Following recent coverage for the proposed tax levy for the Newcomerstown Police Department, council clarified the information concerning the levy that is planned to appear on the November primary election ballot.
Councilmembers voiced concerns during the recent regular council session, old business, holding an open session about the levy.
Several village officials reported that police department employees and citizens began questioning whether the department was planning to disband following their interpretation of an article that appeared in the Newcomerstown News, dated July 15.
While the recent article did not state that the department was planning any disbandment, it did state there were concerns of future funding for the department, and the importance of the levy was to be able to continue having police protection for the village.
Council clarified the issue further during the July 20 regular session. Councilmembers Jim Trzop and Jim Carr both provided clarification saying that the issue is concerning generating funds from the levy to promote stabilization of the police department staff, and to also maintain the necessary equipment that the department relies on that funding is not available for.
The police department is forced to comply with many unfunded mandates and local, or government funding is not as available as it once was. Many funding sources are being cut or sustained recently.
Trzop and Carr said the police department has had a noted continual turn-over of new staff and that there is need for more incentive to retain the new staff, and stabilize the department.
It is perceived that additional funds generated through the levy would promote higher quality jobs for the police department members and hopefully reduce the turn-over rates.
The third reading and passage of the ordinance no. 06-15 was approved during the July 6, regular session.
During the July 6 discussion, Mayor Jim Friel said he felt the community should have the opportunity to voice their opinion on the matter via the form of a vote.
Other business discussed during the July 20 regular session included:
• Ordinance no. 10-2015 establishing a petty cash policy was approved.
• Ordinance no. 11-2015 establishing a purchasing policy was approved.
• The six new street lights have all been installed for north College Street-Scott Drive area.
• Councilmember Heather Stein-Wells said the Newcomerstown Fire Department recently toured the new industry, Aero Material Services (formerly known as Carbo Ceramics) to familiarize with the layout of the building/premises.
• Councilmember Carr said he recently spoke with Newcomerstown Schools' Superintendent Jeff Staggs regarding the village's decision to change the traffic light (at the intersection of State and River streets) from a sequential pattern traffic light to a flashing red light/stop light during the time school is not in session.
He said Staggs did not voice concerns with the decision.
• Bids will open on Wednesday, July 29 for the Enterprise Drive paving project.
• According to information received by the Mayor from the EPA, Newcomerstown will no longer be responsible for managing the monitoring wells at the former landfill site and the former Simonds factory property.
This will be a savings for the village.
• Council discussed concerns with submitted additional hours by a part-time, seasonal employee.
• Councilmember Carr made the motion to go into executive session to discuss personnel matter. No action taken.
The next regular council session is scheduled for Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Library Annex.