Fayette council 2013.03.06

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Personnel issues dominated the evening last week for Fayette village council members. Two resignations were accepted, an employee was hired and a pair of salary increases were approved.

Jeff Merillat is back with the village as a full-time employee, hired as the utilities superintendent at a pay rate of $19 an hour. Council intends to hire one more employee who will focus on streets and grounds, but is willing to become licensed for sewer and water work as a back up to Merillat. Several inquiries have been made about the second position even before it's been advertised

Pay raises were approved for village administrator Steve Blue to $34,000 a year and for village worker Dean Myers to $12 an hour. Voting was approved by a 4-0 count, with council members Julia Ruger and Diane Brubaker absent.

Village fiscal officer (VFO) Lisa Zuver is asking for a pay increase since she has taken on extra duties following the retirement of tax administrator Dee Lawrence. Council met in a closed session to discuss the issue and later voted to advertise for part-time office help to serve as a backup in case of illness. No decision was made about Zuver's request. It was stated that if Zuver doesn't agree with council's decision to make adjustments to her salary, she will return to her VFO duties only and a part-time employee will be hired.

Councilors accepted the resignations of part-time police officers Adam Berg and Michael Polley and gave police chief Jason Simon permission to advertise for additional part-time officers. Some council members thought he was already seeking help, but Simon said he was still waiting for permission from council since he was previously told not to hire anyone else.

Chief Simon is recommending that council hire one additional full-time officer in addition to part-time help.

CSO—Blue said he heard from a few citizens who were concerned about trenching for sewer work in the area of the former Fayette Tubular Products property. Soil is not to be disturbed in the adjacent property where the school once stood and clean-up from contamination continues at the factory site.

Blue said the Ohio EPA has approved the project, but any dirt hauled away from the site will be tested for contamination, at a cost of about $1,000.

Additional costs will be incurred to meet the demands from Camille Ajaka who oversees the cleanup of the factory site and monitoring of adjacent areas. Ajaka told Blue that trenching should not be done in the strip of land directly west of the former school site. Further concerns were expressed about an area of Gamber Road and in a location where a monitoring well exists.

Blue said one issue remains concerning the removal of a tree for sewer work. The tree is in the right-of-way, but the property owner has a vehicle parked under the tree.

Village solicitor Tom Thompson will send a letter to the property owner stating that the village requests that the vehicle is moved during cutting, but if not, cutting will proceed. Blue said a crane will be needed for the job to avoid damaging the vehicle, and this will cost extra.

PARKING—Councilor Dave Wheeler asked if an ordinance exists regarding parking in front of downtown businesses. Blue said there is one, but Chief Simon has concerns about ticketing for violations when no signs are posted. He is awaiting an answer from prosecutor Mark Powers.

"We really ought to have signs up if we're going to enforce it," Wheeler said. "There's no reason to have an ordinance if we can't enforce it."

Blue estimated that 16 signs would be needed.

OPPOSITION—Council agreed to send a letter of opposition to Columbus regarding House Bill 5 that would give the state control over the collection of local income tax. Thompson said the bill has been watered down from the original proposal, but is still considered as not favorable to communities.

Other council action included approving the 2013 appropriations, reappointing Brad White to the park board, and buying a new phase converter for the water plant from Custom Ag for $4,800.

  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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