At the Village of Galena’s February Council meeting, Council voted to hire Levi Koehler as the Village’s part-time maintenance employee. He will work 10 hours per week flexibly scheduled to provide backup support for snow plowing, mowing and other maintenance duties. Koehler grew up in the Galena area and is a Big Walnut graduate. He is an Army veteran who served with the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan where he assisted in construction of buildings, wells and bridges. He has a variety of experience with heavy equipment, welding, surveying and grounds keeping. Koehler is currently a part-time student at Otterbein University.
Council heard from Shelia Hiddleson, Delaware General Health District Commissioner. She gave an update on the Health District which conducted a community health assessment in 2012 and is drafting community health goals from the information gathered. Hiddleson said the District is one of only a few in the state that have applied for accreditation. She also discussed the 0.7-mil renewal operating levy on the May ballot. County residents would pay $19.20 annually per $100,000 of property valuation.
Village Administrator Jeanna Burrell noted that staff was monitoring storm drains as snow melted to ensure they were functioning properly. The Village had used 59 tons of salt by the end of January. The scarcity of salt statewide influences the 2:1 ratio of grit/salt mix which did not melt snow and ice as well during the frigid temperatures. Keeping up with the winter weather has been a challenge.
Under zoning and development news, the Estates at Blackhawk Phase C plat has been recorded at Delaware County and a new model home is being built. The 90-day period to bring Sambuca Nursery into compliance with its new zoning classification expires at the end of March. The Village is working with the Galena Commerce Center (former Galena Brickyard) on updating a 15 year-old development plan. Four properties have been forwarded to the solicitor for legal action regarding property maintenance compliance.
In wastewater treatment plant news, the frigid temperatures have caused several issues at the plant. The Village has completed its wastewater treatment improvements project with Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) funds. The projects included a new SCADA system and purchasing a generator and a bypass pump. The Village will begin making semi-annual payments on a $66,848 zero percent loan and can pay it off early with no penalty. The generator was utilized during the February 24 power outage.
Burrell discussed progress on an investigation into downtown sewer line grease problems. A letter was sent in January to the two downtown restaurants explaining the problem; the Village’s authority under its sewer use ordinance; and, requesting grease trap cleaning receipts. Receipts have been received from one restaurant and the other was granted additional time. Lengthy discussion was held about how this expensive problem has been ongoing for years. Downtown lines had to be cleaned out on an emergency basis in May 2013 and already need cleaned out again. Council asked staff to investigate and attempt to resolve the issue.
Burrell reported that the Village’s new leased copier has been installed and is working well. The previous copier was more than 10 years old and had become very unreliable in recent years. Council reviewed estimates for a new tractor to replace an aging Kubota that is at least 20 years old. Council approved a three-year financing plan for a John Deere.
Fiscal Officer Marty Mazzie reported that the 2011-2012 Audit was received from the State Auditor’s Office and a post-audit conference will be held soon. Mazzie showed Council income tax collections comparisons for the first period of 2010-2014 as well as interest income since 2005.
The Income Tax Committee met prior to the Council meeting to consider three cases where income taxes were not paid. All three applicants were current on their income taxes and the Committee recommended forgiving penalties and interest. Council approved the recommendation.
Council held a first reading on a management agreement for the Ruffner Park ball field with the Columbus Sharks. The Village is reorganizing its special events. Journey Fellowship Church volunteers will assist Karin Underwood in organizing this year’s Easter Egg Hunt. Roy Merchant and David Simmons will continue coordinating Memorial Day. New Council member Joe Stoll and Genoa Baptist Church will coordinate the Ice Cream Social and plan to move the event to June. Melinda Simmons and Mary Brooks have volunteered to coordinate the Halloween Costume Contest. The Village is still looking for volunteers to coordinate Santa and the Tree Lighting which will most likely be combined into one event. Anyone interested should contact the Village office at 740-965-2484.