JACKSON CENTER — Jerry Davis, Jackson Center fire chief, addressed members of the Jackson Center Council Monday evening informing them that Oct. 8-14 is National Fire Prevention Week.
This is the time of year for everyone to replace the batteries in their smoke alarms and test them to make sure they are working, said Davis. He said it is critical to perform this routine maintenance to insure the alarms will function as needed when the time comes noting it easy to overlook with many forgetting the alarms exist unless they accidently set one off while cooking or the alarm signal beeps stating it’s time to change the battery.
Mayor Scott Klopfenstein thanked Davis for the reminder and acknowledged the village is fortunate to have someone of his character as fire chief.
“We appreciate all that you and the department does from the reminders to check our smoke alarms to responding quickly and providing the very best in emergency service; I often hear great comments from the public about our fire and rescue people, we really appreciate all that all of you do and are thankful for the level of confidence we enjoy under your care,” said Klopfenstein.
In other business, Village Administrator Bruce Metz shared reports on a number of projects associated with the new village park which is currently under construction. Among other things, Metz shared a photo reproduction of what the new sign at the entrance of the park will look like.
“It will be similar in color and design as the sign at the swimming pool, the trouble is, at present, we still don’t have a name for the park and I can’t place an order without a name … any suggestions?” asked Metz.
No one on council had any immediate suggestions.
“Well we’re in no big hurry on this one and will not need the sign until the spring so we have time to think about it, I just wanted to give everyone a heads-up now so as to allow time to consider it,” he said.
Metz then brought up the necessity of installing irrigation systems to the remaining two sports fields at the park.
“The irrigation system for the primary soccer field has been installed at the cost of $21,000, and if we are going to do the other two fields, now is the time as doing it later will add substantial cost to the project. We are looking at $37,000 now versus $57,000 down the road if we have to come back and install it later” Metz said.
As for the justifying the additional systems Metz said, “The major force driving this are regulations mandated by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) who has parameters concerning how much and what kind of weed killers and fertilizers can be used in a well-head area. Since this park is in the direct vicinity of our well-water field we have to take precautions to insure our ground water is not contaminated overtime by chemical runoff from lawn treatments on the sports fields.” Mayor Scott Klopfenstein asked if any regulations were already in place concerning run-off from agriculture as the area has been farmed for quite some time. Metz noted that regulations existed concerning agriculture but that typically the style and types of treatment for sports fields are not the same as those used for farming making it necessary to adopt different procedures. “I will be meeting with the EPA on the 18th of this month” Metz said, “to discuss what direction we will need to take, but preliminary studies indicate the amount of treatment for weeds can be reduced substantially if the fields have a healthy stand of grass which tends to make it hard if not nearly impossible for weeds to grow; as we know grass depends on plenty water thus making it necessary to have a good irrigation system in place for extended times of little or no rainfall, over time this will not only insure lower maintenance costs but more importantly will protect our drinking water source for generations to come.” Metz noted the hook-up for the additional fields are already in place at the primary field and that is why now seems like the best time to address the situation instead of coming back later and digging things up again. Council members Leisha Elchert and Ken Gloyeske as well as the other members of council unanimously voiced their support of doing the work now, as did Mayor Klopfenstein who said “We have done a first-class job on the park construction so far there is no reason to scrimp on finishing the rest especially if it’s going to come back to haunt us later; and the safety of our residents and local community must be the principal consideration now on how we decide for the future.”
Administrator Metz then shared plans to file for a $150,000 grant to help cover costs of paving the walking trail in the park as well as building a concession stand with a storage room. Council gave their ok for Metz to look into the situation.
In his Administrator’s report Bruce Metz outlined proposed maintenance repairs to correct problems recently encountered with the iron-filtering system at the water plant. Metz is planning to couple the cost of this update with getting a back-up power generator for the water plant as well to insure good service in time of a power outage or other emergencies that may affect the plant’s production of safe water.
“The filter updates are expected to keep things in good working order for the next 3 to 5 years or until such a time that a major expansion will take place to meet future demands; in the long run we hope to get off chemical dependence to remove iron but this will come later on,” said Metz.
During the administrators report Metz also said Village Electrical Superintendent Dave Overman and village employee Nathan Hensley both received awards at the recent AMP (American Municipal Partners) Annual Conference for their expertise in the safe distribution of electrical power.
Klopfenstein chimed in that they weren’t the only recipients of a reward and that Metz was presented the ‘Seven Hats Award” for excellent service, which is the highest award the organization bestows at the annual conference. Upon receiving praise for his accomplishment, Metz acknowledged his appreciation for others helping him to succeed.
“This award may have my name on it but it’s really for Jackson Center. I have a lot of great people around me providing the support I need to get the job done; the fact that we all share the same vision makes my job easier and I’m very thankful for their help in that respect,” said Metz.
Before going into executive session for the purpose of discussing the sale or purchase of real estate and the employment of a public employee, Metz reported several projects around town are on schedule and going well including the installation of new signs around the school. Metz also shared the final financial report on Project Bambi at Airstream Drive which is now complete saying he was extremely satisfied with how things turned out.
“Everything looks great,” he said. “We are pleased with how the operation of the new traffic light has helped with traffic flow, and the improved night-lighting really looks sharp after dark. We couldn’t be happier with the results and I want to thank everyone involved for a job well done.”
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.