After more than 31 years, Utilities Superintendent Tom Sauerbrey stepped down from his post in the village.

His last day was Friday, Feb. 4 and he cites better benefits as his reason for leaving.

Sauerbrey, who holds both Class III wastewater treatment and Class II water supply operator licenses, will be working at the Uhrichsville or Twin City wastewater treatment plant as an operator. Feb. 7 will be his first day in that position.

He said the change in positions will definitely be just that -- a change. From now on, he won't receive around the clock telephone calls about water or sewer emergencies, won't have to make emergency repairs to knocked over fire hydrants, etc. This will be different, he said. He'll go, do his job and return home to Bakersville, and just relax (maybe). Overall, it will be less responsibilities.

"It has been an interesting journey working for the village with the various members of council and the Board of Public Affairs," said Sauerbrey, who was first appointed Utilities Superintendent in February 1993.

Since that time, he has worked with 23 different members of the BPA, which is the governmental body that controls the water and wastewater services in the village. Currently, Al Miskimen, Gregg Shivers and Jim Friel serve on the three-member board.

Over the years and under Sauerbrey's leadership, several upgrades have been made for both the water and wastewater services in the village.

To name a few, upgrade to the wastewater treatment plant at a cost of $5 million, water treatment plant constructed in 1996 which allowed water to have the iron and manganese elements removed (the chlorine-filter system was the only filter used to pump water from wells), County Road 15 pump station (largest pump station in the village which supplies services to the Industrial Park) rehabbed, sewer line replacement on State Street, installed a bulk fill station (that has pumped as much as one million gallons of water in a month), and trying to receive funding to rehab the Park Hill water storage tank.

"We've created a good work force of employees. I grew up in this town and worked here most of my life," said Sauerbrey, who is a 1978 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and started working part-time in the village in May 1980.

Looking back, he can remember a few memorable moments that will always stick with him. He can remember the manhole collapsed at the intersection of Mulvane and State streets. He thought, "What do we do? Because those things just don't happen."

Also, he can remember a waterline break in the late 1990s at the corner of Beaver and State streets in January.

"It was colder than cold," he said. "We were out there a long time that night."

As far as the Utilities Superintendent position, Sauerbrey assures the residents of Newcomerstown that the position will be filled soon.

"Jeff Walters, the assistant superintendent, will be in charge until they post the job or find a replacement," Sauerbrey said.

Overall, Sauerbrey's philosophy has always been to "lead by setting the example."

He hopes that he has lead his departments in the right direction while under his leadership.

"Anybody can be replaced," Sauerbrey said. "You just hope you did a good job while you were here."