JACKSON CENTER — Declaring an emergency, Jackson Center Village Council suspended the three reading rule required to adopt an ordinance to authorize village administrator Bruce Metz to enter into a Community Reinvestment Area Agreement with Airstream Inc.
This action finalized plans to allow a tax abatement agreement be in place before Airstream breaks ground for construction of a multi-million dollar manufacturing facility on the west side of the village. The agreement is consistent with similar allowances the village has endorsed for other businesses in the past and is designed to promote growth and opportunity for those living in and around the village.
“I am pleased to see this ordinance passed,” said Village Administrator BruceMetz. “This is a great step forward for Jackson Center and all concerned and will be an major asset in the future growth of our town. Airstream is investing $470 million in this new facility that will lead to at least 280 new jobs and I want to thank everyone for all that went into making it possible.” Metz noted this was the last hurdle and that the paperwork will be sent to the Ohio State Department of Development for completion and that ground-breaking ceremonies for Airstream will take place as soon as early July.”
In his financial report council member Larry Wahrer reported the village finances were in great shape and that the village fared well in April and May well ahead of last year at this same time.
In new business, council held the first reading of an ordinance designed to prohibit the dumping and spreading of grass clippings and yard waste throughout the village passed a resolution to prepare for the annual tax levy that will be on the ballot in November.
Mayor Scott Klopfenstein outlined an ordinance intended to keep its streets, sidewalks and storm drains free of grass clippings and yard waste to prevent hazardous conditions and flooding due to clogged storm drains which pose a threat to the health and safety of those living in Jackson Center. First time offenders will be subject to a written warning and may also be subject to an immediate fine of $25 at the discretion of the mayor or enforcing officer. There will be a mandatory fine of $25 for second time violators, and a $50 mandatory fine for all subsequent offences thereafter.
If violators refuse to clean up after being notified the village will charge $75 per hr. to do so and the fee will be added to their taxes.
Klopfenstein, the council, and Police Chief Chuck Wirick agreed on the need to get the word out so residents are aware of the situation and changes in how the problem will be dealt with so it was noted besides the information being in this newspaper article it should be shared in the village newsletter as well as online.
“Honestly some folks are unaware about the need to keep our storm drains clean,” said Klopfenstein. “I talked to someone last week about blowing their grass clippings into the street and they said they never really thought about the potential problems associated with it. So, yes, we will have to get the word out just to make folks aware and I feel most will comply knowing is good for everyone and the right thing to do. I also want to remind everyone we have a dumpster available at the sewage plant for folks to put their yard-waste in.”
Council also passed a resolution to prepare for a tax levy that will be on the ballot in the fall.
“This levy has been in place since 1946, its 2 mill per year for 5 years and generates funding for our streets, fire department and police.” Metz said. “We want our residents to know there will be no increase in the amount of tax, this is just a renewal. We work hard to get grant funding and other support for most of our improvement projects so as to keep out taxes low.
“The last time the levy was voted on it was approved 78 to 22 and we’re hoping our residents will continue in good faith and renew it in the fall. We will send the resolution to the auditor for approval and we should be ready,” Metz said.
During the departmental reports Wirick announced the Jackson Center Police Department, Southwest Regional K-9 Training Group and Airstream Inc. will conduct a Critical Incident Response Training on July 3, 2018, and that residents should not be alarmed at the extremely high police presence in the village.
“We will be conducting a training session and drill at Airstream and I just wanted to let everyone know about our plans. Though the drill is not open to the public there will be a lot of police vehicles around town and we just wanted to let folks know ahead of time so they would not be alarmed and think something is wrong,” Wirick said. “We’re expecting a large number of participants and things will kick off early in the morning at Casey’s who will be providing “power rings” (doughnuts) for all participants. Lunch will be provided by the Heidout Restaurant & Bar, and Plastipak is providing the ice water. Anyone having any questions can contact me at 937-596-6140” Wirick said.
In the administrator’s report, Metz reported on a variety of activities associated with the village including a work in progress to improve the village’s water quality, progress at the new park and tee ball fields, and updates in the village’s infrastructure including the sprinkler system at the soccer fields and new power pole installation near the proposed ne electrical substation.
After the reports and before adjourning, Klopfenstein congratulated Metz for receiving the Larry Hobart Seven Hats Award at the American Power Association’s national conference held in New Orleans.
“Bruce, we just want to congratulate you for receiving this national award, it was quite an honor for you and Jackson Center and we are very proud of your accomplishments and on-going dedication to our town, thank you!” Klopfenstein said.
Klopfenstein then read a news release from the American Public Power Association outlining the requirements to receive the prestigious award and a brief summary of Metz’s accomplishments and what it takes to be chosen.
“I just want everyone know how important this is for Bruce and our village. This organization represents over 2000 towns and cities nationwide with 93,000 employees and 49 million customers; that’s pretty impressive it you think about it.” Klopfenstein said; “We will have a cake and refreshments after our next council meeting at 8 p.m. on July 9 to commemorate this event and I want to invite everyone to come and share in our festivities and celebrate Bruce’s accomplishment.”
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.