JACKSON CENTER — It was business as usual at the Jackson Center council meeting, Monday, July 9, but the celebration conducted after the meeting was anything but routine.
Friends, family, local residents and some county officials gathered to honor Jackson Center Village Administrator Bruce Metz for his ongoing dedication to the village and to congratulate him for recently receiving the Larry Hobart Seven Hats Award, a national award initiated by American Municipal Power to recognize utility managers for stellar performance in overseeing and directing the electrical operations in their communities. Award winners are recognized for their expertise in planning and design, administration, public relations, field supervision, accounting, personnel or employee direction and community leadership. Metz received the award at the American Power Association’s conference recently in New Orleans.
Shelby County Commissioners Julie Ehemann and Bob Guillozet were in Jackson Center, Monday, to present a proclamation recognizing Metz for “his many accomplishments and ongoing dedication to the village of Jackson Center and Shelby County.” Both Ehemann and Guillozet acknowledged their appreciation for Metz and congratulated him for a job well done.
Metz also received a proclamation from the village of Jackson Center presented by Mayor Scott Klopfenstein, who read the proclamation in its entirety, noting Metz’s faithful service to Jackson Center for 38 years, with six and a half years as village administrator and his efforts, leadership and accomplishments on local, state, and national levels. Also recognized in the proclamation were Metz’s love for the village and its residents and his commitment to making it a better place to live and raise a family. After reading the proclamation, Klopfenstein also pointed out that Metz always goes above and beyond what is required or expected and thanked him directly for the personal sacrifices he has made in fulfilling his duties as administrator.
“We all know Bruce puts in way more time and effort than anyone could possibly expect. He has often sacrificed time with his family and given up personal time off for the sake of our town and its people. This proclamation is just a small token of our appreciation for all he’s done and will continue to do here. Again, thank you Bruce,” Klopfenstein said.
After the presentations, Metz expressed his gratitude not only for the proclamations and nice words but for being able to serve “such a wonderful group of people. I want to thank all those who took time to come here tonight. Your presence, support and thoughtful comments mean more than you’ll ever know, and I am thankful to be a part of such a great community.” Metz said. He then acknowledged those who have contributed to his success along the way. As he worked his way around the room, personally thanking everyone, a notable chord of emotion resonated in his voice. It was quite evident to all that there was a feeling of mutual respect in the air and that all in attendance, including Metz, appreciated the community spirit so apparent at the gathering.
Before leaving everyone enjoyed a little time socializing, topped off with a celebratory piece of cake decorated specifically for the occasion with Metz’s name, a yellow hard hat and acknowledgement of the Seven Hats Award.
During the business meeting, the council gave second reading to Ordinance 2018-28, an ordinance prohibiting the dumping or spreading of grass or yard waste on the streets, which has a detrimental effect on the efficiency of storm drains. Metz noted that although the terms of the ordinance had been posted on Facebook and the village website, he had not heard any feedback, positive or negative, about the proposed ordinance.
Klopfenstein said, “After reading the notice, one resident did approach me and apologize for any inconvenience she may had caused our street workers, not knowing the grass clippings presented a problem when blown into the street and gutters. She was totally unaware of the negative effects yard waste has on surface water runoff and said she will now use the dumpster provided at the sewage treatment plant for yard waste. I really don’t think we are going to have any problems once everyone is informed about the issue.” The ordinance spells out the protocol for dealing with those who place yard waste in the streets instead of properly disposing of it in the dumpster. 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 hour to do so, and the fee will be added to violators’ taxes. Since the ordinance is declared an emergency it will go into effect immediately after ratification.
Council passed an emergency resolution to proceed with filing the details of a tax-renewal levy that will be on the ballot in November. The renewal calls for 2 mils per year for five years and will generate approximately $46,000 a year for police, fire department and street maintenance. Council decided to waive the three-reading rule and passed the resolution, as the deadline for submitting it to the state auditor for approval is Aug. 8.
The writer is a regular contributor the the Sidney Daily News.