NEW BREMEN – Thanks to incoming New Bremen Council member Tess Elshoff, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose did the swearing-in honors for all four council members beginning their new terms. The ceremony was held at the Bicycle Museum in New Bremen Wednesday night.
Besides taking on new duties as a council member, Elshoff has served as the Northwest Ohio Regional Liaison for the Ohio Secretary of State since July 2021. She said she had asked LaRose to do her swearing in but then the secretary offered to do the honors for all four.
Two of the council members are starting their first terms as members and two are returning. Each talked about their public service perspective before and after that night’s event.
New members Tess Elshoff and Dan Condon say they are both eager to begin their roles as New Bremen Council members. Both said they volunteered for the positions through a sense of duty when two Council seats were vacated due to retirement. They ran unopposed in the Nov. 2 General Election.
Condon said he wants to help do something about getting people more involved in the affairs of the Village, not only in governmental roles such as Council.
“I would like to see more involvement in current clubs, associations, and churches in the community, and perhaps developing new opportunities to uplift and assist others or creating new platforms for individuals to share their unique talents with the community,” he said.
He also plans to be a steward of the village’s funding, seeing to it that the money is spent wisely.
Condon has been a resident of New Bremen since his family bought Miller Insurance in1993. He said that 30-plus years of involvement in business and engaging with people will be part of the talents he brings to Council.
Elshoff also says her many years of experience will be helpful to the village in finding opportunities for relationships and partnerships. Before serving as a representative of the Ohio Secretary of State, she was a Workforce of Development Specialist for Crown Equipment Corporation and also served on the State Board of Education from January 2011 to December 2018.
Returning Council members Dennis Burnell and Jessica Lomakin both feel they have something to offer the village as well.
Burnell, who began his term in 1998, is now the longest serving council member with the retirement of fellow councilman Don Kuck. Burnell said he will continue to maintain his two priorities, which are to watch over the safety of the citizens by making certain the police, fire and emergency personnel have the best equipment and training and also to be a good steward of the people’s money.
His case-in-point on the financial side are impending decisions to increase water and wastewater rates in the Village to cover the cost of repairing or replacing the involved infrastructure. The EPA has mandated that the wastewater treatment plant reduce the heavy metals and other toxic materials from its effluent. “We don’t like to do it (contemplate raising rates) but we have to take care of our infrastructure.”
Lomakin said she was excited to begin serving as an elected official. She had been appointed to the role of council member January 27, 2020 to fill the vacant seat of Robert Parker who was elected mayor. “It feels good to have the voter’s confidence to fill a complete four year term.”
Her immediate goals for the next four years include working with the local historical society and recreation club. As chair of council’s Parks committee, she is working with the New Bremen Historical Society and Miami Erie Canal Corridor Association to add more historical detail to the signage at the Lockkeeper’s House. At Bremenfest Park, she is working with the Cardinal Recreation Club to develop one of the ball diamonds into a pony league configuration to accommodate that organization’s growing need for ball diamonds where the group can schedule more games.
A 2005 New Bremen High School graduate, in 2018 she returned to New Bremen, and besides her Council role, is involved with the community by serving on committees for Bremenfest and New Bremen Parks. She also serves as vice president of Women in Business-Ohio, a networking organization dedicated to empowering working women and is a lifetime member of the New Bremen Historical Society. She is also a working attorney.
Lomakin said the future outlook for council will be interesting, with tremendous turnover of Council members in the last few years, one of the results being that she, Burnell, and Jacob Larger are the ones with the most experience on six-member Council. She emphasized the importance of the public getting involved with local governmental matters. “Forget about the national news, local government is where decisions are made that affect our lives the most.”
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.