Council appoints new fire chief

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman - For the Sidney Daily News

MINSTER – A new fire chief and a change of service hours for the village fiscal officer were the main topics at the Minster Village council meeting Tuesday night.

The council approved the appointment of Alan Winner as the new Minster Jackson Township Fire Chief, beginning at the start of the new year. He succeeds the current chief, Ken Prenger, who is retiring at the end of December. Winner has served as a fireman at the department since Aug. 1, 2000.

Council approved a change in pay rate for Brittany Hemmelgarn, which will reduce her job hours to 25 per week, down from 40 hours. Hemmelgarn was hired May 9, 2022, as the village’s first full time fiscal officer. Her salary will be reduced from $75,000 annually to $65,000. The reason given by Hemmelgarn was that automation had made a full-time position unnecessary.

Council approved a first reading of an ordinance authorizing a renewal of a three-year contract of an Efficiency Smart Schedule with American Municipal Power Inc. Village Administrator Don Harrod explained that while the contract will cost the village $230,000 annually, it will save the village $1,500,000 over three years. The contract rewards village efforts to save electricity. The program also awards residents. For example, homeowners can receive a rebate when purchasing and energy Star refrigerator.

The purchase of a new fire department grass truck was okayed by council. Harrod told council the chassis would be available for $56,019 through the state purchasing program. He said eventually the total cost to outfit the basic chassis will amount to around $200,000. The truck would not be delivered until late December 2023 at the earliest. The new vehicle replaces a 1995-96 model. He said grass trucks look like a beefed up pickup and is used to put out grass fires.

In his report to council, Harrod said leaf pickup continues on a daily basis. Residents are asked to bring the leaves to the front of their properties and place them in the curb lawn for pick-up, not the street. Pickup will continue until Dec. 1.

Crack sealing on Paris, Second, Garfield as well as Northcrest Drive within the village has been completed by village crews.

Automated meter reading is nearing completion, said Harrod, as the village continues to have weekly meetings with contractor Tantalus to set up the AMI meter reading system. He said a representative from Tantalus should be in the village this month to begin assisting village employees with installation of the repeaters, collectors and meters. Also, they will begin training on the operation of the software. He said that sometime by the second quarter of 2023, the village should be able to put the system in operation.

As colder weather approaches, Harrod said in the next week or so, the Parks Department will begin to winterize the shelter houses at the parks. All of the restroom facilities at both Paris Street and the Four Seasons Park will be shut down except the restroom facility in the shelter house with the fire pit.

He reported that repairs were made to Well No. 9 over the past week by Quinter Well Drilling and was put back into service.

He said last week the water department shut down the sand filters to determine if they could be turned off and the plant remain in operation. This was done in anticipation of refurbishing the sand filters in the future and assuring the village did not have a problem with either backwashing the other filters or operating the facility.

Power company AES/DP&L will begin work on improvements to their transmission line from the Amsterdam Substation to the Village. Harrod said this work is expected to begin after the first of the year and during those improvements, the village will receive their electric from a line that comes from Covington.

To thwart the damage from woodpeckers on the wooden power poles, the electric department has begun assembling steel transmission line poles that will be used to replace existing wood poles along the golf course and the village’s industrial park. He said these wood poles have been damaged over the years by the birds and need to be replaced. Crews will try to set one of the poles within the next couple of weeks.

Other council action included a second reading to annex 1.022 acres, more or less, in Jackson Township to the Village of Minster, Ohio. Harrod said the property owners Harold and Diane Riethman had requested the action.

The group approved payment of $17,739.60 in September invoices from Duncan and Allen for legal services concerning a solar lawsuit. The trial in federal court in Toledo is set for sometime in mid-February.

They also approved receipts of $ 29,231.57 and invoices of $ 215,211.76.

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.