NEW BREMEN – Plans for the location of a new electrical substation north of the village brought approximately 30 people to the New Bremen Council meeting Monday night.
After considerable discussion, Council passed a first reading of the ordinance which approves the village’s planning commission plan to acquire the land needed, which currently is owned by Crown Industries.
Electrical consulting firm GPD Group of Akron had released a report recommending the new electric substation be located at the intersection of Herman and Pearl streets, south of the Speedway bowling alley.
Residents expressed concerns that the location would negatively impact the home values in the neighborhood. The two existing substations are both at the southern edge of the village.
GPD report had recommended option 1 at Herman Street of the six options for location of the new substation along with estimated construction costs for the first four options. Mayor Jeff Pape said since the report had come out that day, council was not ready to endorse any options without further discussions with property owners who might be affected.
The report recommended the Herman Street location because of the highest efficiency in transmitting electricity, saying that the construction of the substation should be as close to the (electrical) load as possible. The estimated cost for this option is $5,185,000. The land to be used belongs to Crown and would be purchased by the village.
Other options would place the substation farther from residential areas, but would increase construction costs, electric load loss, and necessitate the purchase of private property.
Further, the report said — while a 2018 report had shown the village would need to increase the electrical service in 5 to 10 years — the 500,000 square foot expansion of Crown Industries had pushed the time forward to the next year.
Residents were questioning how big the substation would be, how loud the facility would be when in operation, and the strength of electrical and magnetic fields (EMF) associated with the substation.
Pape said the new substation would be about the size of the one owned by DP&L on Amsterdam Road south of the village, except with only two 30-foot columns. He said the balance of the substation would be around 20 feet. Pape said he would have to research the expected deicible level. As to EMF frequencies, Pape said that EMF frequencies were everywhere and that unless the village locates the substation properly, there would be even more transmission lines through the village.
In other action, the village noted the Bremenfest Park Concession Stand near the ball diamonds had received a Auglaize County Health Department Gold Plate Award and congratulated village employee Mike Hibner for the work done.
Pape also reported the village had received both a $500,000 grant and $500,000 low interest loan from the Ohio Public Works Commission. The funding will be used for a 2020 renovation project on Ash and Franklin streets.
Council approved a second reading of an ordinance to place on the November ballot a renewal a 2 mil levy for the Ambulance and Emergency services in the village. The five-year levy would cost $240 annually on a $100,000 home and bring in $165,000 per year.
In a related issue, Pape said the village was entering into a study with Minster and surrounding townships to consider the merits of consolidating their EMS and Fire services. Pape said the action is considered necessary since getting volunteers was becoming more and more difficult as the state of Ohio increased qualifications and training. The study is being coordinated by Minster Village Administrator Don Harrod.
In her report to council, Village Administrator Chris Dicke said the yard waste area could not accept stones and broken concrete anymore. She said they could accept grass clippings, brush, leaves and clean stumps. She also emphasized that the yard was for the use of village residents and to report to the police any out-of-town people dumping in the yard.
Council passed third reading of a resolution to pay $62,000 for engineering for the planned state Route 274 left turn lane in front of Crown Industries. Also approved was a third reading of an ordinance amending the employee handbook to include credit card policies and performance evaluations.
Tabled was a handbook amendment to include Water and Wastewater plant weekend overtime policies. Also tabled was a first reading to approve an ordinance for seeking an electric substation loan.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.