The Pioneer Village Council heard from Ryan Burt and other members of the North Central Levy Committee during the Monday, May 14, 2014, meeting. Burt was on hand with Superintendent Ken Boyer, Principal Tim Rettig, and school board president Craig McKarns also in attendance. They presented a Power Point detailing a drawing of the proposed new high school building, the cost of the project, including a breakdown of costs that would be funded by the state, and how much would be the responsibility of the district.
The old building was built in 1922-1923 and though it was “a solid facility in 1923,” the district is in need of a new building. Not only would a new high school be far more energy efficient, but it would be on one level and handicap accessible. The committee expects a savings of about $15,000 per year in just energy costs. The total cost of the new building is $9,423,830. Of that, the state will fund $4,303,435, with the district picking up an equal amount. In addition, a locally funded initiative would fund additional classroom space at a cost of $816,960, for a total cost to the district of $5,129,395. The 1.4 mill Bond levy will provide $2,300,00, and the Permanent Improvement loan fund will provide another $2,000,000. In addition, the district already has $320,395 in their current Permanent Improvement savings and a local donor has added $500,000.
Members of the committee noted that the district is presently paying on a building fund that was used toward the elementary/junior high, but that this is set to expire at the end of 2014. The new levy would begin in 2015, so even though this is a new tax, it will almost act as a renewal. Superintendent Ken Boyer wanted to address concerns that there would be even more money needed for the school once it is built. He said, “We are not projecting new funds after this. We have a good five-year projection,” and they plan to remain financially sound. He also said that the state does not usually allow districts to keep their other buildings, but the school will be able to keep the present cafeteria and the gym, although the old cafeteria will eventually be used for other purposes. The new high school will be connected to the junior high. Its entrance will be from the south parking lot.
Mayor Ed Kidston said that a new high school is very much needed, and enthusiastically threw his support behind the proposed levy. Council then passed Resolution 03-2014, a resolution supporting the levy and encouraging voters to vote yes for the levy on May 6. Only council member Rod Eckley abstained from the vote due to personal reasons of wanting to keep his vote on local issues private. Kidston said that he understood Eckley’s position, but he believes that the construction of a new high school will greatly benefit the Village of Pioneer and its residents, and residents of the district.
In his report, Chief of Police, Tim Livengood said that they were looking into the possibility of installing a pedestrian crosswalk from the Thompson-Geesey Funeral Home on First Street to the parking lot across the street. The have found that traffic is fast along the road and they want people to be safe. There are many people walking across the street during times of visitation and during funerals, and they want to increase safety. This was table until the next meeting. Livengood said that member of the department were selected a Domestic Violence seminar, of which only 40 from the state had been chosen. Livengood noted that departments in Pioneer and the area are ahead of others in the state in their training, and are involved in the Domestic Violence Task Force.
Fire Chief Denny Fackler reported that since the last council meeting, his department answered 17 calls, and two controlled burns. Members of his Truck Committee recently went to Columbus to a Fire Truck show and they got a lot of good ideas for any future fire trucks that the village may eventually need.
In other business, council approved a request from the Pioneer Area Summer Recreation Association for $5000 for expenses. The voted to approve Resolution 02-2014, a resolution urging voters to support State Issue 1, a renewal of the State Capital Improvements Program, on the May 6, 2014, ballot. Mayor Kidston said that the Village of Pioneer has benefitted greatly from the program which has brought “hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, from this program. “This is a program that works. These are actual funds that come back to us” for such projects as the water tower, water and sewer projects, re-pavements, and many other work on the infrastructure of the town. He added that “this is a very positive program for the village.”
Clerk-Treasurer April McMillen said that she had heard from the state’s audit committee, and they had told her that an exit interview following their audit earlier this year would not be necessary, as the books were so well kept. Kidston congratulated her for a job well done.
Council went into an executive session to discuss property acquisitions, and upon their return to regular session passed Resolution 04-2014, resolution for the acquisition of the right-of-way for the creation, maintenance, and improvement of public streets within the Village of Pioneer. This is in regard to the Toledo-Western Parkway, a road on the north end of Lake Pioneer which is presently privately owned. It connects two parts of town, and once acquired will be maintained and serviced by the village. The owner will be compensated.
The meeting was adjourned. The next meeting is planned for Monday, May 12, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. Meetings are generally held on the second Monday of each month, but are sometimes rescheduled.