JACKSON CENTER — A brief discussion associated with the railroad crossing on state Route 274 on the east side of town was one of many topics during Monday night’s Jackson center Village Council meeting
During his administrator’s report, Bruce Metz mentioned an ongoing problem with the railroad crossing on East Pike Street and having difficulty getting any action on the part of the railroad owner to make some needed repairs. The issue, said Metz, is creating a traffic hazard and a danger to pedestrians using the sidewalks next to the tracks.
The railroad owns the right-of-way where the tracks are located and is responsible for any maintenance or repairs.
Mayor Scott Klopfenstein asked Metz how things were going with getting the crossing fixed as it has been a problem since the first part of the year. Metz reported he had been in contact with the railroad officials numerous times and for a while it seemed as though it would be fixed right away, however, the repair crew has yet to show up.
“We had at least one person file a report of a tire being destroyed as a result of the crossing over the tracks and everyone familiar with the situation is driving way off to the side of the road onto the sidewalk to avoid damaging their vehicles,” Metz said.
“What’s it going to take to get those people out here to get the job done, a bad car wreck or someone getting killed by a car driving on the sidewalk. We need to make them understand we have two bad crossings in this town and we need them fixed now,” said Klopfenstein.
Metz noted there were tentative plans to repair the crossing during the annual July shut-down at Honda.
“The railroad authorities said it would only take a day and a half to do the crossing on state Route 274 but that week came and went and they never showed up. I contacted them again right after that and the manager there said he would get back with us but we have not heard anything despite several other phone calls.” Metz said.
Police Chief Chuck Wirick asked the mayor if there was anything he could do to help put pressure on the railroad officials to get the crossing repaired. Klopfenstein said he would look into it and one way or another they would get this issue settled soon.
Council passed an ordinance adopting amendments to the personnel policy and procedure manual for employees of the village of Jackson Center. Council did away with the “pool of hours” method of paying village employees for situations outside normal working hours like on weekends or emergencies. A new system will be implemented paying the employees for an extra three hours biweekly to even out the process and make sure the procedure is more streamlined.
Council also updated job classifications and rates for all village employees including implementing a two-tier pay scale for the village administrator much like the pay scales already in place for all the other village postions. The ordinance also covers a 2 percent cost of living increase for all village employees.
Council also passed an ordinance establishing a new rate class for the usage of water for the sprinkling of large athletic fields. Following the example of other municipalities in the area, the village will decrease the cost of water used for sprinkling by 50 percent. This applies to the school soccer field and some other areas in the city parks.
In committee reports Leisha Elchert, Safety Committee chairwoman, and Ed Maxwell, Zoning Officer and Community Development director, both expressed their gratitude and appreciation for all those who contributed to the monument rededication ceremony for Gary W Gross, a local resident and war hero who lost his life while serving in Vietnam in 1968.
Elchert pointed out that even though the event was postponed due to weather conditions. Wirick coordinated all the necessary changes for the event.
“It was a beautiful day and I want to thank everyone for coming to honor Gary Gross, the new monument is a reflection of our community spirit and appreciation for those who gave all for our country,” Elchert said.
Maxwell, who worked with Gross’ family, thanked everyone involved noting,
“It was a community effort and a reflection of how well our residents and Gary’s family members worked together to make this event a huge success.”
“The new memorial is first class all the way, very professional, very well done. I’d like to give a big thank you to everyone who had a part in this,” said Klopfenstein. “Those who attended would have to admit that it was a moving experience and a very meaningful day, one that will be remembered for many, many, years to come. The new monument garden area is a thing of beauty to behold day or night and reflects our community’s appreciation for those who served or are serving our country in the military.”
Before an executive session for the purpose of discussing pending litigation, Metz reported on a number of ongoing projects in and around the village including progress at the new Airstream facility.
“Work for construction of the new turn lane at Airstream began today and is expected to be finished by Labor Day weather permitting and if everything goes as planned,” Metz said.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.