BOTKINS — The Botkins Village Council discussed budget changes for next year throughout its Tuesday, Aug. 29, meeting.
Botkins is beginning the budget-planning process for 2018, in preparation for the approval deadline. Councilman Lance Symonds noted that in the Tuesday Fire and Safety Committee meeting, the first look at the budget seemed reasonable.
Village Administrator Randy Purdy asked the board to approve a budget amendment for 2017 to split an available $9,700 — that had been set aside for auditor of state fees — between the fire department and administrative professional services. The board approved the amendment.
Jessica Lindley, new chief of Anna Rescue, presented statistics to the council to update them on the status of the department, including call response time and the interview process for new cabinet members.
Lindley said the department received 431 calls from January through July, with 146 calls in Dinsmore Township. The average response time to Dinsmore Township was 3 minutes and 16 seconds, and was about 33 percent of Anna Rescue’s call volume. In July alone, they responded to nine calls in Botkins.
She also noted that the trucks will begin to be replaced on a rotating basis, as they are becoming old and not strong enough for the job. The inherited Jackson Center truck was replaced last year, and the department is looking into replacing a 22-year-old vehicle soon and replacing the 15-year-old truck in a couple years.
She also said that one wall inside the station will need to be replaced soon. The wall is located between the police department and the rescue department.
The council also heard from Anita Uetrecht, who raised concerns about grading between Stephen and Constance Bargdill’s property and the old poultry building, which she owns and has plans for.
Uetrecht said that she had recently heard from the Bargdills that they plan to pour concrete on their property, and this will worsen the current issues of water drainage on her property. She asked the council if they would be able to help with grading the ground in the alley so water no longer flows directly towards her property.
The council said they would look into what they could do but noted that the village is responsible for care of alleyways. Uetrecht will be in contact to keep them up-to-date on the situation.
Purdy noted that a property auction occurred Aug. 22, resulting in the sale of one building to Next Generation Kitchen and Bath, one to Anita Uetrecht and the largest building to Samuel Braun, who has told Purdy the building will be used for storage by Provico Farm and Show Supply.
Purdy also noted that the Pusheta Fire contract has been signed by all necessary parties, and the annual 3 percent increase has been clearly discussed and is included.
The board approved a motion to use lodging tax revenue to pay for legal fees incurred by the historical society and Botkins Fire Association to gain their nonprofit status. The lodging tax fund is currently a little more than $5,000.
Purdy asked the board to for its opinion on revamping the website. He is still in the process of obtaining quotes, but reported that Jackson Center had their website redone for $3,500. The revamp will be included in the 2018 budget as a new line item.
Purdy also asked the board if the layout of some of the general expenses could be changed in the 2018 budget. Currently, large issues such as broken well pumps are charged to the general expense line, and determining what the money is actually being spent for is becoming a little complicated. He recommended the board instead create line items in the lands and building fund for each of the departments, and then create sub-line items so the expenses can be better tracked. Symonds backed his suggestion.
The board was informed by Purdy that a public hearing for the potential change in zoning from commercial to residential will be on Sept. 26.
The board entered a lengthy discussion about stop signs at the intersection of county Road 25A and state Route 274. It is a high accident area, and previously the option of flashing LED stop signs was explored but was determined expensive.
Councilman Craig Brown recommended following state guidelines on low-cost options for increasing awareness of the area, such as optical speed bars and changing the color of the signs leading up to the intersection. Symonds suggested posting a police cruiser at the intersection to slow cross traffic during high accident times.
Mayor Steve Woodruff noted that after the last rainstorm, many road drains were blocked by lawn clippings that had been blown into the street. He asked the council to consider passing an ordinance prohibiting blowing lawn clippings into roadways.
A resolution accepting the amounts and rates as determined by the budget commission and authorizing the necessary tax levies and certifying them to the county auditor was read for the first time.