By Kyle Bailey
Special to the Times-Junction
Plymouth council went into executive session at the Sept 9 village council meeting to discuss employee pay."Our administrator made a request to make a motion for a merit raise for Rebekah Fearing. I personally support that, but I know everyone else may not," council member Lee Welker stated. After 25 minutes of deliberation, the meeting resumed as Welker made a motion to accept a merit increase of $0.95 for Rebekah Fearing to be effective retroactive to Sept 7. With the raise, Fearings total pay has increased to $10.50 an hour. Welker commended Fearing on her work and progress in the village. "She has done a very good job, and I think she is deserving of a merit increase," he said. "As you can see from the list of duties performed that she brings a lot to the equation." Welker provided a service committee update to the council and reported the paving the village contracted for is finished. Funds for the new paving were supplied by the village's street fund. "We are doing some crack sealing trying to prepare ourselves for winter so we don't have a lot of damage with freezing and thawing this winter," he said. The water usage in the village is still an area of concern although the pool is no longer running, Welker mentioned. "Our water is still high. What we are doing now primarily is wasting water at the end of the line trying to maintain our chlorine," he said. "Chlorine has been a problem on several occasions because we have been down to the minimal level. "There is no need for concern or to issue a boil alert because our administrator has taken action and dumped some water off at the end of the line," he explained. In other council news, concerned local businessman Tom Shank addressed council concerning a reoccurring problem with another local business owner. He explained to council the other business continually leaves exercise equipment outside on the sidewalk in front of his store. "Saturday morning, there were agility ladders in front of my little building again with not a soul around," he said. "So I went out and cleared my sidewalk off and brought them into my building." Shank explained that a female came to his store and confronted him about taking the ladders. He stated the other business was in direct violation of a city ordinance by placing exercise equipment on village sidewalks as such and requested the council take a course of action regarding the matter. "As the property owner, I have a responsibility to keep the sidewalk unobstructed. That's how I feel and the reason that I did what I did," Shank protested. Mayor Tim Redden spoke to council about an incident that had occurred over the weekend regarding the exercise equipment. "I was at a wedding reception, and I had a person who does not live in Plymouth, but frequents the town, complain to me about the equipment being left outside on the sidewalk without anybody around," he said. "It's a continuing thing that I think needs addressed more harshly." Council member Keith Hebble gave a report about the village finances for the month of August. "The fund balances are satisfactory, but I am keeping a close eye on cemetery and electric funds," he said. "I've been concerned about the electric fund because we've been losing money every month. "Last month, we were a little bit positive," he pointed out. "Year to date we are down about $70,000. We are going to have new rates on the electric fund, so this should be taken care of with the new rate study." Hebble also informed council the village has qualified and met all the requirements for the Tree City USA award. He presented Redden with the plaque of certification. Welker took a moment to thank Hebble for his dedicated service to the village. The village established the tree ordinance in 1985 and first won the award in 1986. "I think this is a very pleasant thing for the village to have," Welker noted, "and it should be a source of pride for us." "We wouldn't have this except for the tireless efforts of Mr. Hebble over the years," he acknowledged. Fire Chief Rich Metzger told council that the Insurance Service Organization (ISO) came to the village on Monday to evaluate insurance service rates. "We won't know anything back from that until probably about the first of the year," he said. Metzger reiterated to the council what he was told by ISO. The village is currently at the low end of a 6 rating, and it would be nearly impossible to bump to a 5 rating by the end of the year. However, New Haven and Plymouth Townships are likely to jump from a 9 rating to an 8B rating he said. "Some insurance companies look at your ISO rating for determining rates," he explained. "So if it's an 8B versus a 9, then it can create somewhat of a savings to the resident of the township." Metzger met with fire and safety services to discuss new air packs for the fire department, which will be bought with a FEMA grant worth $114,000 given to the fire department. "We have the air packs specked out and now we're working on configuring the final numbers for that," Metzger said. "We're still waiting for the next phase of FEMA to get done with their stuff. We should be under the $114,000 budget established by FEMA." Council member Joe Runkle gave numerical information to the council regarding fire and police emergencies. For the month of August, the Plymouth Fire Department responded to 18 squad runs and has responded to 121 on the year. The Plymouth Police Department received a total of 278 calls for the month of August. Council approved the following motions: • Approved an ordinance pertaining to annual appropriations for 2014, and declaring it an emergency; • Approved an ordinance establishing electric emergency funds, short and long term electric improvement funds, and declaring it an emergency; • Approved a resolution accepting amounts and rates as determined by the budget commission and authorizing the necessary tax levies and certifying them to the county auditor, and • Approved a motion for Brian Sexton to cash out 40 hours of vacation time. The next village council meeting will be Sept 23 at 7 p.m.