In an effort to consolidate departments and make the Village of Newcomerstown more efficient, council heard its first reading of consolidating two departments within the village at its meeting last Monday.

Ordinance No. 2-2013 will consolidate the Newcomerstown Street Department and the Newcomerstown Cemetery Department into one department. It will become known as the Service Department and will include a Street Commissioner and a Cemetery Superintendent, along with technicians, part-time employees and seasonal laborers. Also, one person may serve in dual capacities with respect to any of these positions.

The other departments, including Police, Dispatching, Water, Wastewater and Park, were also discussed in the ordinance. However, the purpose of the ordinance is to consolidate to areas -- Street and Cemetery.

Council re-assured residents

See COUNCIL, page 2

that it would not be "shutting one down," it is to make the departments work more cohesively together -- all in an effort to save the village money.

Council's second reading is set for Feb. 18 and the measure is expected to be approved at council's March 4 meeting.

Meanwhile, the Newcomerstown Cemetery Board approved raising the rates of opening and closing of graves at its recent meeting.

In other business, council approved hiring Hitchens and Associates of Coshocton as the engineering firm for the 2013 street paving project.

"We pretty well know them and work well with them," Mayor Jim Friel said.

Councilmember Sue Simmons advised residents to notify the electric company or the Newcomerstown Police Department, if they see a street light out in the village. The village is paying for the street light, whether it's on or not.

Mayor Friel gave his appointments for 2013 which included: Shade Tree Commission, Harry Bishop; Tuscarawas Regional Planning Commission, Earl McCormick and Audrey Hanni (alternate); Street Commissioner, Bob Martin; Fire Commissioner, Bobby McGarry; Tri-County Ambulance representative, Burris Gardner and Jim Carr (alternate); and NERS representative, Jim Reed and Dave Hickman (alternate).

Council approved hiring Robert "Bob" Shepherd of Newcomerstown to work part-time up to 20 hours per week at $10.09 per hour for the street department.

Council also approved having Lisa Stitler, West Lafayette fiscal officer, train fiscal officer Beth Ferguson-Pollock on the CMI system in the evenings at $25 per hour for up to 20 hours.

Newcomerstown Police Chief Gary Holland said part-time officer Brandon Hamilton resigned from his position with the department. He also asked that full-time police officer Bryan Eubanks be reduced to part-time. Council agreed to both personnel matters.

Council entered into an approximate 45-minute executive session to discuss personnel.

Council's next meeting will be Monday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. at the David Barber Civic Center, Newcomerstown.