Pioneer Council Bids Farewell to Long-Time Member

It was with great regret that members of the Pioneer Village Council accepted the resignation of 24 year council-member Richard Schmucker, effective November 30, 2012. He explained to the council onMonday, November 12, 2012, that due to recent changes in OPERS rules, in order to be eligible for lower cost insurance, he cannot hold public office. Members of council and the public thanked Mr. Schmucker for his service to the town.

In other business, the council heard from Police Chief Tim Livengood who said that despite the weather delayed Trick or Treating from Tuesday until Friday, it went well. He said that his concern was for the safety of the children in the inclement weather, and that it was indeed much nicer out on Friday. He is also now a board member forOwensCommunity Collegefor Law Enforcement and Professional Development. He is serving on the education and finance committees. This is part of an effort to expand training for all law enforcement in the area. This training will keep officers current in their knowledge and skills at a low cost to towns.

Livengood is working with Village Solicitor Tom Thompson on the nuisance ordinance so that complaints can be dealt with more effectively. The wording is being updated to more specific language. Once completed, it will be brought before council for review and approval.

The department recently acquired an LPR (license plate reader). This is possible because of the department’s continued participation inOhio’s Homeland Security program. One of the first departments in the county to receive this equipment, it is valued at approximately $15,000 and was of no cost to the police department or village. The LPR will read license plates both approaching and passing, and will assist police in detecting stolen vehicles, persons with outstanding warrants, and vehicles involved in Amber Alerts.

Fire Chief Denny Fackler’s report was brief, as he stated that the department was busy in October.

Council discussed First Responder call contracts withBridgewaterandAmboyTownships. Both contracts are expiring, and Amboy’s contract will continue as is for two more years, at a cost of $5775 every six months or $11,550 per year, pending approval of both parties. ForBridgewater, their contract will be for three years. Their payments are presently at $26,095, but this will increase beginning this coming contract year by three percent, and increase by three percent each year, beginning January 2013. Fackler noted thatBridgewaterhas always been good to work with and that they have been generous to the Pioneer department.

Pioneer resident Norman Thorp addressed the council with some concerns regarding the $100 electric rebate that the village credited to accounts of customers within the village limits. He noted that those who access the village’s electrical power but live outside the limits did not receive the rebate. In addition, they pay a 10% premium. Mayor Ed Kidston remarked that those customers receive other benefits such as being able to buy the town’s lower cost electric rather than paying more for Northwest Electric’s services. Thorp then questioned the Mayor about developers’ responsibilities in paying for fire hydrants and shut off valves. According to current rules, they now pay 100%. Thorp asked about consistency over the years and looking toward the future. Kidston said that years from now, there would be a different mayors and councils, and that he could not predict if policies would change, but presently, the village will be very happy to accommodate builders.

Citing the village’s policy of charging a flat rate for homes for water and sewage, which are not metered, Thorp said asked for confirmation that industry and commercial businesses were put on a meter for water and sewage use. Thorp is the owner of rental and condo properties onLakePioneer, and he said that the water bill was the second highest in town. He did not feel that his tenants were getting a fair shake, especially those who lived alone and used little water. He asked about the feasibility of installing a meter, but Mayor Kidston indicated that costs would probably end up being even higher. Kidston added that he would not debate the subject further at this time, but that if Thorp wanted to develop a usage model, he could bring it to the next public utility committee meeting. Kidston said that the current practice of charging low flat rates for residents “is fair and it is black and white.”

Representatives from North Central school had planned to be present at the council meeting, but did not attend. The plan was for them to ask to use thePioneerCommunity Centerfor homecoming facilities. Council voted to waive fees for usage, and the motion was approved.

Village Administrator Al Fiser discussed theBaubice/Ohio Streetprojects, which is expected to be completed by the original date of November 15. Baubice is paved and lines were painted this week.Ohio Streethas been curbed and is expected to be completed in advance of the date.

Fiser, Mayor Kidston, and Electric Department Supervisor Rick Fairbanks recently attended the AMP-Ohio Conference. Fiser said that they learned a lot. Village employee Colt Fackler received the Hard Hat Safety Award, and the committee will be in the area to present him with his award within the next few weeks.

vMayor Kidston felt particularly honored that his father Bruce Kidston was nominated to the Wall of Fame for his dedication and commitment and his work on the old MEA.

“It was heartwarming that my dad received the Wall of Fame Award,” said Kidston. With his voice full of emotion, he added, “I’m proud of the old man.”

Fiser discussed the recent water main break onState Street, which was located in the road in front of the fire station. The crew worked quickly to complete the work within a couple days. He noted that although they had to tear up a resident’s yard to make repairs, the homeowner was very nice about it and very good to the crew.

Fiscal Officer April McMillen gave her report and said that if everything went as planned, she should have a permanent budget completed by the next council meeting. This will save time come January, as they will not have to wait until a January meeting to approve the budget for 2013, and can make payments without delay.

Council member Dave Thompson asked about negotiations on the solar energy field project. Kidston said that they were working on a red line version, but have not yet agreed on all items. Village Solicitor Tom Thompson said that they were still hammering out the details, and Fiser said that he had heard they were close to agreeing on the red line items. As of this time, however, the project is still on hold.

In other village business, Fiser said that theClarkhouse, which had been used for fireman training exercises, was slated to be demolished in a month or so. The five year farm contract will be up in December. Anyone wishing to bid on land for another five years must have bids in byDecember 1, 2012.

Kidston discussed the AMP conference this coming February, which will be held inWashington,D.C.Although he had talked about going every third year, the electrical business is changing quickly, and he feels that village representatives should attend this year as well. The Mayor plans to attend along with Fiser, and one council member, as yet undecided.

Council then announced the news that should delight all Pioneer children. Santa will be arriving in town on Tuesday, December 11, and will be available to hear requests from the little ones from5 – 7 p.m.at the gazebo.

Senior Citizens are invited to attend a free holiday dinner the same day atnoonat the Community Center. They are asked to call April or Cathy at the village offices to make their reservations if possible. This is open to Senior Citizens in surrounding towns, and is not limited to Pioneer residents.

Following an executive session to discuss personnel, council member returned and approved a motion to appoint Al Fiser as zoning inspector.

Council then accepted Richard Schmucker’s resignation. Said Mayor Kidston, “We appreciate your service.” Council members wished him well.

Schmucker closed the meeting by saying, “I’m in my 23rd year of service, I’ve enjoyed. I don’t know of any place better than Pioneer.”

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