NEW KNOXVILLE – Councilman Duane Steinecker was named president of the New Knoxville Council at its meeting Wednesday night, Jan. 8.
Steinecker replaced Councilman Mark Howe, who chose not to run for council again. Tabled were committee appointments for finance and audit, sewer, streets and sidewalks, electric and water departments, and zoning and planning. Each council member is required to chair a committee.
Mayor Keith Leffel said the search is still on-going for someone to fill the vacant council seat vacated by Howe. He told council that he has someone he plans to speak to about the position this week. Anyone interested in serving on council is invited to contact the village administrative office.
In his report to council, Village Administrator Rex Katterheinrich said the last of the six new street lights is being put in place by village employees, and once electric power is transferred, the old green poles will be taken down.
He also said AMP Ohio has a certification program for elected and appointed officials, and he suggested council members might be interested in taking these seven two-hour webinars. Councilwoman Carolyn Bock said she would like more information.
New Knoxville Police Chief Chris McKinney reported that in 2019 his department received 311 calls for service, which is about the same as 2018. Of those calls, the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office handled 28.
The chief did say there was a significant uptick in the number of juveniles charged with criminal offenses. Juveniles accounted for 10 of the 11 arrested and charged with a crime.
McKinney said five more cameras were installed in 2019, including three at the village park and one each on Knoxville Avenue, Bremen Street and at the industrial park. He said the current cameras, especially at the park, had been very effective, with almost 100 percent of vandalism crimes solved. Signs notifying the presence of cameras are posted at both park entrances.
He asked for suggestions from council about the location of other cameras. Bock asked McKinney to consider adding cameras directed at the restroom areas.
McKinney also said the police department is adjusting to the loss of one officer, who resigned in September. He said the three officers now working also had cleared up any work conflicts they had encountered. Finally, he said the department collected $869 in traffic fines.
The next council meeting will be Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 7:30 p.m.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.