MINSTER – Tuesday night Minster Council began with a 6 p.m. public hearing to gather input about the impending Second Street project, then held a regular council meeting, at 7:30, during which they discussed the wisdom of vacating an alley.
Approximately 30 residents of 29 houses on Second Street in the affected section attended the public meeting so they could see detailed plans to improve Second Street from Garfield Street to the Miami Erie Canal.
The project is part of the Northwest Sanitary Sewer Project, anticipated to cost $2.4 million dollars. Bids are expected to go out Feb. 10. Representatives of Choice One engineering firm were on hand to explain the diagrams.
Choice One representative Jeff Puthoff said he was very happy to see such a strong turnout at the public meeting so they could help the people understand the project.
Village Administrator Don Harrod told residents that the assessment for the cost of the project could be added to their property tax bill, with a five year assessment period for the sidewalks, and ten years for the rest of the project.
Thereafter, the council began their regular meeting, discussing the proposed vacation of an alley between Jefferson and Garfield streets south of Fifth Street. Harrod said Weigandt Realty asked for the vacation of the alley to allow more room for his proposed residential building projects.
While it was agreed that the village would still have an easement through the property for utility work, debate centered on the wisdom of closing the alley, which might limit access to other home owners. It was made clear that the abutting property owners would each get half of the vacated land.
The vacation would allow Weigandt to set the properties farther back from the road. Councilwoman Nicole Clune asked why the alleys were placed behind homes in the first place, suggesting that there was some thought behind this that was not being considered.
Mayor Dennis Kitzmiller wondered if it would be better to approve a variance which would keep the alley in village hands. It was agreed to pass a first reading on vacating the alley and wait to hear if there was any feedback from the surrounding neighbors concerning the effect of this action.
Council also approved a first reading of an ordinance allowing the vacation of portion of the public alley between Cleveland and Ohio north of Sixth Street. Harrod said this request was put in by Nidec Minster, which owns both sides of the alley.
Council also passed a first reading of a resolution to allow the Ohio Attorney General to collect delinquent income tax accounts. Harrod said the most common way money was recovered was through income tax refunds, from which the Attorney General would exact their fees.
He said the City of St. Marys recommended this to all the villages to which they serve as administrators of tax collection.
Harrod also reported that the last quarter of income tax collection was $588,895 and that the total tax collection for 2018 was $4,140,922, an increase of around $200,000 over any year in recent history.
Councilwoman Clune, head of the safety committee reported that in 2018 the squad had 259 runs, the majority from Minster, at 211.
Council approved moving two village employees from introductory to full time status. They were Adam Krouskop, in the police department, and Travis Fishbaugh, as water and wastewater superintendent.
Harrod also reported on the various projects in the village.
He said the village will not be picking up branches throughout the village for a couple of weeks.
He explained that crews are currently switching over the leaf truck to its new vehicle. Kalida truck is working to get this change over done as quickly as possible. In the meantime, if residents have branches that they need to dispose of, they can take them to the compost area.
Parks Drilling has been out at the site of the new Northwest Substation and has been drilling and pouring the caissons for the steel structures, which will be part of the substation. They have already drilled and poured several of the concrete piers and will be doing more in the coming weeks. All purchase orders for the equipment, which the village bid out last year, have been issued and all contractors are moving forward with the construction of that equipment.
Public Works’ crews have completed two sewer projects recently. The first project involved the extension of a sewer line along west Second Street between Cleveland Street and Ohio Street.
The second project involved an extension of the sanitary sewer between Garfield and Ohio Streets and south of Fifth Streets. This extension was necessary to serve several new homes that will be erected in the area.
The lift station as the Route 66 Industrial Park was tested and started up last Thursday. This means that the lift station is in full operation. He said they still need to complete work on the SCADA system so that the pump station can be monitored and operated from the Waste Water Treatment Plant.
Waste Water Treatment Plant staff have also replaced the impellers on the pump at the Dannon Lift station in front of Progress Tool. Several weeks ago, this pump had something lodged in it, which broke the impellers of the pump.
A set of bearings on the Orbital equipment at the Waste Water Treatment Plant, which went bad a few weeks ago, have been replaced. Crews from the Waste Water Treatment Plant installed the new bearings and replaced the bent shaft in the unit.
All of the Christmas decorations have been removed. As is village custom, the lights on the streets along Fourth Street will stay put until the trees are to bud for the new year.
Council approved readings of a number of annual ordinances and resolutions.
First readings were approved to allow the village to participate in the Ohio Department of Administrative Services Cooperative Purchasing Program, authorization to see surplus personal property, and an ordinance to enter a $14,975 contract with the Fort Loramie Fire District to have Minster Fire department cover the area north of the village of Fort Loramie.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.