JACKSON CENTER — The Jackson Center Village council addressed a number of new subjects at their first regularly scheduled meeting Monday evening, Jan. 8, 2018. The most notable new business was the appointment of a new police officer.
After much consideration by council, Zachary M. Smith was appointed to serve the village as a second full-time police officer, Smith was sworn in by village Solicitor, Mike Burton. Smith’s appointment is probationary for six months after which time his position will be considered permanent if all requirements are satisfied.
Smith replaces Chuck Wirick, who is now the village’s police chief. Wirick replaced former Chief Joe Cotterman, who resigned in 2017.
In other prescheduled business, several council members took the oath of office including Leisha Elchert, Jesse Fork, James Devine and Larry Waher. All appointees are incumbents and were chosen in the general election last November by the residents of Jackson Center.
Next council heard from Aaron Teders representing the the engineering firm Sawvel and Associates. Teders shared a study and overview of projected electrical costs and a rate design summary. The purpose of the study was to develop rates that are fair and equitable, modify those rates to reflect costs caused by each rate class while maintaining the financial integrity of the electrical system.
“We are constantly working to keep consumer electrical costs down while maintaining a high level of reliability,” said Village Administrator Bruce Metz. “Reliability is a key word for us, a word we live by; it is our priority and a huge consideration when planning for the future. This study will give us direction and advise us on how to update and improve our service and equipment as we plan to meet future demands in providing dependable and cost-effective service.”
Teders then presented a lengthy and informative report outlining the process of assigning the proportionate share of the costs of owning, operating, maintaining and upgrading the utility to the customers it serves. Teders compared figures from a rate study completed in 2013 noting comparisons in power supply cost increases and increases in customer loads, needed capital improvements, maintaining safe and reliable service and the cost of replacing the aged transformers and building a new substation. The study shows costs will go up with the largest increase being seen in industry and the larger power customers.
Metz acknowledged there will be some cost increases, “but it is necessary to keep the village in good shape for everyone regardless of their power demands.”
“While there will be increases in costs, it is an indication of growth which is a good problem to have; growth means jobs, and more opportunity and contributes to the overall health of our community,” said Mayor Scott Klopfenstein. “Along with progress comes change which sometimes brings growing pains, however, these changes will also have a positive effect over time making Jackson Center a better place to live and work. Improvements in our system will also provide a safe and trustworthy source of electrical service which is what everybody wants and needs.”
Metz also noted the need to “get the ball rolling” as soon as possible and that he would prepare an ordinance for council to consider at the next scheduled meeting. Electrical Superintendent Dave Overman concurred noting tentative plans to advertise for bids as early as April and eventually beginning construction sometime in July after all planning requirements are met so the sooner the project is initiated, the better.
Metz also noted the village will work with GPD Group Inc. as the electrical engineers for the substation project.
“We were extremely pleased with their personal view of this being their project as well as ours instilling an element of confidence in them to keep our best interest at heart; I’m sure they will do their best to provide good service and support,” said Metz
In other new business council approved the purchase of a new tractor and mower for the village as the amount of grass that will need mowed has increased from 30 to 58 acres with the completion of the new soccer fields, water retention basin, and City Park. Metz said the lowest bid for the new tractor and mower was submitted by Koenig Equipment of Botkins with the cost of the tractor being $30,012.71 and 12-foot mower at $18,200.
Council also approved an ordinance providing for the employment of Mike Burton as legal counsel for the next two years at the cost of $290/month.
Before going into an executive session to discuss the purchase or sale of real estate, council heard a report from Village Fire Chief Jerry Davis noting the fire department will hold their annual fund-raising Soup Supper on Jan. 27 from 4 to 7 p.m. All proceeds will be used to help local families in need.
“This is a great project with a admirable cause, we always have a great turnout and a lot of good local support and I want to thank everyone involved in advance for their attendance and support,” said Klopfenstein. “Don’t hesitate to tell others about this most worthy event and encourage them to attend.”
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.