New Bremen Council considers budget cuts

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman - For the Sidney Daily News

NEW BREMEN – Potentially deep budget cuts and employee layoffs were the main discussion at the Monday, May 11, New Bremen Council meeting.

Mayor Bob Parker said the Ohio Treasurer is projecting a 25% to 40% reduction in income taxes in the coming year. Parker said that if the reduction is 25%, it will result in approximately $1 million less to the village. The village budget in 2020 is $4.3 million and made up largely of income tax receipts.

The mayor said budget reductions had already begun, with three employees having been laid off, one each in public works, water and village office. He said Matt Lefeld, Utilities manager, had resigned from the village, resulting in more savings.

Parker scheduled a council budget meeting for Saturday, May 16, at 8:30 a.m. to discuss possible cuts.

Parker also said COVID-19 concerns dominate decisions on summer activities. The Summer Rec League is canceled, with contributors due to have their money refunded. The mayor also said they will cancel the summer concert series, pointing out that Minster already had canceled.

Parker said he hoped to get some updates this next week from the Governor’s office as to when and if they would open the municipal pool and the shelter houses.

Village Administrator Chris Dicke reported on village projects.

She said the Franklin Ash street project has crews working on ADA ramps, sidewalks, and curb and gutters, and they expect to begin asphalt work in about two weeks. She added that since the road base seems very solid, they are going to put down 6 inches of asphalt instead 7 inches, saving the village $25,000. Council did approve an extra $65,216 in payment to the contractor to cover extra work on the sanitary lines in this project.

Dicke also said work on the left turn addition on St Rt 274 at Crown Equipment’s entrance is expected to begin as soon as the Franklin/Ash work is done.

She said the new electrical substation at Herman is still about two weeks behind, so the substation might not be powered up until the third week in June. It was expected that work on the transmission line will start next week. Dicke said there was a mix-up in the project plans and six instead of four conduits had been installed at an extra cost of $14,460. The original plans had called for six conduits, then reduced to four in later plans.

In other action, Council approved the third and final reading of an ordinance for Medical Insurance premium payments. The agreement has the village paying 90% and employees paying 10%. Councilman Jacob Larger pointed out that the increase of employee share from 5% to 10% will not result in the employees making less money, since they had received a pay increase recently. The increased cost for a single person will be about $25 per month and $75 for family coverage.

Council also held their second reading on an ordinance which updated shelterhouse and Pavilion rental agreements and fees.

Due to a conflict with Memorial Day, Council agreed that their next meeting will be on Tuesday, May 26, at 6:30 p.m.

Council then adjourned for executive session to discuss property. No action was taken.

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.