With the new administration at the helm of the Village of Newcomerstown, changes are already being planned to make the Main Street (business district) more aesthetically pleasing especially with the 2014 Newcomerstown Bicentennial Celebration fast approaching.

Mayor Jim Friel wants to replace the current metal street light poles in the business district and replace them with wooden poles. The exchange of poles will save $8 a month per pole. Mayor Friel also said the American Electric Power wants to come in scrape the current metal poles and remove the old lead-based paint, then primer the poles and re-paint them. He said that alone will cost approximately $900 per pole but the cost will not be assessed to the village. Instead, he said AEP will be paying the bill for that because the lead-based paint will have to removed and handled properly.

Councilman Dave Hickman questioned how aesthetically-pleasing the wooden poles would be in the village.

Mayor Friel said the wooden poles may only be temporary. He said he would like to get a grant to have more decorative poles placed around the village.

Councilmember Sue Simmons was also apprehensive in saying that the poles will be magnets for every for sale or garage sale sign out there. She said she doesnt want them to be abused. Mayor Friel said he would like to have an ordinance that would prohibit those signs from being placed on the villages street light poles.

Mayor Friel said AEP can send out an individual to an evaluation on the street lights and their position in terms of trees and the best lighting location.

If its not going to cost us anything, then lets do it, Councilman Burris Gardner said.

Council agreed to the study and AEP will report back to council on their findings.

After a half-hour executive session to discuss council committee appointments, council emerged with a list of chairpersons for each committee. They are as follows: Safety Committee, Jim Carr; Personnel Committee, Hickman; Buildings and Grounds Committee, Janet Bush; Finance Committee, Heather Stein-Wells; Street Committee, Simmons; and Water/Sewer Committee, Gardner. A complete list of all committees will be available at councils next meeting, Monday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. at the civic center.

Mayor Friel also announced the following appointments: Cemetery Board, Dave Mason, six-year term that expires Dec. 31, 2017; Shade Tree Commission, Stein-Wells, three-year term that expires Dec. 31, 2015; Newcomerstown Community Improvement Corporation, Mayor Friel and Hickman; Newcomerstown Records Commission, Camille Smith with term expiring Dec. 31, 2014; Newcomerstown Planning Commission, Pat Cadle with term expiring Dec. 31, 2018; Tuscarawas Regional Planning Commission, Audrey Hanni with term expiring Dec. 31, 2013, and alternate is Gardner with term expiring Dec. 31, 2013; Street Commissioner, Robert Martin with term expiring Dec. 31, 2012; Fire Commissioner, Bobby McGarry with term expiring Dec. 31, 2012; Tri-County Ambulance representative, Gardner with term expiring Dec. 31, 2012, and alternate is Carr with term expiring Dec. 31, 2012; and Newcomerstown Emergency Rescue Squad representative, Hickman, and alternate Bush.

Mayor Pro Tem and President of Newcomerstown Village Council will be Simmons and Hickman will serve as clerk pro tem.

In other business, council:

Heard the second reading of Ordinance no. 13-11 which would prohibit the use of jake brakes and other similar engine retarders in the village.

Heard the first reading of a resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into contract for professional services for a Mayors Court Magistrate.

Mayor Friel gave the financial report for December which totaled $3,019.10. He also gave the year-end financial report which totaled $42,641.41 with the village keeping $33,823.41.

Newcomerstown Police Chief Gary Holland gave the police departments activity report for December and the year-end totals for accidents, citations, arrests, calls for service, etc.