Auglaize mayors report year’s progress


By Alexandra Newman - anewman@aimmedianetwork.com



New Bremen Mayor Jeff Pape speaks at the State of the Villages Breakfast on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017. The mayors of New Knoxville and Minster spoke as well. Other state and national representatives spoke as well.

New Bremen Mayor Jeff Pape speaks at the State of the Villages Breakfast on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017. The mayors of New Knoxville and Minster spoke as well. Other state and national representatives spoke as well.


NEW KNOXVILLE — Community leaders gathered Thursday morning to hear how their communities are thriving.

The Annual State of the Villages, presented by the Southwestern Auglaize County Chamber of Commerce and held at the First Church of New Knoxville, featured the mayors of Minster, New Bremen, and New Knoxville, as well as State Sen. Matt Huffman, R-Lima, 12th District, and video messages from U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, 4th District, and State Rep. Keith Faber, R-Celina, 84th District.

There were also representatives there from Jordan’s Office, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel’s Office, and Lt. Governor Mary Taylor’s Office. The state officials thanked the local support and mentioned the success of this region. They talked a little about upcoming legislation they are working on, as well.

New Bremen

New Bremen Mayor Jeff Pape noted one of the biggest changes in 2016 was the change in village administrator.

“Christine Dicke is doing a lot of great things already in New Bremen,” he said. “It’s all go go go, but we’re holding on and it’s all good things.”

The Fire Chief Bob Cook retired last year after many years of service to the village. There were several other recent changes to village staff.

They are trying to get some new ways to pay bills and ways to get your bill.

Police Chief Skinner went to the FBI Academy. “Now he is intertwined with 16,000 professionals who have done the same thing,” Pape said. “It really helps New Bremen with the knowledge he gained.”

The village’s income tax is up 13.2 percent, over 2016, for a new high of $4,282,000. Growth was a little slower this year, he said.

There has been several new businesses come to town, and they won the Tree City USA Award this year.

The village is working on putting out a monthly newsletter with the help of the school. They’ve been finishing up projects at the local park, and got a new swimming pool liner.

“We have a new public works building going up, we should be moved into that soon,” Pape said. “We finished the Circle Drive Project this year. It was a complete reconstruction. Another project was the removal of over 300 dead Ash trees along the old canal. We finished the First and Washington Street Project, and we finished Commence Drive.”

They’ve started a strategic planning session to come up with what they want to accomplish in New Bremen over the next five to 15 years.

New Knoxville

New Knoxville Mayor Keith Leffel said he is very happy with how things are going in the village.

“We’re always looking for growth. Growth is important, it’s one of our benchmarks,” he said. “Things have been really really good in New Knoxville. Our benchmark is income tax and our income tax crested the $400,000 mark for the first time ever.”

It increased their budget by 22 percent. They had five new homes go up in 2016, which is a sign of growth for New Knoxville, Leffel said.

“This last year our revenue was $2.3 million and we spent roughly $2 million. This can vary on what projects you have going on, but from that standpoint I’m really happy with how things are going,” he said.

There were 404 calls for service from the police department in 2016. The new police cruiser was entered into a contest and named SUV of the year.

The village recently helped NK Telco by relocating some of it’s buildings so they would have more space. “It took a lot of moving around over a couple of years, but this year we’re all done moving,” Leffel said. “It was a good thing for Knoxville and a good thing for NK Telco.”

The village annexed some property at the Neil Armstrong Airport. They’ll be working on providing utilities out there to a new terminal building.

“This year we worked on some street projects. We redid Sixth Street and we did some curbing in the downtown area,” he said. “We also reconstructed the alley between the post office and town hall.”

Long term planning is on the agenda for the village.

“As we grow we want to look at some structures and how we want to handle some things, but I think it comes down to people – getting good people, keeping good people is so important and we have a really good group in New Knoxville,” Leffel said.

Minster

Minster Mayor Dennis Kitzmiller said they had a very good year for the village in terms of the budget.

The village received over $3.8 million dollars in income tax revenue last year. It’s the highest amount they’ve ever had since they started collecting income tax.

“The village did a good job of budgeting at the beginning of last year. We budgeted $22.8 million and at the end of the year the village only spent $19.1 million,” Kitzmiller said.

Thirty building permits were issued at a value of $24 million.

The police department had some changes, including the addition of two new police cruisers. At the fire department, the village purchased new turnout gear and submitted a grant application. Minster, also in connection with Fort Loramie and New Bremen, submitted a grant application for a study of combining their rescue services.

There were additions to the village’s parks, and they were named a Tree City USA for the 11th year. They replaced some parts of the water system, and will be working on a new water line in front of Dannon this year.

The Solar Field and Energy Storage won numerous awards for it’s innovation and commitment to clean energy. The village saw a four-year production of 5,316 megawatts of energy were produced.

Minster purchased 32 acres of property on south state Route 66 to be developed into an industrial park.

“This is something the village has looking for for a long time,” Kitzmiller said.

Two new housing developments will be coming to the village in 2017, as well, that will bring about 50 lots each.

New Bremen Mayor Jeff Pape speaks at the State of the Villages Breakfast on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017. The mayors of New Knoxville and Minster spoke as well. Other state and national representatives spoke as well.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/01/web1_StateoftheVillages.jpgNew Bremen Mayor Jeff Pape speaks at the State of the Villages Breakfast on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017. The mayors of New Knoxville and Minster spoke as well. Other state and national representatives spoke as well.

By Alexandra Newman

anewman@aimmedianetwork.com

Reach this writer at 937-538-4825; Follow the SDN on Facebook and Twitter @sidneydailynews

Reach this writer at 937-538-4825; Follow the SDN on Facebook and Twitter @sidneydailynews