JACKSON CENTER — Barring an emergency, the Jackson Center Village Council met for the last time for 2019. Council met to tie up all loose ends before heading into 2020 which promises to be a busy year.
Coouncil heard a report from David Klopfenstein, chief of Anna Rescue, before moving on to address three ordinances in the old business portion of the meeting.
Klopfenstein reported that though voters in Jackson Township approved a .2 mil levy in the last regular election, it wasn’t going to be enough to meet the current needs of the squad.
“Though the levy passed, our plans to bring all those using our services up to a 1 mil level by the end of 2020 were not met. We had initially requested Jackson Township ask their residents to increase their millage rate from .5 to 1.0 mil, and hoped to eventually get all five townships in our district up to the one mil level of support,” said Klopfenstein. “It was our understanding that Jackson Twp. would put the .5 mil levy up to a vote as promised, however, at some point and time before the election they changed the wording of the ballot and reduced the amount requested to .2 mil instead of the desired .5.
“I came here tonight to let everyone know if we do not get all five townships up to that 1 mil level by the end of 2020, we will have to sever our ties with those who do not comply and let them seek services elsewhere. Our equipment is old, our overhead is increasing steadily, and our income has not kept up with the demands,” he said. “At this point I can’t speak for the actions of Jackson Township, it’s not clear why they made those changes on the ballot but we just cannot move forward with the funding we currently have. Our trucks are 17 to 22 years old, we need financial help to fill the gaps that grant funding won’t cover.
“We provide the services needed it’s up to the townships to help provide the money we need to operate. We have really tried to use our income wisely, to do the best we can with what we have and be transparent about where every dollar is spent. We are truly grateful for all that everyone has done in the past, but if the local residents want safe, reliable, professional emergency service in their time of need, they are going to have to lend a hand with the cost of doing business. Sure it’s going to cost a little more but when your life or the life of a loved one is on the line, a slight increase in millage rates is a small price to pay,” Klopfenstein said.
JC Mayor Scott Klopfenstein expressed his appreciation for the level of service that Anna Rescue has always provided and also thanked Airstream’s medical emergency staff who partners with Anna Rescue for their contribution noting two lives were recently saved by Airstream’s medical team in two separate situations.
In closing, the Anna Rescue chief said there will be an advisory board meeting at the Jackson Township building on Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.
“We hope to lay all the cards on the table and end the confusion that seems to be hindering our progress in keeping up with the times and providing the very best in emergency medical service. Hopefully we can come to a defined agreement on how to move forward; this is a community issue and I encourage the public to attend and let their voices be heard. Regardless of the outcome, the voters should be allowed the opportunity to cast their votes at election time and decide the future of their health and well-being,” David Klopfenstein said. He expressed his gratitude to the village of Jackson Center and said he would be back at the next council meeting to share the outcome of the upcoming meeting.
In old business council heard the third reading of three ordinances and passed all three of the measures. The first ordinance set the rates and terms of electrical service, the second authorized Village Administrator Bruce Metz to enter into a contract with Jackson Township (5 years) and Stokes Township in Logan County (1 year) for fire protection outside the city limits. The third ordinance approved making appropriations for the year ending December 31st 2019.
In new business, council declared an emergency and approved an ordinance authorizing certain adjustments in appropriations of public funds for the village ending Dec. 31, 2019. They also passed two emergency resolutions, one authorizing Tom’s Construction of St. Henry for the Jackson, Washington, and College Streets improvement projects slated for next year. Tom’s provided the lowest of 11 bids with a proposed cost of $1,105, 453.00. The second resolution passed approved the training schedule for village employees to participate in a safety training program with the American Municipal Power Inc. (AMP).
In the administrators report Metz noted the village staff was on top of things as usual and all projects were going well thanks to their expertise.
Before adjourning Metz noted all council business was caught up for the year and unless there was an emergency there was no need to hold the last regularly scheduled council meeting. Council concurred and moved to cancel the meeting.
In closing, Scott Klopfenstein expressed his gratitude for all that council, the village administration, and village staff had accomplished for the year 2019.
“It’s hard to believe another year has passed so quickly, I just want to personally thank each and every person who contributed to another great year for the Village of Jackson Center. We are very blessed in that Airstream chose our town as the location to build their new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility; the new plant is amazing! I sometimes think we take a lot for granted in that respect, we have much to be thankful for in how it will provide numerous jobs and improve the lifestyles of those living in and around Jackson Center. I want to thank Airstream for their decision and everyone who helped bring the project to fruition,” he said.
“Of course another great accomplishment was the construction of our new electrical substation; owning and operating our own electrical system is a huge plus and our residents, businesses, and manufacturers will enjoy the rewards of that for many years to come. Last but certainly not least, I’m thankful for the residential growth in or town, and I appreciate the folks who have chosen to call this place home, to live and stay in Jackson center; thank you! These are just a few of the highlights for 2019, it’s been a great year defined by the efforts of a lot of great people who worked hard to make it that way. I’m proud of our village but more so proud of the people who make it what it is, thank you! I am looking forward to another great year in 2020 and wish everyone all the best for a very Merry Christmas, and a happy and blessed New Year,” Scott Klopfenstein said.
Council’s next meeting will be Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers;.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.