Joel Burt was sworn in as Pioneer’s newest council member prior to the start of the first meeting of the new year on Monday, January 13, 2014. Returning council members David Thompson and Connie Salisbury also took their oaths of office. Council’s next action was to nominate and elect Rodney Eckley as their president. Eckley will conduct meetings in the event that the mayor is absent.
Chief of Police Tim Livengood presented the annual End of Year Report for 2013. The extensive report was compiled by Officer John Roberts using statistics from 2013 to 2013. During 2013, the Police Department handled 1653 calls, as compared with a total of 1238 calls in 2012. There was an increase in traffic warnings from 2012, and there were a total of 59 traffic citations in both 2012 and 2013. Of the 32 criminal charges filed in 2013, 25 were for misdemeanor offenses, and 7 felony charges. The department responded to 26 accidents: 12 private property; 13 non-injury; and one injury accident. The Village of Pioneer retains three full-time officers, nine part-time, and four auxiliary officers.
This past year, the police department added video cameras to their vehicles, and Livengood said that these cameras were well worth the purchase price for the added protection they afford both the officers and the public. The cameras are also used to provide documentation for court trials, and for training officers on practices and procedures. The department also obtained tactical vests donated by the Bryan Police Department. Small purchases brought the vests up to date.
Mayor Ed Kidston and Chief Livengood recognized retiring officer Terry Bartel for his 40 years of service with a plaque and a retired officer badge. More information can be found in the accompanying article. Due to the resignation of the prior Sargeant, Officer John Roberts was promoted to Sargeant and second-in-command to the Chief of Police.
For his Fire Department report, Chief Denny Fackler said that the department had responded to 20 calls and one controlled burn since the last council meeting. He noted that Rodger Swank had stepped down from the position of Assistant Fire Chief, and that Don Bertke had been tapped to replace Swank. Fackler counted a total of 263 runs during 2013. This total is down 24 runs from 2012. This came to total of 1424 hours of manpower, which is also down from 2012. The department recently logged and mapped out the fire hydrants in the village. Fackler praised the fireman for their efforts in battling a blaze just over the border into Michigan on the evening of Sunday, January 5, during a heavy snowstorm. A snow plow went out in front of the fire trucks to make the roads passable, and although the structure was a loss, Fackler noted that they worked very hard in dangerous weather conditions.
Pioneer resident Jared Stewart, representing the Pioneer Recreational Department, requested permission to hold a co-ed softball tourney on June 27, and a 5K run and a sand volleyball tournament on June 28 as fundraising activities. Stewart also praised the village’s first-responders. He experienced an emergency recently, and said that departments quickly responded and provided transport to an area hospital in a short amount of time.
Council members praised the street crew for their job of clearing the streets during the recent heavy snowfalls, especially during the record low temperatures. They had received good feedback from residents. Mayor Ed Kidston said that this was due to good leadership and an outstanding job by the front office.” A Pioneer man in attendance also remarked that he was pleased with the “great job” done. Administrator Al Fiser said the crew’s work was “done efficiently and done well.” The village’s dump trucks were put under extra strain during the recent blizzard, and their 1991 Chevy dump truck lost its transmission for the 4th time since being purchased. A privately-owned truck had to be used to salt the streets. As the Chevy dump truck was 13 years old and road conditions warranted a quick replacement, Fiser met with the mayor to arrange the purchase of a new dump truck. Quotes were received, and a 2013 Chevy dump truck with a basic snow plow package was purchased. Village ordinances authorize the administrator to make purchases of up to $50,000. The original price was $47,724, but with a trade-in and rebates, the total price was lowered to $35,764.
Fiser said that pictures had been taken of the old water tower and are available for viewing in a photo album at the village office. The tower was demolished in December.
Village Clerk/Treasurer April McMillen presented council with reports on the carry-over balance from 2013, the estimated revenue for 2014, and the budget for 2014. She asked for and received approval from the council to attend the Auditor’s State Confernce in March. Mayor Kidston praised McMillen, saying, “You’re doing an outstanding job.”
Two members of the council were appointed to the Pioneer Volunteer Fire Department Dependents Fund committee. Al Kwader and David Thompson will fill those roles. Council appointed Fire Department members Denny Fackler, who will serve as chair person, and Rich Meyers to the committee.
Council moved to go into executive session to discuss personnel and compensation, and upon returning to open session, accepted the resignation of Brad Plummer as Electrical Supervisor effective January 2, 2014. He has taken a position elsewhere. Brad Van de Voorde was named the new Electrical Supervisor at a rate of $28 per hour with benefits.
The next meeting of the Pioneer Village Council is scheduled for Monday, February 10, 2014, at 7:00 p.m. at the Pioneer Community Center.