MINSTER – The dominant topics at Tuesday’s Minster Council meeting concerned equipment purchases, street repairs, and support for House Bill 163, also known as the Permissive Exemption Prevailing Wage Bill.
Village Administrator Donald Harrod said that passage of HB 163 will release the municipalities from being bound by prevailing wage requirements. The thrust behind the bill is that removing prevailing wage requirements allows each municipality to determine how to spend tax dollars in their own communities.
During discussion before the measure was passed in a unanimous vote, Minster Mayor Dennis Kitzmiller asked if the passage of the bill would negatively impact contractors making bids on projects, but Harrod felt that bids may increase without the requirements of a prevailing wage.
“Paying prevailing wages can add 20 to 30 percent to the total bill,” said Harrod.
Councilwoman Nicole Clune reminded the council that schools are not required to pay prevailing wages.
The council also passed as an emergency a resolution of necessity to improve Paris Street. Harrod said this measure will allow estimates of the cost to homeowners for the street improvement.
Under old business, the council agreed to a motion to purchase a $49,960 above ground Gorman Rupp lift station for the new Industrial Park in Minster. Harrod said elevation differences make the purchase necessary in order to move sewage to the treatment plant. He added the surrounding installations of infrastructure is nearing completion. Eventually, other purchases to finish the project will include a generator and a concrete wet well.
Under new business, Council passed motions to:
• purchase a John Deer Bunker and Field Rake for an estimated $12,187. Harrod said the current unit is 10 years old and in need of repairs so will be sold when a new one is purchased.
• purchase a Caterpillar Mini Excavator for the Electric Department. Harrod said the Caterpillar can be used frequently for many spaces where a backhoe does not fit. Estimated pricing under the State Purchase contract estimates $47,678. He said that it has cost $11,700 to rent a similar unit, so yearly savings not renting a unit will pay for the new machine in four or five years.
Council agreed to changing the employee dental insurance plan from Met Life to Delta Dental. Harrod said that while the deductibles are a little higher, Delta pays more after the deductible is met. Yearly savings to the village in premium costs will be around $5,000 per year.
Council also agreed to pay invoices over $3,000. Harrod pointed out that the two large ConAgra bills to buy fill were made necessary after the recycled ground concrete and ashphalt for road construction ran out.
Council also agreed to keep pool prices at their 2017 level at $50 for adults and $80 for families. The body also learned that they have until May 2 to object to any liquor licenses in Minster.
Council also approved the motion to accept the resignation of Daniel Haehn as Water/Waster Water superintendent. Haehn plans to retire April 1.
In his administrative report to the Council, Harrod said street construction projects on Pleasantside, Paris and Crestwood are expected to be completed in May of this year.
Finally, council agreed to receipts of $1,548,480.26 and invoices of $1,597,479.97.
Council than adjourned to executive session for the purpose of personnel discussions. No actions were taken when they reconvened.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.