By Lynne Phillips
Jennifer Ball was sworn in as New London’s newest council member during Monday night’s meeting by Mayor John Martin.
Ball was appointed to fill the seat left vacant by Neil Winslow who resigned in March.
“This is something I’ve been considering and the vacancy gave me the opportunity to step up and be involved.” She added, “I am very excited to be a part of council.”
Village administrator Shawn Pickworth told council members there have been many calls, customers coming into the office and even some hate mail from residents who say their utility bills are not arriving on time. “The village delivered the bills to the New London Post Office on April 30, 2018.” He added, “I cannot speak to why the post office takes our bills and ship them to Cleveland just to have them returned to New London for delivery.”
Pickworth said the village spent thousands of dollars to change from the old card system to the new billing system. “They (the post office) said the cards were so easy to lose in a full letter system, yet we still have the same problem.” He suggested if residents are not receiving bills on time to please call the local postmaster to ask why.
Residents do have other options other than the mail to get their bills, according to Pickworth. “If you don’t receive a bill by the fifth of the month you are always welcome to come in and the ladies in the office will print one for you. You can also look up bills online and print it yourself. There is also a lot of good information found online including past usage, you just have to sign up. Residents may also sign up to have bills texted or emailed through the billing system.”
Potential Community Development Block Grant projects were reexamined by Huron County Commissioners after a number of items were brought to their attention. Pickworth said the village had to show proof of ownership of the village parking lot and show the lot was used by a large portion of the public for a potential paving project.
Johnson Drive and Pearl Street were found ineligible for funding for a paving project as they were considered dead ends. He told council, nowhere on the application did it state this. The village was told after a street by street survey the project would be eligible.
The projects submitted are expected to funded, according to Pickworth. “We might receive a little extra left-over funds on top of that.”
Pickworth is expecting to pursue and apply for a Critical Infrastructure Grant totaling $500,000 with a $50,000 match.
Projects being considered for the grant include a new storm sewer that runs from South Main to Fairhome Street. Currently there is no storm sewer in the area.
West Washburn Street, while not as highly traveled, is in terrible shape and needs new storm sewers and paving.
Council members approved a request from Pickworth to hire two individuals as summer help.
Isaac Popa and Carson Howell are the two hired and will be utilized as floaters and will be paid minimum wage. “They will work as needed,” Pickworth said.
Pickworth reported on the following items;
- A pre-bid tour of the water treatment plant for potential bidders for the Water Treatment Plant Improvement Project will be held for them to the see scope of the project and have questions answered.
- The Geographical Mapping Information System work continues.
- The Asset Management Team met with Larry Baxa and Michelle Rhodes from Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP). The meeting was the kickoff meeting.
- A waterline repair on Butler Road left 15 customers without service for about four hours on May 9 after a contractor drove a post on top of a line.
- Tanks have been cleaned, sludge drawn, dry sludge hauled to landfill, grass planted around sludge beds to complete the poured wall project from last fall.
- Blake Sanitation was called to clean sewers on West Main Street and West Washburn for the Columbia Gas Project.
Pickworth said, “As part of the project the gas company cameras all our sewer lines and if the camera can’t get through the lines they must be cleaned.” He said, “Once the project is complete the recorded video will shared be with the village. This includes both storm and sanitary sewers.”
- Catch basins have been replaced or repaired at the corners of South Railroad and James Streets, the alley behind Gilbert’s Hardware and two on High Street.
- A Natureworks Grant due on June 1, 2018 will be applied for.
A project that could be considered would include concrete work from the new park office to the new pavilion to make it compliant with the American Disabilities Act as well as some beach chairs and new picnic tables.
- Agenda items were approved as follows:
- An ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into a contract with the board of trustees of Northern Ohio Rural Water for the purchase of potable water as an emergency.
- Second reading of a resolution in the matter of determining of Emergency Management Service for the the village.
Joe Thomas, Recreation and Parks Supervisor reported a Pancake Breakfast will be held on May 27 from 8 to 11 a.m. Cost is by donation.
A Family Fun Day will be held at New London Reservoir Park on June 10 from 2-6 p.m.
Admission is free for kids under the age of 16, 16 and over is $2 each. There will be swimming, fun and games, basketball, inflatables, a bounce house and free hot dogs.
Council members adjourned their regular meeting in favor of a closed door session to discuss compensation of a public employee.
Council members approved moving Don Patton from an hourly employee to salaried as of May 21, 2018. He will be compensated at $59,000 per year. Patton joined the village as a water department employee in 1998.
New London Council meets regularly on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in council chambers located on James Street. The May 28 meeting has been rescheduled for May 29 due to the Memorial Day holiday.