Richard Schmucker was sworn into office as a member of the Pioneer Village Council on Monday, February 11, 2013, prior to the start of the meeting. A 22 year veteran of council, he had resigned from the position on November 30, 2012, due to changes in OPERS insurance requirements that stated he would not be eligible for lower cost insurance if he held an elected position. He is, however, allowed to be appointed to office, and council appointed him to fill his former seat for the village. Council members gladly welcomed him back into office.
Council approved the agenda, minutes of the last meeting, the January financial report and paying of bills before hearing Police Chief Tim Livengood’s monthly report. Livengood stated that they had had 135 calls for service in January, 19 incident reports, 9 traffic warnings issued, 5 traffic citations issued, and 4 misdemeanor criminal charges filed. One arrest warrant was issued, and there was one non-injury accident. Sunday continues to be the day when calls are highest. Service calls are up, and complaints decreased during January.
In the absence of Fire Chief Denny Fackler, Administrator Al Fiser read the fire department report. A Memorandum of Understanding had been developed between the Village of Pioneer and Community Hospital and Wellness Centers regarding protocol on decontaminating individuals in the event of a hazardous materials accident. The protocol puts in place a standard procedure for decontaminating and individual before sending them to the hospital so as to avoid contaminating the hospital setting. There is no contractural obligation. Council approved the Memorandum.
Council approved a change order for costs of the Baubice Street/Ohio Street project in the amount of $66,269.44. This is a cost beyond the first estimates and brings the total to $517,694.44. There has been some crumbling of the topcoat at the edges of the blacktop, and council will see what needs to be done to make repairs. The blacktop may need to be sealed. Money has been retained to pay for repairs if needed.
The insurance policy with Ohio Plan for property and equipment was up for renewal. The substation is insured for $3.5 million, and the village’s real estate and properties for $7.3 million for a total of $10.8 million. The village received a credit in the amount of $6307 due to being in the top tier as 15-20 year customers, bringing the total cost of the annual premium to $43,421. This is an increase of only $118 over last year. Council approved the renewal of the insurance policy.
Medical insurance for village employees was also discussed. Due to a 24% increase in premiums under the current carrier Medical Mutual, council will be asking employees to pay 10% of the premium. The village presently pays $10,618 and approximately $125,000 per year to insure eleven employees. The amount that each employee will pay will depend on how many spouses and dependents will be covered. Council approved participation in the plan under First Insurance Group out of Bryan, Ohio, and then approved the employee participation level. The administration had looked at costs around the area and for village employees in other towns, and this was reportedly the best deal.
Fiscal officer April McMillen discussed paying off the administrative building at a cost of $72,565.13. The village is paying 4.99% interest on the loan and it would be a cost effective measure to pay off the loan. It would also help with the cost of property insurance. Council approved this request. McMillen added that she is in the process of setting up an account for direct deposit for employees who wish to be paid in this manner. Those wishing to continue being paid by receiving a check will still be allowed to do so. She asked council to approve allowing her to attend a Local Government Conference in Columbus, Ohio, on April 3 &4, and also to attend the Ohio Clerks Conference April 16-18 in Maumee, Ohio. Council approved her request.
Village Administrator Al Fiser discussed minor repairs that were needed at the substation. He has received estimates from Pierce Engineering. Among the repairs needed are for three re-closers. Estimates for repairs are in the $30,000 range, and quotes received are from $17,000 to $35,000. A decision will need to be made before the next council meeting. Council approved allowing engineers to make repairs not exceeding $40,000, and allowing the administrator to enter into a contract.
Council member Connie Salisbury said that a village resident had come to her personally to thank council for addressing parking concerns on Lynn Street. Signs were posted forbidding parking on the street as the area had become a bottleneck during the hours that school buses were running. Parked cars had made getting through the street an issue for both cars and buses
Council has been invited to attend “Thirty Years of WEDCO” during the WEDCO Business Expo in March.
Mayor Ed Kidston proclaimed February 1-28, 2013, as Technical and Career Education month.
Council approved Ordinance 01-2013 regarding a bill for $42,000 for the Streetscape project. The amount of $30,000 was added to the street fund and $12,000 into the electric fund.
Council members asked about the proposed solar panel project that would be located at the lagoon outside of town. Attorneys are still working on language in the contract. At present, language exists that could be harmful to the village if the project “goes sour.” Mayor Ed Kidston said that if they are not able to mitigate risk in the contract language, the village is not likely to follow through with the project.
Before adjourning to executive session to discuss property acquisition, council members wished the North Central Lady Eagles and the men’s Eagles teams good luck in their upcoming tournaments.