NEW KNOXVILLE – The mayors of Minster, New Bremen and New Knoxville all said their villages had successful years in 2019 and previewed upcoming projects at a State of the Villages breakfast Thursday morning.
The Southwestern Auglaize County Chamber of Commerce hosted Thursday’s event, which also included updates from Sen. Rob Portman, Rep. Jim Jordan and state Rep. Susan Manchester.
New Knoxville Mayor Keith Leffel announced his village eclipsed $400,000 in income tax revenue for the first time in village history. New Knoxville received more than $410,000, an increase of approximately 2 percent compared to 2018.
New Knoxville had $3.2 million in revenue in 2019 and $2.7 million in expenditures. The village’s revenue was up 15 percent while expenditures were up 14 percent.
“I want to thank all the businesses and thank all those individuals that invested in New Knoxville and really helped to have a successful 2019,” Leffel said.
Minster Mayor Dennis Kitzmiller said his village received $4.1 million in income tax revenue in 2019. It also received $293,000 in revenue from the Minster/Jackson Township Fire and EMS Department levies that passed in 2018.
New Bremen Mayor Robert Parker, who was elected in November to replace the retiring Jeff Pape, said his village had a decrease of more than $100,000 in tax receipts in 2019.
“The strong economy has kept our tax receipts above the $4 million mark, but we can’t rest on our laurels,” Parker said. “We have to stay fiscally responsible and prepare for a downturn when it eventually does come.”
Aiding the strong financial numbers for the villages was expansion from residents and businesses.
Kitzmiller announced Minster issued 34 building permits in 2019. Eight were for single family homes with a total value of almost $5.4 million, and three were for commercial and industrial projects with a value of $3.2 million.
New Knoxville issued 13 building permits, Leffel said, which amounted to an investment of more than $3 million in the community.
Street improvements were among the biggest projects for the villages in 2019 and will continue to be a focus in 2020.
The Ohio Department of Transportation paved Main Street through New Knoxville in 2019, which led the village to work on projects including new electric poles and signage. The village also extended Buckeye Street in the industrial park to accommodate Advanced Machine Solutions.
New Knoxville is working to address storm sewer drainage issues on Bremen Street in 2020 and might widen the road.
Minster began the reconstruction of Second Street and Garfield Street in 2019, which includes the installation of a large sanitary sewer. While the streets are torn up, the village is installing new water lines, storm sewers, curbs, gutters and sidewalks.
Minster’s Second Street project from Main Street to the canal was completed in 2019, and work will be completed from Main Street to Garfield Street this year.
Minster added new curbs and gutters along Ohio Street and repaved Ohio Street and Seventh Street. In 2020, the village hopes to improve more streets.
New Bremen hopes to have reconstruction of Franklin and Ash streets completed by July. It’s also installing new traffic poles and traffic lights at the intersections of Main and Monroe streets and Monroe and Washington streets.
“While there were no major projects undertaken in 2019, there was a lot of planning and activity that will be happening in 2020,” Parker said of New Bremen’s activities.
In 2019 New Bremen purchased property for a new electrical substation that is being built. The community also saw ground broke for the school’s new kindergarten through eighth grade building, which will be completed this year.
Minster also began work on a new substation project, replacing the substation on North Ohio Street in a $2 million project that will be completed this year. The village has improved its electrical system and completely rebuilt the underground electric service at Parkview Acres and Rosebud Acres subdivisions with new lines and new transformers.
Minster also is constructing eight Pickleball courts and two basketball courts at Four Seasons Park. Last year the village completed renovation of the gazebo in Minster Machine Centennial Park with a new roof, railing and steps.
“2019 was a tremendous year for the village as we continue to work to provide improvements to the quality of life for our citizens and hope to continue to add to that in 2020,” Kitzmiller said. “I would like to thank all the residents and the businesses for making Minster a great community.”
The Auglaize-Mercer County YMCA managed New Bremen’s pool in 2019 and will do so again in 2020. New Bremen’s new snow machine was operational for the first time in January 2019 at the community’s new sledding hill, White Mountain.
“What a joy it was to see so much activity on that hill last winter,” Parker said. “So far this winter really isn’t cooperating from a temperature perspective, but we hope to get that fired up very soon again.”
New Bremen got its leaf truck back following an accident a couple years ago, made aeration improvements at the sewage plant, had access controls put on all village buildings, implemented software to track work orders and increased pay for its fire chief and assistant fire chief this past year.
New Knoxville ran electric for The Estates of Northfield Place subdivision in 2019.
Leffel said he’s looking forward to the Auglaize County commissioners completing the airport terminal project, which he said will be an asset for New Knoxville.
Minster painted its Ohio Street water tower, reviewed its zoning code and created a village mapping system in 2019.
The Minster and New Bremen mayors said they’re working together on a fire and EMS consolidation study as part of efforts to share resources and save money.
Manchester, a Republican who represents Ohio’s 84th House District, recorded a video that was played during Thursday’s meeting. She is in Columbus as the Ohio House and Senate work on education issues she hopes will be resolved soon.
In her video, Manchester discussed legislation she sponsored including House Bill 8 that passed unanimously through the House and now is in the Senate. It would reform the way Ohio handles foster care.
She also discussed House Bill 183, which would award a tax credit for landowners who sell or rent land or assets to beginning farmers. It passed unanimously through the House Agriculture Committee, and she hopes for a vote from the full House soon.
“I’ve been able to pass a few pieces of legislation that I’m really proud of and excited about,” Manchester said of her first year in office.
Cameron Warner, district director for Jordan, spoke on behalf of the Republican congressman. Jordan, who represents Ohio’s 4th congressional district, also recorded a video in which he praised President Donald Trump and the economy. He criticized impeachment proceedings.
“I apologize for not being able to be with you,” Jordan said. “I was looking forward to it, but there’s this little trial going on in the United States Senate that has consumed so much of our time, frankly for me, it’s been just four months since this thing started back in September.”
Cayla Shreffler, the northwest Ohio district representative for Portman, appeared on behalf of the Republican senator. She said Portman had 21 bills and three amendments signed into law in 2019. In the past nine years, Portman has had 126 bills and 46 amendments signed into law.
“In total he’s introduced more than 400 bills and more than 300 of those have been bipartisan, which is a real priority for us,” Shreffler said.
Portman’s efforts include combating the drug abuse crisis, creating jobs, helping Americans save for retirement and protecting non-profits and religious organizations from terrorism.
The State of the Villages event will be rebroadcast on NKTelco Channel 3 and 503 at 9 a.m. Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday and 8 p.m. Monday.
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