By DAVID GREEN
Fayette has a new village administrator in place following a unanimous vote by council members June 27.
Steven Blue of Bryan was hired to serve as the full-time administrator—a position filled by Tom Clemensen on an interim basis since October 2011. Clemensen was hired a month earlier to serve as maintenance coordinator and took on the administrator role, also, after Amy Metz left the position for another job.
Blue brings several years of financial experience to his new job through his past work at Edon State Bank. Blue also has a law degree, and he practiced for a while, but says that career didn’t suit him.
Blue intends to work with village financial officer Lisa Zuver to look for ways to cut costs.
Blue grew up in Edon, but he has acquaintances in Fayette because that’s where his father, Burt, finished off his teaching and coaching career.
For the most part, Blue will work eight-hour days Monday through Thursday and half a day on Friday, but his schedule will have some flexibility due to evening meetings that he will attend. His starting salary is $28,000 annually, but after a six-month review that amount might be increased.
Mayor Ruth Marlatt thanked Clemensen for tackling both jobs at once.
“We really appreciate all of the time and effort that you have put in trying to fulfill the obligations of the position,” she said.
Council member Julia Ruger added that Clemensen can now return to his preferred job as leader of the village work crew.
BURNING—Open burning at the sewage lagoons property was reported to the Ohio EPA for a second time and EPA employees responding to the incident were not pleased with the reaction from Fayette police chief Jason Simon.
Chief Simon explained to council members that he questioned why burning is allowed in some communities and not in others. He called the EPA response harassment if regulations were not enforced equally.
Mayor Marlatt received a letter stating that a fine would not be levied, but one might be for additional incidents of non-compliance. The Ohio EPA levies a fine of up to $1,000 a day. If the matter is turned over to the state attorney general’s office, the fine could reach $25,000 a day.
The village might be able to obtain a permit for burning certain items. A lot of brush remains from past storm damage and a considerable amount of time would be needed to run it through the chipper.
METERS—Fayette received a $27,000 CDBG fund for the purchase of new water meters, but that’s only about 10 percent of the funds needed to replace all meters in the village.
Clemensen said the village will be required to replace the old meters in the next couple of years because they contain lead.
The new meters are read electronically, Clemensen said, which is the design now manufactured.
Village financial officer Lisa Zuver expects the auditing team will recommend sending water bills on a monthly basis, although meters will still be read quarterly.
WATER USAGE—Clemensen noted that daily water usage in the past month is about 30,000 gallons higher than average. He attributed that to water main breaks, fires and dry weather, and he’s asking residents to report any shifting of the ground since it could indicate a water main break.
TURNPIKE—Mayor Marlatt said she received a telephone call from State Senator Cliff Hite in reference to council’s letter opposing the sale or lease of the Ohio Turnpike. Governor John Kasich has proposed turning operation of the turnpike over to a private firm.
Hite said there is absolutely no chance that the turnpike will be sold. He said the turnpike wouldn’t be leased unless it was a benefit to nearby communities. Fayette’s letter detailed ways in which it would not be good for communities.
SERVER—Clemensen said the village is using a 1995 computer server that is operating on software from 2003. He was told by a technician that the server will probably fail soon and the village should consider replacing it before that happens.
Clemensen told council to consider leasing a server and backing up data offsite.
WAGE—Mary Kate Borer, who is filling in part-time at the village office while Dee Potter is on leave, will be paid $7.40 an hour.
GRANT—The village will apply for a pair of grants through the Ohio Department of Development to help pay for the sewer separation project. The grants total $600,000, but the village must prove low-to-moderate income status in order to receive the funding. [See related story].
SEWER VAC—Council approved spending up to $5,500 to rent a sewer vac truck to clean gravel from the intake line at the lagoons.