PORT JEFFERSON – The Port Jefferson Village Council moved forward with plans to spruce things up a bit at the local community center at its regularly scheduled council meeting Monday evening.
The hall was built in the late-1950s and then expanded in the mid-1970s. For many years it was a popular venue and served the village and local community as a meeting place for for parties, dances, wedding receptions, reunions and other like activities and was occupied nearly every weekend.
However, over time the center experienced less and less activity due to lack of demand for its services until the village council ruled it would no longer be available for rent in December 2017.
Still the Port Jefferson Fire Department wanted to continue using the hall for fundraisers like preparing and selling chicken dinners, and the New Life church needed a place to hold its annual community Christmas party so it remained open. The hall also still was used as the polling station for local elections, and village council meetings are held there the first Monday evening of every month.
Last fall Mayor Steve Butterfield and council members agreed the hall was a genuine asset to the village and local community and that it was time to make some long overdue improvements if they were going to keep using it. Later council approved several updates including a major overhaul of the heating and air-conditioning system, improvements in the restrooms and some other general clean-up, repairs and maintenance issues were addressed.
Next, Butterfield looked into the cost for having the interior re-painted, applying a new permanent epoxy finish on the floor and installing a water softener to prevent iron staining on the newly installed toilet fixtures. Monday evening, council gave the nod to move forward with those improvements, a resolution will be drawn up to expedite the proposed improvements.
The regularly scheduled meeting was opened with prayer by veteran councilman and local pastor David Clem, who expressed his sorrow and sympathy concerning the recent killing spree that took place last weekend in Dayton. Butterfield then led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The floor was opened for public comments and questions, and Ernie Jones, local pastor of the New Life Baptist Church, expressed his appreciation to council for its support and cooperation associated with holding the inaugural community garage sale.
“The event was a big success, well attended with a lot of people stopping by to participate,” Jones said. “We just want to thank council for their consideration.”
Jones then asked council for its approval to hold another garage sale on Sept. 14. Council approved the request.
Jones said the church will have a Harvest Day Celebration on Oct. 12 and the annual Christmas party on Dec. 14. Council also gave its approval to hold the Christmas party at the Community Center.
The next community garage sale is scheduled for Sept. 14 at the New Life Baptist Church parking lot east of the church. The event is open to residents of Port Jefferson and those living in the local area.
Set up begins at 7:30 a.m., and the sale will be open from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. There is no cost to reserve a table, set-up spots or for participation; all items not sold must be removed by 4 p.m. the day of the event. Doughnuts and coffee will be served from 8-11 a.m.
Anyone interested in reserving a spot may call 937-508-3218; if no one answers, individuals should leave a voice mail and someone will return the call.
The church also is planning several other events including a family movie night and a Thanksgiving and Christmas food basket outreach. For more information, go to the New Life Baptist Church PJBC on Facebook.
In the Mayor’s Report, Butterfield reported that out of the monies taken in from Mayor’s Court for traffic violations, the village received $430; $180 went to the State of Ohio, $30 to the police department and $15 to the village computer fund.
Butterfield received council’s approval to attend an annual class at the Ohio Municipal League to secure a permit to sit as magistrate and oversee the Mayor’s Court. Attending the class is mandatory for those who wish to reside over a mayor’s court; the cost to attend is $90.
Next the mayor announced the village received a check from the Ohio Liquor Control for $3,775 and that fees for all liquor permits for Hussey’s Restaurant, The PJ General Store and the 47 Bar and Grill are now paid in full and up to date. Fees collected by the State of Ohio for three businesses totaled more than $14,000, much of which was a back payment from the 47 Bar and Grill whose liquor permit was reinstated after two years of non-compliance.
In new business, Andy Schuman with Choice One Engineering reported plans for the reconstruction of a small portion of South Elm Street were complete and ready for the village to submit for an application for an Ohio Public Works Commission grant to help pay for the project. The estimated cost will be $116,000, and if the grant goes through it will pay 90 percent of the cost. The village will be responsible for 10 percent plus the engineering fee of $9,100.
“If all goes well the project should be initiated by mid-July of next year,” Schuman said.
Before adjourning Butterfield said he had two announcements concerning the village police department. The first was he received a resignation letter from part-time patrolman Logan Laux.
The mayor then announced that with council’s approval, the village would hire a new police officer who recently graduated from the police academy. Without further ado, Dawn Hunkler was sworn in as a member of the Port Jefferson Police Department. Hunkler is from the Sidney area and will serve as a part-time patrolman for the village.
In closing, Mayor Butterfield reported there had been a rash of break-ins, vandalism and theft in the village and asked that anyone noticing any suspicious activity or seeing any criminal activity contact the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department immediately.
The next village council meeting is slated for 7 p.m. Sept 9 at the Port Jefferson Community Center.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.