Village OKs Line Project

NEW BREMEN — The village of New Bremen will be relocating utility wires that run through Lions Club Park underground, as councilors passed a resolution authorizing Village Administrator Wayne York to pursue contracts with the involved parties at their meeting Tuesday night.

“Over in the Lions Club Park area, everybody always notices those great big telephone cables that cut across the middle of the park right over top the Lions Club shelterhouse, right across the canal, real close to the cast iron bridge,” York said. “They’re unsightly. They do not fit in with the rest of the atmosphere and the heritage in that area.”

Crown Equipment Corporation is interested in having the lines buried.

“Our leading corporate citizen has an interest in having those buried,” York said. “It’s up to you folks. I think there’s some interest in doing this. We’ve begun discussion with Frontier, who owns most of the cables in the mid section of town, and they would be willing to relocate them underground on an out-of-pocket basis.”

The project is projected to cost $386,760, half of which would be paid by the village and the other half paid by Crown Equipment Corporation. The project, York said, is not one that can be partially done.

“This doesn’t lend itself out to scaling the project back,” he said. “We definitely either do the whole thing or just forget it.”

Still to come this year, the village will be spending $25,000 for additional water test wells and $210,000 on a new fire department tanker. If added to the expenses, the utility relocation project will cost the village approximately $190,000, bringing the total expenses to $340,000.The projected year-end balance before expenditures is $740,000.

The trick, York said, is to line the project up with the current sanity sewer project.

“The trick is to get the sanitary sewer in — Tumbusch does that — then get this conduit in there before Tumbusch has it paved,” York said.

Mayor Jeff Pape voiced his approval of the proposed project.

“Being a good partner for a large business is the right move and because we do want to fix this park up someday, that’s going to be a major thing that has to get done anyway,” Pape said. “I think we have two legitimate reasons for doing this.”

Councilors passed, as an emergency, a resolution to authorize the village administrator to enter into various contracts for the relocation of utility lines running through Lions Club Park at a sum not to exceed $194,000 total project cost to be paid for from the income tax fund.

Councilors also reviewed a survey taken of the pay of other area councilors and mayors to determine if an increase in compensation is warranted.

Currently, councilors earn a $400 base and $50 per meeting for a total of $1,550 per year. Minster councilors earn $4,200 per year, New Knoxville councilors earn a $600 base and $40 per meeting for a total of $1,080 and Coldwater councilors earn $3,000 per year.

Currently, the New Bremen mayor earns $5,500, the Minster mayor earns $7,000, the New Knoxville mayor earns $5,500 and the Coldwater mayor earns $6,000.

Councilor John Schwartz said he did not want to increase the rates too much.

“I don’t have an issue with the rates going up,” he said.

“I don’t want to make it so we’re in it for the money — obviously, we’re not. I think something should go up, but I don’t think it should be that much ... We’re volunteering because we want to do this, not because of the pay. I want to do this. I’d do it for nothing. I did it for nothing for eight years before I lived here, so I don’t have an issue. I’d do it if I didn’t get paid anything.”

Councilors discussed the options of having simply a base pay or getting paid an amount for each meeting attended. Councilor Dennis Burnell noted councilors have been responsible but there could be problems in the future.

“We’ve never had a problem with councilors missing the meetings other than being excused, but who knows what’s down the road,” he said. “I would prefer that we get so much per meeting.”

Councilors approved the second reading of an ordinance authorizing a change in compensation to $400 base pay and $100 per meeting for a total of $2,700 per year for councilors and an increase from $5,500 to $6,500 for the mayor. The increase is the first in 16 years, and the change in pay will not take effect until re-election. Burnell voted against the measure.

In other business, councilors:

• Approved the Sept. 11 meeting minutes.

• Approved the financial report.

• Approved, as an emergency, a resolution authorizing the village administrator to apply for the Ohio Public Works Commission Grant for the Walnut Street resurfacing project for a total not to exceed $194,000 and to apply for available zero interest loans.

• Discussed allowing German Township to use the village fueling station.

The next meeting of the New Bremen Village Council will be held at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 9 at the municipal center.