NEW BREMEN — An ordinance for a 10 percent increase in 2019 water and wastewater rates had its first reading at Monday night’s New Bremen Village Council meeting. Thereafter the council plans to raise rates annually by 3 percent for the following three years.
Before the vote, Mayor Jeff Pape said the village had not raised their water/wastewater rates since 2013 and while their water utilities still functioned adequately for the village’s needs, the village officials wanted to avoid a major hit in the future. He said they plan to begin with a study to find potential issues in the current system. Finally, he emphasized that the rate increase affected only water utilities with an average water bill of $25 seeing a $2.50 increase in 2019.
New Bremen Police Chief Mike Skinner told council that officer Micheal Porter had taken a full time position with the St. Marys police force. His last day will be Sept. 16. Skinner said he was recommending that part time patrolman Derek Dennis be moved into the vacant full-time position.
In his report to council, Pape said he had received a letter from cable provider Spectrum that said the company planned to go 100 percent digital starting around Oct. 2. He said the letter indicated there would be a certain time period for costumers to receive a free digital box that will allow un-interrupted cable service. Those with questions can contact Spectrum either through their web site at Spectrum\digital.com or calling 844-278-3409. Pape also said his August Mayor’s court had collected $1,681 in fines and forfeitures.
Village administrator Chris Dicke said that the Eastmoor/Front Streets project was progressing despite rain delays. Curb installation and asphalt laying were expected to begin next week. She said road crews had found quite a lot of bad sub-grade between Walnut and Park, possibly requiring a change order to help pay for the extra work.
Dicke said two painting projects are to be completed this month.
Eighty-eight decorative street light poles along state Routes 66 and 274 will be repainted starting next Monday. Work is expected to be completed in ten working days. Also, a water tower painting project is expected to begin Tuesday. The repainting will include cardinal heads similar to the other town water tower. The water tower work has a life expectancy of 20 years.
The Wierth Ditch project to replace the 18-inch drain pipe from Plum to the village’s southern boundary began work last week, she said, but the heavy rains has delayed the work some what.
Finally, Dicke said that a utility cost tracking software upgrade was almost complete and training would begin soon. She said the action was originally an EPA requirement for water utilities but it was decided to use this tracking program for all utilities in the village.
In other action, the council approved readings of three annexation ordinances; the first was a second reading to annex the 2.04 acre Gagel property near the YMCA south of the village, the second a third reading to annex 22.719 acres south of town, and the third reading of an ordinance to annex lots 1 and 2 in the Dicke subdivision.
The council also approved a second reading of an ordinance to purchase a $101,190 dump truck from Rush Truck Centers. Other actions were approval of second readings of the following; an ordinance to accept local government funds and rates as set by Auglaize County Budget Commission, an ordinance to amend 2018 appropriations for the Front/Eastmoor Drive reconstruction, a resolution to apply for OPWC grants for Franklin and Ash Street work, and an ordinance to adopt American Legal Code of Ordinances for the municipality of New Bremen.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.