Changing and re-structuring the role of departmental superintendents in the Village of Newcomerstown was discussed by Village Council last Monday evening.
The idea of creating one Utilities/Service Department in the village was questioned by council member Sue Simmons. She asked Village Solicitor Bob Stephenson to offer an opinion on the matter after examining the village's ordinance and policies to see if it would even be feasible.
She said the water and sewer departments would remain separate entities within the village and would be governed by the Newcomerstown Board of Public Affairs.
With creating one Utilities/Service Department, it would combine the Street and Cemetery departments in the village. The reason for doing so? According to Simmons, it is to pull together more manpower to help with village services and maintenance.
"It's also to help keep us out of fiscal emergency," said councilman Jim Carr.
If the proposed cemetery levy is approved by voters in November, the levy would be used to maintain the cemetery only, not help with employee salaries.
Simmons said by combining departments, money used to pay former cemetery employees could come from other sources such as the street department.
Once an opinion is reached by Stephenson, council will discuss the matter further.
In related business, Newcomerstown Board of Public Affairs President Gregg Shivers told council that Water and Wastewater Superintendent Don Walkup resigned from his position as of Sept. 10. Walkup took another position within the Village of Sugarcreek.
In the meantime, Ken Schweitzer of Newcomerstown was named interim superintendent of the water and wastewater departments in the village. At the BPA's next meeting, which is set for Oct. 8, the board will name a new superintendent after the position has been posted.
In other business, council gave praise to Newton Asphalt for their recent paving work in the village.
"Newton did an extra nice job for us this time, especially because of school starting," Simmons said.
Newton agreed to pave and stripe the streets closest to the schools first before school started and then moved on to other areas of the village.
"They did more than we asked," Simmons said.
"I'm happy and satisfied with Newton," Mayor Jim Friel said.
Meanwhile, Mayor Friel said he has been in contact with the owner of the former Simonds Industries property in the village. He said the property needs to be cleaned up, especially with the tall weeds on the site.
In other business, council:
Heard from council member Heather Stein-Wells ,who praised Walkup and was sad to see him leave. She also announced that Newcomerstown Police Officer Mark Stahovec was leaving the department and also offered regret to see him leave. (Council later approved his resignation.) She announced that the fire department would have an open house on Wednesday, Oct. 3 from 4 to 7 p.m.
Heard from councilman Carr. He commended the department heads and employees for giving all of their time to the village.
Heard from Newcomerstown Police Chief Gary Holland regarding the total incidents in the village for the month of August. He said there was 272 incidents, 84 calls for service, 41 traffic stops, four accidents, one DOA, and 20 arrests. He also said there were 26 applications turned in for part-time police officers.
Announced they are looking into finding another resource/location for compost to be taken to in the village since the compost hopper was removed recently.
Heard that the income tax collection for August was up over $84,682.68 compared to last year at this time.
Heard that the sale of street grindings has totaled $8,905 so far with approximately 300 more buckets still to be paid for.
Approved the third reading and adopted Ordinance No. 15-12 for the American Legal Publishing Ohio Basic Code 2012 edition as the code of ordinances for the village.
Approved trick or treat night on Saturday, Oct. 27 from 4 to 6 p.m. If handing out candy, council asks that residents turn on their porch light. Also, council approved the Halloween curfew for those under 18. The curfew of 9 p.m. will be in effect from Oct. 20 until Nov. 3.
Approved the Morton Salt agreement for the 2012-2013 winter season for 225 tons at $51.11 per ton for a total of $11,499.75. They also approved grit mix from Rasor Lake at a cost of $3.50 per ton for 150 tons.
Approved L-Con Engineers LLC (Lee Conkle) as the water/sewer engineer for upcoming projects.
Council will meet again Monday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. in the civic center.