JACKSON CENTER — Zac Smith was appointed to a full-time position with the Jackson Center Police Department at Monday night’s council meeting.
Police Chief Chuck Wirick noted Smith had received a superior rating during his six-month probation period which began on Jan. 8, 2018, and presented a letter of recommendation to council concerning the appointment.
“Zac has done a great job so far and has actually gone above and beyond what was expected even asking for more responsibilities along the way. He has faithfully served the village for over six months and I am confident he will continue to excel in the execution of his duties,” Wirick said.
Mayor Scott Klopfenstein shared the same opinion.
“It is a pleasure for me to ask council to approve this request for a full-time appointment and I personally want to than you Zac for all you have done and how you do it,” said Klopfenstein.
Smith received unanimous support and got several nice compliments from council on his level of service.
In old business heard the third reading of an ordinance prohibiting the dumping or spreading of grass clippings or yard waste onto the streets which has a detrimental effect on the efficiency of storm drains; the grass clippings build up at the catch basins preventing the flow of surface water which can result in flooding and has the potential to create dangerous situations from water backing up onto roadways and lawns.
The ordinance was created to set guidelines for disposing of grass clippings and yard waste in a way to keep it off the streets. First time offenders will be subject to a written warning and may also be subject to an immediate fine of $25 at the discretion of the Mayor or enforcing officer. There will be a mandatory fine of $25 for second time violators, and a $50 dollar mandatory fine for all subsequent offences thereafter. If violators refuse to clean up after being notified the village will charge $75 per hour to do so and the fee will be added to their taxes.
Since the ordinance is declared an emergency it went into effect immediately after ratification.
Klopfenstein said there had not been any problems that he was aware of and that once the word got out residents were very cooperative about taking all their yard waste to the dumpster provided at the sewage plant for that purpose.
“I want to thank everyone for keeping the grass off the streets, this allows our storm drains to work properly and keeps the surface water out of basements and off the roadways,” Klopfenstein said.
In new business Village administrator Bruce Metz shared information about the proposed implementation of TOWNE Answering Service an automated phone/computer municipal alert messaging system designed to reach residents quickly, efficiently, in a cost effective manner via text, email, or phone call.
“This system is like the one the school uses but is for municipal services. We can use it for routine announcements or notifications about community events like a blood drive or other things like planned power outages and for unseen things like a water main break; regardless of the situation, residents will be provided with information concerning the issues and what to expect. The system works off the internet so we don’t need to install any new equipment; the initial set-up cost for the village is $350, and $1 per resident; there are no annual fees or long-term commitments or penalties if we decide the system is not for us,” Metz said.
Council gave Metz the nod on moving forward with the project which was also recommended by Wirick.
“While it will be handy for regular announcements we can also use if for emergency situations as well. Residents can be notified immediately about things like a missing person or other critical situations that require immediate action. It’s another tool that will benefit everyone living here,” Wirick said.
In other new business, Metz shared plans about a proposed appropriations amendment to cover costs associated with outfitting the new soccer fields with markers, goals, trash cans and dog waste containers.
“I’ll put some figures together for the next meeting, we are excited about the soccer complex and season starts before long, we want to be ready,” Metz said. He is also waiting to hear about approval for grant dollars applied for to build restrooms, a concession stand and a storage building for supplies.
In continuing with a report on the new park, Metz and Klopfenstein discussed the need to finalize choosing a name for it. Council had posted a notice in the village newsletter asking for suggestions for a name and council voted on a field of a dozen submissions. “Tiger Trail Park” was chosen and Metz said he would get to work on getting a new sign for the park.
In committee reports Zoning Officer Ed Maxwell reported on plans to hold a public hearing and special council meeting on Aug. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers to discuss a possible zoning change to allow for new multi-family apartments to be built buy Ratermann Custom Home Builders Inc. of Sidney. The change in zoning will affect 2.9 acres on the east side of town and includes a proposal to change the American Legion zoning from residential-1 to residential-3.
In a wage and benefit committee report Councilman Ken Gloyeske reported on a proposed recommendation for a 2 percent cost of living wage increase for all full-time employees and the fire chief along with a promotion in rank for the village administrator. This is the first increase in two years and the details will be submitted at a later meeting for consideration.
In departmental reports Wirick said the police department will hold its annual “National Night Out” at the JC Municipal pool on Aug. 7 from 5 to 9 p.m.
“The National Night out is designed to inform the public on all the services available and improve citizen/police relations; we are expecting a nice crowd, so come on out and join in the festivities,” the chief said.
A variety of safety vehicles will be on display with staff to answer any questions. Hotdogs and hamburgers will be provided along with numerous games, activities and a DJ. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.
Before adjournment, Metz updated the council on a variety of projects around town including plans to open bids for the new electrical substation, updates on signage and banners along the streets and a proposed tour of the solar field after the next regularly scheduled meeting on Aug. 13. There will also be a brief planned power outage next week with the time to be announced at a later time, the outage is expected to last for 15 minutes or less.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.