Purchase and modify an existing structure, build a new structure, utilize the property that the village owns, or check costs for prefabricated buildings. These were just a few of the suggestions that were being offered by Newcomerstown village citizens and department employees at a special meeting prior to the April 20 regular council meeting.
Council president Dave Hickman said council's goal for the special session was to get citizens, department supervisors and council together, and exchange ideas about the plan for a new municipal building.
Mayor Steve Guy added that the project is going to take some time and thought.
"We want to gather input from everyone and see exactly what each department will need from the new site in order to determine the best plan in the matter," Mayor Guy said.
Board of Public Affairs member Jim Friel said he would like to see a committee formed that could have ongoing discussion, review options and suggestions, and present updates to council at the meetings. Council later agreed and approved the formation of a municipal building research committee. The committee will be comprised of several department supervisors, citizens and councilmembers. Councilmember Derek Hickman suggested 12 individuals serve on the committee.
Dave Hickman said the village was financially able to either purchase and modify a structure or construct a new building.
Several potential sites were discussed that are currently on the real estate market; those being, the former office of Dr. Agricola and the former Presbyterian Church building. However, some questions were raised regarding how much modification each building would require to suit the village's needs, as well as availability of parking and convenient access to the public. The village currently owns the property behind the Presbyterian Church which could be an option for additional parking.
The village also owns property in close proximity of the water department building and on both sides of the current municipal building. Friel pointed out that the property by the water department would be ideal for the new site. He said the property is very accessible for the public and would have ample room for a new building and parking for the public, as well as house all village departments.
Councilmember Janet Bush said she felt the Cross Street property would require too much modification to meet the village's needs.
"After I re-toured the building (at Cross Street) and really looked at how many people we would need to accommodate, I am sure that it would not be a feasible option," she said.
Council also discussed the suggestion of pre-fabricated buildings which are reportedly a cost efficient option that several local businesses have chosen.
The current municipal building currently has not handicapped accessible, lacks adequate space for public meetings and is noted with moderate deterioration as a result of the age of the structure. The village's plan is to offer the public a new municipal site that is handicapped accessible, conveniently located, adequate parking and has accommodation for each village department office which would be located within the same building.
Mayor Guy said village council will be looking at all suggestions, options, cost and funds available, then proceed from that point. Guy said he welcomes any citizens' comments or input into the matter.
In other business, council approved:
* Randy Bradford as cemetery seasonal labor at $7.77 per hour and not to exceed 26 weeks.
* Scraping of three village police cruisers that each has a re-sale value of less than $1,000.
* Advertising for sealed bids on a 2001 Crown Victoria police cruiser that has a re-sale value of more than $1,000.
Other business discussed:
* Solicitor Shawn Lindsay said there were no findings that the village was violating any of the contractual agreements with the village's fuel supplier. An earlier question was presented in regards to the tax exempt status for the fire department and fuel usage/reimbursement. Lindsay recommended that the department continue as per their previous procedure.
Lindsay also said he had investigated the hiring process for the cemetery department. He found that according to the municipal protocol, the cemetery board can recommend an applicant but the village council must approve the applicant.
* Approval for a "toll road" for Relay For Life was tabled until further information has been gathered and assessed by Mayor Guy.
* W.E. Quicksall & Associates' representative Jeanette Wierzbicki provided council with an update on the final phase for the landfill project. Wierzbicki acknowledged that the project had suffered several setbacks and incurred additional costs related to an EPA finding last fall. The final phase of the project will include appropriate disposal of the fill dirt that was labeled as contaminated. EPA had found that the fill dirt contained rocks, bricks and other debris being noted in it's consistency. A split rail fence that has been approved by council will also be installed.
Mayor Guy said concerns with the time frame for the final phase.
"The village is working against a big time constraint. We won't have access to the site from Heller Drive after May 15 since the Simonds property has been sold. The only access would be from S. College Street which is not a favorable option," he said.
Council will meet again May 5 at 7 p.m. at the civic center.