Minster hires new fiscal officer


MINSTER – The village of Minster now has a new full time fiscal officer following approval by the Minster village council at their May 3 meeting.

Brittany Hemmelgarn was hired as the village’s first full time fiscal officer. In the past, two part time employees handled the village’s fiances. She will begin working for the village May 9 and receive an annual salary $75,000. Since 2017, she worked for the Mercer County auditor’s office.

To support the Hemmelgarn’s transition to the position, John Stechschulte was approved to continue as the village’s temporary assistant fiscal officer at an annual salary of $60,000. Village Administrator Don Harrod said once Hemmelgarn is comfortable in her role, Stechschulte will retire.

In other action, council heard the first reading of a resolution to repair or replace sidewalks in the village. Harrod said 450 areas of sidewalks along streets have been found to be in need of repair or replacement. He said once the resolution is approved, letters will be sent out to residents affected by the action, allowing them time to repair or replace the walks themselves. After a certain period of time the village will replace or repair the sidewalks and bill the property owners. Harrod said the plan is to do the project over two years, with work beginning with the east side of the town.

Council also approved a motion to seek proposals for a new meter reading system for the village. The village administrator said the company which manages the technology for current meter reading system will no longer support the technology used to read the village’s water meters. He said the advantages of a new meter technology would include the elimination of the current drive-by system used to read the meters in the village, instead replacing it with a system where the meters each transmit information to the village’s office. Eliminating the need for drive-by meter readings would save 213 man hours annually, he said. Other advantages of a new system would include the ability to reconnect or disconnect services from the office, said Harrod. Currently, an employee must come to the location to perform these services. Finally, the new system would allow customers to have computer access to their meter readings every 15 minutes.

Council heard about other village projects. Harrod said bids for the Ohio Street Water Tower Replacement Project were opened on April 20th. Consultant CDM Smith is currently reviewing those bids for accuracy, he said, and will have a recommendation to the village by the next council meeting. The cost to replace the old water town on Ohio Street is estimated will cost $3.75 million. Late last year, the Ohio BUILDS state program awarded a $2.5 million grant to the village to help pay for the project.

The bid opening for the Minor Street Resurfacing Program will be Wednesday, May 11. Harrod said the bids will be reviewed and a recommendation will come before council at their next meeting.

Council also approved a motion to seek bids for the Dues Ditch storm water project which will replace a 100 year-old storm tile with a 36 inch drain tile, retention pond and other features that will reduce flooding problems in that area. The estimated cost for the project is $1 million. The village has received a $285,000 Ohio Public Works Commission grant to help defray the costs.

Council also approved paying a $6317.40 invoice from Duncan and Allen. The firm is representing the village in a lawsuit over a canceled solar field project. Harrod told the council it is anticipated that there will be a trial date set for early August in the federal district court in Toledo.

Council also approved a first reading of an ordinance to establish a handicapped parking area on West Fourth Street in front of the Eagles.

Harrod updated council on various other village projects.

He said even with the recent rains, Brumbaugh Construction continues to move along on the $1,231,760 Seventh Street reconstruction project between Main and Hamilton streets, with all utilities installed. Further, he said the contractor has begun to remove the existing street and side ditches in preparation of installing curb and gutter.

As pool preparation continues, Harrod said they are still accepting applications for employment and that families can now order pool season passes online.

Finally, the said the electric department will have the veterans banners on the light poles along state Route 66 by Memorial Day.

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

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