By: Bill O’Connell
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
Representatives from Norfolk Southern Railroad presented plans for a staging yard that would be located on the eastern edge of the Village along its main line. The seven-track addition would be “essentially a parking lot” according to Norfolk Southern Group Manager Robert Jones.
The new yard would also be used to inspect and repair trains and would employ about twelve people. Most of the property required for this facility would be located in Swanton Township except for a very small portion (300 feet) between the tracks and Zeiter Way which is owned by the Village.
During the presentation council members posed a number of hard-hitting question to both Mr. Jones and Bryant Thomas, Regional Manager of Relations for the railroad. The questions related to transporting and storing hazardous materials, economic and environmental impact on residents living in close proximity to the project, benefits to the Village and possible annexation of the facility once it is completed.
Members of the public in attendance were not allowed to ask questions but will be allowed to do so in an upcoming special council meeting.
In other news, both the Water and Sewer Committee and the Finance Committee discussed a tap fee waiver from Mr. Ed Price who is building five villas in the Silverbuck subdivision. The tap fee for each unit is $4900 and with one unit fee already paid Mr. Price is requesting a waiver of $19,600 from the Village.
Recommendations from both committees will be made at a later date.
An agreement between Fulton County, Swancreek Water District and the Village of Swanton has expired. If the Council decides to renew this agreement the terms and conditions of the current water service agreement between Fulton County and the City of Toledo would apply.
Two members of the Swanton Fire Department (SFD) have been accepted into the Toledo Fire and Rescue Academy. Chief Mike Wolever recommended they resign from the SFD during their probationary period.
New salary guidelines for exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act are set to go into effect on December 1, 2016. The new minimum salary will be $47,476. Currently, Swanton has three exempt employees that fall under the new compensation level, the Fiscal Officer, the Chief of Police and the Superintendent of Public Service Operations.
The Village has two options to be in compliance with the new guidelines. It can increase the salaries or it can reclassify those positions to non-exempt, or hourly, making the employees eligible to receive overtime pay. There will be discussions on wage adjustments but no changes will be implemented until November 20, 2016.
Administrator Rosanna Hoelzle met with the BGSU professor whose class will be working on the Village Rebranding Initiative. His students will soon be coming into town taking pictures and possibly asking questions.
Ms. Hoelzle also attended the Fulton Township Trustee meeting on August 18 and reported a productive discussion on the Village providing fire and rescue service to the township. Another meeting involving Fire Chief Wolever and Deputy Fire Chief Gary Roytek will be scheduled.
The new LED marquee sign adjacent to Main Street at Memorial Park is now fully functional and displaying community announcements. Swanton’s Soaring Software loaned computer programmer Neil Spurgeon to the Village to work with Joe Kahl in that effort.
The next scheduled meeting is September 12, 2016 at 7:00 PM.
Bill O’Connell may be reached at