JACKSON CENTER — Jackson Center Village Council approved the application to make Xavier Esser a probationary firefighter for the community during its meeting Monday night, April 24. He has been working for the village as a water and wastewater apprentice since December 2022 and is eager to add firefighter to his growing resume.
Council had the second reading for two ordinances will approve an increase in the village’s water and sewage bill. At the March 27 meeting Nathan Davis, associate water asset manager from the Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP) of Great Lakes Community Action Partnership, performed the Rate Analysis Test. This test is run every five years, with Jackson Center’s last one being conducted in 2018. Davis has worked with RCAP for thirteen years, and he performed our last one. He proposes the village lowers the minimum total usage from 5,000 to 2,000 gallons a month.
But, due to high-interest rates, this will raise the cost for the average customer (someone who uses 3,250 gallons) to $49.90 for water a month and $60.20 for sewage. This will increase the yearly water bill by $110. Those who use less than 3,250 gallons will benefit from this overall. Currently, these people are being overcharged as they are paying the rate for 5,000 gallons regardless if they use that much or not. So, the change will in fact lower their bill.
Davis said, “You are not paying for the water, but for the pumping, treating, and sending it to your house.” Once the new water treatment plant is completed in 2025, he will be back to reassess the rates. The Wastewater project is scheduled to be completed by early May.
Aaron Teders, Sawvel & Associates Inc., did a similar presentation at the April 10th meeting in regards to the electricity rates. This is a three-year study with the last one conducted in 2018. It is a little behind because of Covid. The new rate will be a 3% increase on the average resident (those who use 850 kilowatt hours, or kWh). Meaning their bill will be $122.86 a month. This is based on estimations using the AMP 5-Year Budget plan we have in place. They will also be adding a new class to the electricity rate called “Industrial.” These are places that use more than 1,000 kWh and purchase their own transformer that they service.
The village only provides the line extensions needed to connect it to the power grid. The reasons behind the increase are to maintain the financial integrity of the electrical system, build an emergency fund to replace equipment when in need, unbundle rates to minimize impact to utility from self-generation (ex. Solar Panels), and start putting money aside for a second transformer (XFMR) for the Jerry Drive Substation that has been in operation since 2019. The new transformer is estimated to be around $400,000 and will take two and a half years to deliver.
The new rates will take effect on June 1. Mayor Scott Klopfenstein is planning to hold a town meeting regarding both ordinances on May 3 at the Family Life Center at 6:30 p.m. to discuss it in greater detail and answer any questions residents may have on the subject.
Pavement repairs and milling on the state Route 65 project have begun. The project will be in full operation by next week with paving set from Rising Sun to the county line. When finished the village will do a similar project on Botkins Road. Proceed with caution over the next few weeks, as construction work will greatly interrupt the flow of traffic. Local police will be out doing their best to keep things running as smoothly as possible. With weather permitting, they plan on having it complete by Community Day weekend.