose from. Metz said he will keep council informed about the situation as it progresses.
Metz reported he has only received one recommendation to name the new city park; the name “Southview Park” was submitted but Metz noted he intends to create a contest to come up with a name making sure everyone is aware of the opportunity to participate in the process.
“We intend to put the information about the contest in our village in our village newsletter, we’re thinking about presenting a gift certificate to the winner of a contest that will be open to the public,” he said.
In the administrator’s electrical department report Metz said the solar field project was moving right along, that poles and lines were set and a switch tied in with the village electrical grid.
“We are pleased with the progress so far, it’s coming along quite well,” Metz said.
He also said Electrical Superintendent Dave Overman and village electrician Nathan Hensely recently attended a safety training seminar in Piqua concerning Bucket Truck Rescue procedures.
In the street department report, Metz said the street department had finished sealing cracks in village streets and there were only a few tasks left to be completed before cold weather like painting curbs and installing signs around the new school. Metz also said the village leaf pick-up will continue as normal until the first week of December.
Metz recently met with a geologist with the OEPA concerning the need to establish a wellhead protection plan for the wellhead area.
“We are looking at things that the village will need to do to address any existing problems that will affect our water supply as well as educating the public on ways to protect our valuable water resource. The OEPA plans to do an informative presentation on how everyone can contribute to making sure the water supply is protected during FFA Week,” Metz said.
Metz reported that he and Park Superintendent Duane Sosby attended a GEI conference in Louisville and among other things looking into getting a bigger lawn mower as the amount of grass to be mowed will increase from the present 30 acres to 58 acres in the near future.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.