JACKSON CENTER — Declaring an emergency, Jackson Center Council approved an ordinance authorizing certain adjustments in the 2019 annual appropriations of public funds.
Before council voted on the issue, Village Administrator Bruce Metz shared the details of why the ordinance was needed.
“This ordinance will allow the disbursement of $8,775 the village recently received from a ‘Smart Choice’ energy use grant,” he said.
Metz said the funding must be used for new construction or to upgrade or replace existing lighting systems with more efficient gear and environmentally friendly light fixtures and bulbs.
“We plan to use the lion’s share of the money, or $8,000, for the new lighting in the parking lot at Tiger Trail Park, and the remaining $775 will be used to help replace the lighting system in the village library,” he added.
Council member Leisha Elchert asked if the funding earmarked for the library would replace funding already designated by the village for that purpose or added to the existing funds, to which Metz responded that the grant money will be added to existing funds.
“The additional funding will ensure there is enough funding for the project,” Metz said.
Council member Larry Wahrer, chairperson of the finance committee, reported that things went well for February and March, stating the March income led to being $90,000 over the expenditures.
“That is always good news,” Wahrer said. “We are currently running 5.62 percent ahead of last year’s income. We had some sizable expenditures for the installation of the storm sewer drains and the costs associated with the installation of the new electrical substation, but overall things evened out leaving us in pretty good shape going into April.”
Police Chief Chuck Wirick reported he will be attending a conference in Middletown this coming Thursday through Saturday in hopes of gaining national certification for the police department’s K-9 unit.
“We are currently certified by the State of Ohio, but will be attempting to get national certification, which will improve our standing in the field,” Wirick said. “The three-day event is a pass-or-fail test with a very in-depth approach, requiring a much higher level of expertise than what is required on the state level.”
Wirick noted “Hiro,” the village police dog is 6 years old and has been with the department since 2015. He expressed the value a K-9 unit adds to the police department.
“A K-9 unit adds a much higher level of safety and service to the community, specifically in the area of search and rescue,” he said. “Dogs can be trained to sniff out drugs and explosives, or to run down and catch fleeing or armed suspects. They can also be used to guard suspects or employed to find hiding ones. They can be used to locate lost or injured adults and children after a natural disaster, such as a tornado.”
Mayor Scott Klopfenstein commended Wirick for going to the next level.
“I think this is a very good decision,” he said. “We are always looking at ways to keep all our village departments on the cutting edge and our police department is doing a great job under Chief Wirick’s management. I’m glad to see him taking steps to get us national certification with our K-9 unit and wish him all the best in his efforts.”
Wirick and Klopfenstein also noted the police department will be addressing citizen complaints about inoperable cars, furniture, trash, and other junk sitting outside around several homes in the village.
Klopfenstein told council he had been approached about several offenses around the village and said it will not be tolerated.
“Besides looking bad in general, it invites health hazards and lowers property values; something we will not tolerate in Jackson Center,” he said. “I want to take this opportunity to let everyone know we will be cracking-down on these and other offenses.”
Klopfenstein also reminded everyone of the need to dispose of yard waste properly.
“We have a dumpster available on Jerry Drive that our residents can use free of charge, specifically for the yard waste and grass clippings,” he said. “I want to remind everyone to use it or face the consequences of fines for non-compliance.
He added that the village has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on reconstruction of sewer and surface water drain systems and does not want them to become inoperable in times of heavy rain due to debris from lawns.
Wirick then addressed council, saying he would be implementing a higher level of compliance and suggested residents in violation begin necessary clean-up right away.
“The police department will be a lot more aggressive than before,” he said. “We were lenient last year because it takes a while for folks to get adjusted to the awareness and enforcement of the rules. We will be doing what we need to do to get the attention of those violating ordinances about lawn care, like keeping the grass cut, the disposal of yard waste, and other things like inoperable cars, old furniture and trash sitting around outside.”
Economical Director and Zoning Officer Ed Maxwell told council two new homes were now under construction in the Westwood Estates subdivision and more construction is anticipated as the weather permits.
Maxwell also reported the JC Growth Association will be holding a meeting on May 16, at noon, at the Community Life Center, to discuss future business opportunities with Jim Hill of the Sidney-Shelby County Economic Partnership.
All local business owners are invited and RSVP is required by calling the village office, at 937-596-6314, before May 13.
Metz shared updates on a variety of ongoing projects taking place around the village, stating things were going well and on schedule.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Jackson Center Council will take place in the council chambers on May 13, at 7 p.m.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.