BY STEPHANIE GROVES
OTTOVILLE — Council member Tony Langhals made a motion to go into executive session during Tuesday night’s village council meeting to discuss two new policies pertaining to public comments.
After leaving executive session, council members announced the new policy allowing up to 30 minutes of public participation during each meeting. Each person must introduce themselves and/or the organization they are affiliated with and will be permitted to speak three minutes and can only speak again on the same topic after all other participants have had the opportunity to be heard. In addition, no person speaking before council can call out an individual member of the board to comment on a topic.
Members also adopted a new policy making it mandatory for each member to be emailed an agenda 24 hours prior to each council meeting.
Fiscal Officer Jeanne Wannemacher reported semi-annual transfers needed to be made out of the general fund and included: $2,000 for the water; $3,000 for sewer; $5,000 for the police department; and $50,000 for the street fund.
“Typically, there’s is $150,000 appropriated each year for these funds,” she said.
Council passed the ordinance for the storm sewer connection on its second reading.
Board of Public Affairs (BPA) member Dan Honigford reported the tar chip roof at the water plant is leaking. He said he called Todd Knippen to get an estimate on the repairs.
Mayor Ron Miller asked if the water was dripping onto any equipment. Honigford said he did not know but will call Water Treatment Plant Manager Steve Wittler for a full report today.
Honigford also spoke to council members about the upcoming work to be performed on the fire station. He said he spoke with different contractors and Miller Construction can do all the work, from the brick facade to the picture windows. Last month Honigford asked council for an additional $10,000 over and above the appropriated $50,000 for the fire station. He asked council if there were any questions about the improvements.
“Will you take the awning off and then put it back up when the work is complete?” Miller asked.
Honingford said the plan is to re-install the awnings.
“I’d like to see detailed quotes or drawings,” Langhals said. “We’ve been asked by other groups for money and had to turn them down.”
“Most contractors had to sub out some of the work and couldn’t do it all,” Honigford said. “Miller Construction can and I want to keep the business in town.”
“By subbing some things out, even if it’s businesses out of town, it may save money,” Langhals explained. “It is the village’s money.”
Councilman Randy Altenburger said that council asked the Finance Committee to look at the budget and appropriations.
“We have $50,000 allocated for the fire department for this year,” he said. “We still have street repairs and many other projects to pay for and we cannot afford the extra $10,000 for the fire house improvements.”
Honigford said he understood and thought the balance of the improvements might be afforded next year.
Council member Carl Byrne spoke on some much-needed street repairs.
“The area of Fifth and Canal streets is really bad and the road has sunk in that area,” Byrne added. “People can’t ride a bicycle down it.”
Street Supervisor Barry Koester agreed and said the repair would be a grind and pave.
Resident Mark Vorst took the floor to express his concerns about the potential for a Dollar General Store to be built across from the Ottoville Elementary and High School on State Route 224. He said per the Ohio State Patrol’s website, a speed limit reduction will not decrease fatalities.
“People can die in collisions whether it’s 35 miles per hour or 50,” Vorst explained. “Give me one good reason why it has to be there since there are four other locations to choose from.”
In essence, Vorst appealed to all council members to vote on the issue with their conscious rather than thinking about their wallet.
“We have the Miller Construction’s agreement guaranteeing the water lines on Auglaize Street,” Miller reported.
After reading through the agreement, Langhals pointed out the depth of the new lines — 30 to 40 inches — should be spelled out in the contract if they have to be replaced. All council members agreed.
The next village council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on May 20 in council chambers.