JACKSON CENTER – 2019 has been a very busy year in the Village of Jackson Center as noted in regularly scheduled council meeting Nov. 25.
As part of its efforts to finish up year-end business, the village council heard the second readings of three proposed ordinances and received updates on a variety of projects that are nearly completed or have been finalized.
In keeping with the Thanksgiving holiday tradition, Councilman Larry Wahrer offered a heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving in the invocation, giving thanks to God for the abundance of goodness that abounds in the village and for the way of life everyone living there enjoys.
“Dear Heavenly Father, as we approach another Thanksgiving Day, we recognize and appreciate your goodness to us; not only in the wonderful things we enjoy here as individuals but also for the great life we are all allowed to live and experience from day to day here in Jackson Center and the surrounding community; we have seen another great year of goodness and progress, and we thank you for it,” Wahrer said.
After the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance, the meeting was called to order, and Wahrer presented the financial report.
“We had a busy month in October with a lot going on,” Wahrer said. “We had our share of red ink this past month with a lot of financial adjustments for things like the cost of the village’s part of the new turn lane at the Airstream facility, however, we also received a lot of money coming in from a grant to help pay that bill. We also settled up for the new village dump truck/snowplow so there was another noticeable expenditure. The good news is, overall we are above last year’s figures on income, so things are looking good overall.”
In old business, Council heard the second reading of a new ordinance that addresses adjusting the rates, terms and conditions for electric service provided by the Village of Jackson Center.
“Nothing has really changed since the first reading of this ordinance,” Village Administrator Bruce Metz said. “We have looked things over more closely, and I’m trying to make sure nothing went unnoticed; as always our goal is to provide the most reliable electrical service to our residents and manufacturing customers at the best possible price. This is an annual process, and after it’s all said and done our adjustment in cost is very minimal considering the advances we have made; our rates will go from $11.67 per KWH to $11.73, and the residential customer charge per month for maintaining our electrical system only goes up $2; that’s a small increase and a small price to pay for the safe and reliable source of energy we enjoy as a village.”
Council also heard the second readings of two other ordinances, one authorizing Metz to enter into an annual contract with Stokes Township in Logan County for fire protection and another to approve fire protection for Jackson Township for another five years. Metz explained the situation is an ongoing one with few if any changes expected.
“This is just part of our ongoing commitment to help keep everyone safe in our village and local community regardless of when or where the need arises,” Metz said.
Lastly, Council heard the second reading of an ordinance to make appropriations for current and other expenses in the Village of Jackson Center for the year ending Dec. 31, 2020. Metz explained this too is business as usual in making sound financial plans for the upcoming year.
“We will be opening bids submitted for the repairs and reconstruction of College, Jackson and Washington streets at the Shelby Count Commissioner’s office in Sidney tomorrow. Those are just three of the projects slated for next year’s budget. The report before you is a summary of the budget thus far and the plans we have for all the village departments and the general fund. As usual it looks like we have another busy year ahead, but thankfully we have a great village staff that strives to make every last dollar count. Our fiscal officer, Bev Wren, is keeping an eye out for any errors; though it normally goes well, I have been known to make a mistake every now and then,” Metz said with a smile.
In committee reports, Zoning Enforcement Officer and Community Development Director Ed Maxwell reported a zoning issue in the village had been resolved, noting that zoning issues are usually the result of misinformation or confusion and that he was working to improve things in that area.
“For instance, we are currently working on summarizing the specifics of the Community Reinvestment Act, its laws and how it can be used effectively for future development in our village,” Maxwell said. “In our upcoming report we will show how it works and how it gets things done. People don’t always realize what to do or how to get information to help them in their decision making process. When published and released we know it will be a big help for both residential and commercial applications.”
In the Administrator’s Report, Metz outlined the current state of affairs in the village and the progress being made.
“We are still trimming trees and hope to finish up very soon,” Metz said. “The new substation will be in full operation as of Tuesday, there will be no interruption in the power supply, and we are thankful this project is finished. I want to point out that this is a major step up in our infrastructure and maintaining a reliable and very affordable source of energy for many, many years to come. Everyone in Jackson Center whether residential, industrial or commercial benefits from this project; we have a new $3.5 million substation, and our annual electric bill will only go up a few cents per kilowatt hour; that’s outstanding.”
Mayor Scott Klopfenstein also expressed his appreciation in how the whole process of constructing a new substation played out.
“I just want to say that I couldn’t be more proud of our village staff, council and administration for doing a great job,” Klopfenstein said. “I remember going out to Jerry Drive and looking at the proposed location and imagining what a challenge it was going to be to get that job done. At first it seemed overwhelming; there was so much work to do to prepare for the project, let alone the actual construction. But, from the beginning I had faith in our people, and as usual, they did an excellent job. From cleaning off the property to throwing the switch on the new transformer the process went smoothly, and I want to personally thank them for a job well done.”
Metz said things were going well at the water treatment plants, and the park staff is already working on equipment and other preparations for next year.
Lastly, Metz said things were going well in the street department, noting that weather permitting the street department will continue working through the winter on preparations for next year’s street projects. Wahrer expressed his appreciation for the leaf pickup.
“Our street department did a fantastic job cleaning up the leaves this year,” Wahrer said. “They did it in a very timely manner while the leaves were dry, and once again we can thank them for a job well done. It really looks nice; thank you.”
The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 9 in the council chambers. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.