By Jane Ernsberger
Times-Junction News Editor
Members of Plymouth Village Council adopted the new tax ordinance on its third reading. The ordinance will take effect on Jan. 1 with state mandated changes while the present tax ordinance will also stay in effect.
Council also gave first reading to an ordinance which would increase the water rates for the February 2016 billing. The ordinance also provides for an automatic three-percent annual increase each year.
DiAnn Jamerson, fiscal officer for the village, said a rate study recommended increase. The last rate increase was in 2014. The study, she noted, said the village did not need an increase in 2015.
“We needed to make sure in (20)16 and thereafter,” she told council members, “we need to do the three-percent and the increase. That way we don’t get stuck when we have to raise them in large numbers again, unless we get a huge project. That was their recommendation so we are able to continue to put money in capital and keep up with everyday expenses.”
Jamerson said the state is making it more difficult for municipalities to get funding.
“They want to see us being proactive,” he pointed out. “
Plymouth Mayor Tim Redden pointed out there are still two phases left to complete for the water project.
“It’s not going to be cheap,” he said.
“And that’s why they want us to start putting back and have capital asset plans to show the state that we are trying to take care of ourselves,” Jamerson noted. “It would help get the grant and the funding that we will need to do the huge projects.”
Council member Elaine Root said the village could not predict when the three-percent per year would not be needed.
“It needs to be evaluated down the road,” Jamerson explained. “We try to look at them annually. That way we don’t forget.”
In the past, any increase was not reviewed. Council members, Jamerson noted, were forced to make big increases.
Root asked how the sewer rate is based on the water.
“It’s based on the water usage,” Jamerson pointed out. “It’s not cost-wise. It’s how much water you are using and putting through the sewer system.”
Plymouth Village Administrator Jim Holloman said it was based on thousand-gallons.
Jamerson said if someone uses 3,000 gallons of water, they are being charged for 4,000 gallons of sewer.
Holloman pointed out it is at a different rate. There is a separate rate for the sewer and a separate rate for the water.
“This is just the water,” Jamerson said.
Council member Joan Felver noted the sewer rate is higher than the water rate.
“Yes,” Jamerson said. “It costs more to clean it than to use it.”
The Village of Plymouth buys its water from the City of Willard. Holloman said if Willard raises its rate, the village has to follow suit, putting the village into a Catch-22.
The new tanker for the Plymouth Volunteer Fire Department is in the process of being outfitted, according to fire Chief Rich Metzger. The date for full implementation into the fleet was optimistically set for Thanksgiving.
“We have people working on doing drivers training right now,” Metzger told council members. “As soon as we get the one butterfly valve at the right angle to do the actual drafting, it will be in service.
“We’re still working on a few issues with the manufacturer,” he added. “It’s just minor stuff. As soon as we get those two pieces put on the truck it’s going to be in service.”
Metzger said the radio has been installed in the new pumper, along with some other equipment.
“It’s coming along,” he noted. “Just not quite as quick as what we hoped. It can respond now and we just dump. Or we could pump off of it.
“It can respond now,” Metzger said. “I’d just rather have it so we can do everything with it.”
Council member Lee Welker said the village continues to collect leaves. The last day of collection will be Dec. 4.
Darin Elliott was granted a merit raise by council. His new rate is $12.80 per hour. Elliott does most of the electric work for the village.
“He’s been here three years,” noted Holloman. “And from what I’ve seen, the short time I’ve been here, he’s a real good worker.
Council gave approval for James Burton to cash out 61.5 vacation hours.
The monthly salary for Mike Gibson as meter reader was set at $500 per month. On Feb. 2, it will go up to $600.
Gibson is also a cemetery worker, causing council member Dwayne Cassidy to ask what would happen if he becomes the cemetery sexton and becomes a full-time employee.
“Then we will be looking for another water meter reader,” noted Redden.
In other personnel matters, Plymouth Village Council approved the following:
• Employment of Jared Hintz to the utility department on a permanent, full-time basis at $11 per hour, and
• Appointment of Ptlm. Taylor Temple to part-time status on the Plymouth Police Department after completing his probationary period and at $10.50 per hour.
Council member Joe Runkle said the Plymouth Police Department responded to 175 calls in October. Nothing, he noted, was significant.
The Plymouth Fire Department, he added, responded to nine squad calls in October. There were two motor vehicle accidents and four fire calls.
Metzger told council members those were mostly open burning situations.
Runkle said, at the recommendation of Plymouth Police Chief Charles Doan, the village will put a 2006 Ford Expedition up for auction. The vehicle had originally been donated to the village by a member of the police department.The maintenance and repairs needed for the vehicle, according to Runkle, are in the area of $900. The village will put the vehicle up for auction.