Council still exploring local internet services

By ZAK GRIMM

With each member present except Councilman Doug Turpen–whom was voted as an excused absence, the Fredericktown Village Council met for a regular meeting on Monday, May 1, 2017 at 7:00 PM in the Municipal Building. Pastor Dennis Turner was present for the meeting’s prayer.

Briefly present to give more information toward a potential deal with the Village to provide high-speed internet service to residents in exchange for space atop the Village’s water towers for a few data relays and recievers–the exact number still to be determined, was former Fredericktown graduate and resident, Shelby Reed. Reed also would like to provide the Village’s police force with a number of high-definition, color video cameras, ideally installed at Sockman Park, the Police Department, and at other necessary locations, to allow for better visibility, security and enforcement in those areas.

Reed provided Council with a brief article from The Morrow County Sentinel detailing a recent agreement reached between the Cardington Village Council and non-local internet provider, Skywirez LLC, to allow for space on their village water tower in exchange for internet services, as Reed is hopeful to gain with Fredericktown’s representatives.

Councilman James Hobson asked Reed if, since the previous Council meeting, he was able to attend the most recent Finance Committee meeting, at which a good bit of the decisions to be made in considering Reed’s proposal would be determined one way or the other. Reed was unable to attend the meeting, and Council recommended that Reed first meet with Fiscal Officer Mary Lou Hannan and Village Administrator Bruce Snell to solidify the terms of the potential deal, and to do so before approaching the Finance Committee for a recommendation. Reed agreed to do so as soon as possible.

Council read through Resolution 2017-10 for a Third Reading, and without discussion necessary, passed the legislation unanimously.

With no Old Business to attend to from Council members, the group moved to hammer out some changes to the Pay Ordinance that Councilman James Hobson felt were necessary. These changes were not major, however, and mainly focused on amending the language in a few key sections so that those areas are consistent in their details. Other details included how the expenses pertaining to the School Resource Officer position could change, if the position were ever eliminated. Hobson wanted to be certain that it was made clear whether Fredericktown Schools would continue to cover the expenses, or whether the Village would incur those costs and then be reimbursed in the future.

Elsewhere in the Pay Ordinance, Hobson also wanted to ensure that the language pertaining to Village employees and their earnings with respect to compensatory time, sick leave and vacation days was made more clear, as the current legislation could be read differently by employer and employee. Council agreed that amending the language to make clear that the hours must be “earned” through work is the most efficient change to make. Council also agreed to eliminate the section following, and designate the discussion as a First Reading.

Village Administrator Bruce Snell informed Council that monetary quotes had come in for guardrails to potentially install at the edge of the former Ritchey’s Market parking lot, which the Village recently purchased to rebuild, thereby helping alleviate unsafe erosion from the adjacent steep cliff face, which had caused large portions of the embankment to slide dangerously onto the Owl Creek Bike and Pedestrian Trail in late March 2017.

The best quotes for the guardrail pricing came from Dan Hathaway, at $37 per foot. In total, if guardrails are deemed by Council to be the best option for finishing the top of the embankment overlooking the nearby Kokosing River, the project would come to about $7,600. In another area on High Street, if guardrails are used, the cost would be about $950.

Council questioned whether wood fencing would be a better option than guardrails, but without the necessary costs for fencing available by meeting time, the group agreed to table the discussion until those figures were known.

Administrator Snell said that it took some unexpected extra time to get final bids for the upcoming Village street paving project, which will include Tayor Street, High Street and Columbus Road. The sole contractor which did send in a bid was unable to meet the level of the engineer’s bid–represented by Jim Mahorr of longtime Village engineering company, KE McCartney. The original estimate for the project, according to Snell, was $210,000.

Snell said that the engineer was currently working to determine the reason for the higher-than-expected cost. To help alleviate the issue and keep the project on the radar, the Village could “trim the scope” of the project, possibly not replacing as many catch basins as originally intended, or not paving as much of Columbus Road as was deemed appropriate.

For the ongoing installation of lighting on Butler Boulevard, Snell said that conduit had been run to the site, but that there was still work to be done to complete the project.

After complimenting the Fredericktown FFA and Village employees on their great work planting 29 new oak and maple trees at the greenspace just beyond Leve-Agriman on North Main Street and at Bollinger Drive for the annual Arbor Day project, Snell said that the gas-line work being done on East and West College Street will include returning the sidewalks to their original state before the work began.

Lastly on his agenda, Snell said that a Village employee recently resigned, but that a new employee–Mike Warner–had been hired to fill the vacancy, following an exit interview completed by Snell. Warner was one of three employees whom previously applied within the Village for the same work. Warner will begin work with the Village on May 8th.

Councilman Bill Van Nostrand informed Council that plans have been made to reintroduce a proper Farmer’s Market to the Village, and that the first event will be held on the first Thursday in June, from 4:00-7:00 on the Square.

“We’re really looking for vendors at the moment, so it would be great for everyone whom grows food items whom can be involved to do so,” said Van Nostrand. “We also hope to definitely take advantage of the traffic on Route 95, so we felt that the Square was most appropriate.”

Van Nostrand also called attention to the upcoming Christmas In July event, geared toward raising money for the Fredericktown Interchurch. “It should be a great time for everyone,” said Van Nostrand of the event, which will be centered up and down North Main Street in a few months.

Before moving into Executive Session to discuss potential sale/transfer of land, and personnel, the Finance Committee agreed to postpone their next meeting until May 18th at 5:30 in the Village Office, so that all members can attend.

Following Executive Session, Councilman James Hobson detailed the decision to work with the Fredericktown EMS regarding expansion and the sale of land.

“The Village of Fredericktown [agrees to] enter into a real estate purchase contract for 1.5 acres with the Fredericktown EMS district, and the property is to be split. The real estate is just south of the Police Department on South Main Street. The terms of said purchase contract would be that the EMS cover all transfer expenses of the property, and any costs related to the transfer. The transfer would occur in a period not to exceed 3 years from [a date] when they are ready to move dirt.”

Hobson said that the idea is that the Village has agreed to give the EMS land to build on, predicated on the notion that they do in fact plan to put up a new building, and if they do not build within the three years, the transfer won’t happen. They need the assurance that if they don’t build on the land, the transfer will happen. The Village will also have the right of first refusal, if the EMS does in fact complete the transfer and then chooses to sell the land. Additionally, if the three years comes to an end and the EMS wishes to continue the agreement, they will have to ask for an extension.

Council will meet for their next regular meeting on Monday, May 15, 2017. All residents are welcome to attend with questions or concerns for your elected officials.