By Ellen Simmons
New London Council members voted unanimously Monday to officially take over the Terry Wilson Memorial Observation Deck project planned for the New London Reservoir.Planning for the deck began a year ago when the Rotary Club and the Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) agreed to sponsor the project. Since then $30,000 has been raised by fund-raisers and donations for the $64,000 project.In order to get the deck constructed this year, permission was asked of council to borrow the remainder of the money needed from the CSX Fund, which is administered by council. Solicitor Steve Bond recommended the best way to do this is to have the village take over the project.The Rotary Club and CIC will still be responsible for raising the money needed to pay back the CSX Fund, and information about these efforts will be released soon.Wilson was a New London High School and Ohio State University graduate who was long-time editor of the New London Record. He loved the outdoors, and council members agreed the deck is a fitting tribute to an outstanding member of the community.In other business, administrator Shawn Pickworth reported two village employees have finished their backflow recertification and two more are currently in school for their certification class.One hundred tons of road salt will be delivered this week as part of the summer fill-up through the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). Two trees on Birch Park Drive need to be removed, and bid documents are being prepared for that street's improvement project, according to Pickworth. Bidding should begin in mid-October.He said the sanitation crew has begun hanging blue tags on trash cans that need to be replaced or that are larger than 32-gallon capacity. Containers should never exceed 60 pounds, and 55-gallon drums are too heavy for one person to empty. He suggested anyone with questions or concerns about the pick-up crews or trash cans contact him at 419-929-4091.The parks are preparing for the Labor Day Festival, according to Pickworth, and wrist bands at discounted admission prices are available at the village office or Gilbert's Hardware. Tickets for the 3rd Annual Gun Raffle to benefit the parks are also on sale at these locations for $10 each or six for $50.Work continues on the village office roof replacement. Residents may be asked to park on James Street if the area around the building is closed due to the construction.Pickworth expressed appreciation to the firefighters for weed whacking and spraying the sidewalks in the downtown area. He added this is the responsibility of the business owners but unfortunately, it often does not happen.Acting upon the recommendation of Police Chief Mark Marko, council accepted the resignation of full-time officer Kevin Verburg. He will be replaced by Seth Miracle, who is now a part-time officer. Verburg will continue on a part-time basis.After hearing insurance agent Vicki Missler outline the choices available, council voted to renew the health insurance coverage with Assurent Health. The plan is self-insured and Missler said has worked well for the village for the past year. The premium will rise from $213,000 annually to $250,000."It's a 13 percent increase but we area still better off than we were two years ago. We were paying $20,000 more for medical insurance than we are now," said Pickworth.Council passed an ordinance making Constellation Energy Services the natural gas supplier to the village's Gas Aggregation Program and another ordinance allowing fiscal officer Melissa Wilson to withdraw start-up money for the festival. An ordinance was introduced on third reading amending the job description for the position of utilities foreman.Council member Stuart Cooke said he had been contacted by a Park Avenue resident concerning an addition to a house and whether it sits on a flood plain and if it is on a neighbor's lot line. The solicitor said this is not a village matter.New London Council meets regularly on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in council chambers. The next meeting is Sept. 14.