JACKSON CENTER — Jackson Center Council approved the creation of a new village agency to facilitate the documentation of funds garnered by the mayor’s court as mandated by the State of Ohio.
In a recent audit, conducted annually by the State of Ohio, the state auditor questioned how funding from the mayor’s court was earmarked and added to the general fund. The auditor noted that the funds should be kept in a separate account so as to differentiate the funds from other sources of income.
The funds could then be transferred to the general fund as needed and used in a manner that is consistent with the normal operations of the village as in the past.
Jackson Center Fiscal Officer Bev Wren noted a different state auditor had suggested some kind of a change in the past, but refused to specify just how the funding agency should be set up.
“They told us the income from the mayor’s court should be kept separate from the general fund, but when we asked them how and where it should go, they refused to offer advice, fearing repercussions if anything was deemed improper in future audits,” Wren said. “The auditor who came to do the last audit did not hesitate in suggesting how to set it up, noting that information should have been accessible in the past; that’s why we are recommending a change at this time.”
Council then passed an ordinance authorizing certain adjustments in the 2019 annual appropriations fund to reassign funding from the mayor’s court that had been placed in the general fund prior to the audit.
Following protocol, council then passed a resolution creating a separate agency to handle all the income from mayor’s court, enabling the transfer of all funding collected to its proper location.
Council heard a report from Village Administrator Bruce Metz concerning the village swimming pool and what can be expected during the remodeling project this summer. Metz noted he has been in contact with Choice One Engineering of Sidney and Patterson Pool of Plain City about proposed updates and repairs for the village pool, which is long overdue for some major maintenance, updates, and repairs.
In a previous council meeting, Metz reported the village had been approved for grant funding to make repairs and update not only the pool itself but the plumbing and electrical portions, as well.
Metz noted his displeasure with having to close the pool for this summer for repairs, but expressed his excitement about the much-needed improvements.
“We sure hate to close the pool this year, but it’s way past time to make the repairs and improvements needed,” he said. “We’re not just repairing the pool itself, but doing a lot of other things that will make it look nice and changing some of the features to make it a lot more user-friendly. It is a bittersweet situation, but in the long run it will be very nice after it’s done and we really can’t wait any longer as the pool is costing the village a lot of money in wasted water alone.”
Metz explained that nearly two million gallons of water had leaked from the pool last year alone, and that multiplied over the last several years. This was a major cost of the pool operation, which is not a money-making situation in the first place, but something the village maintains for the good of the community as a whole.
Repairs and new construction at the pool are expected to begin as soon as plans are finalized and approved by those allocating the grant funding.
Mayor Scott Klopfenstein also expressed his disappointment in closing the pool, but agreed they have no choice.
“I feel the disappointment expressed by our residents and others who were looking forward to another fun summer at the pool,” he said. “It’s been a part of our community for over 50 years, however, the repairs and improvements must be made during the nice weather; we have no choice but to do so now. I’m just anxious to get this project started as soon as possible to make sure everything is done this year and we are ready to go for next summer.”
Metz reassured the mayor and council that the pool project is already in motion and that all improvements are expected to be completed this year to assure that the pool will be ready for use in 2020.
Ed Maxwell, community development director, reported on plans to replace the flag pole at the Wally Byum Memorial Park, as well as the addition of a new monument next to it honoring Jackson Center resident Gary Gross, who gave his life for the United States while serving in Vietnam in 1968.
Maxwell stated the base of the old flag pole, which also has a brass memorial plate commemorating SP4. Gary W. Gross, is crumbling and needs to be replaced.
“That flag pole has been there for over 50 years,” he said. “It is leaning and the base is in very poor condition. I am working with Gary’s family members, who are having a new monument made and hope to have it in place before Gary’s posthumous induction into the Ohio Military Hall of Fame on May 3, 2019.”
Metz brought council up to date on a variety of on-going projects in the village and expressed his appreciation for nice weather and better working conditions for the village staff.
“Things are going well at the new electrical substation and we’re making a lot of progress on the temporary power lines and other things for the new Airstream Inc. manufacturing facility currently under construction on the west side of town,” he said.
Metz informed council that things are going well in the village park on the east side where work on the new t-ball fields is nearly complete and concrete is scheduled to be poured very soon for the bases of the new bleachers.
“The new ball fields look great,” Metz said. “We’re excited to put them into use this year; it will be great for our kids and I look forward to completing this project very soon.”
The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be held on April 22, at 7 p.m., in the council chambers. The public is encouraged to attend.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.