Bethesda to begin term with acting officials

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BETHESDA - The village of Bethesda will begin the new year with two new temporary acting officials as a result of recent action by village council.

Councilman Dirk Davis will be temporary acting village administrator, and Councilman Dave Wines will serve as temporary acting police chief.

Earlier in the meeting, Mayor Marty Lucas informed council that Jeremy Campbell was resigning as police chief and village administrator. Village officials wished Campbell well in his new job, and Dick Quinlin, water system project coordinator, thanked Campbell for all of his help with the water project and for helping him around the office.

Council had a 45-minute executive session during that meeting to discuss personnel.

Lucas had a good report on 2013, noting it has been one of the most productive years in a long time. He went on to say a good group is serving on council, and a lot of extra work was done by village employees. The mayor also expressed his appreciation in that regard.

Action was taken on water and sewer rates as well as a change so meters will be read every month and usage will be billed monthly. The ordinance, presented by Clerk-Treasurer Ricky W. Burkhead Jr., listed the water rates as $9.85 per 1,000 gallons and sewer rates at $7.95 per 1,000 gallons with the base rate being $22.50 per customer per month.

Burkhead also presented a bill from the Rural Community Assistance Partnership for the rate study analysis totaling $4,800. Council decided to hold payment on the bill until it hears back from a letter sent to RCAP about the village's disappointment in the report.

Quinlin reiterated that Pam Ewing of RCAP has helped the village tremendously and has done a fantastic job working with the village on the project.

Still another water-related matter was reported. Councilman Brian Bee said he has calculated the the village has saved approximately $1,915,766 on the water project by obtaining a zero percent interest, 40 percent forgiveness loan with the Environmental Protection Agency.

In other matters related to the water project, Quinlin reported earlier in December that the project was at 10 percent completion. He also reported on requests for the extension of waterlines to several areas.

A resident asked how much time that residents will be allowed to schedule meter replacements, and Quinlin replied that probably a one-month time frame would be acceptable.

Campbell said a couple residents are upset that they are being required to replace their water service line because the line is not Environmental Protection Agency-compliant. Davis had a suggestion in that regard but no action was taken on that matter.

Quinlin reported Campbell had applied for a Geographic Information Systems grant, and this action had been approved by council. Last year, an effort had been made for assistance through RCAP to get the GIS mapping of the village's service lines.

The mapping project had been approved by council in June of 2012.

Campbell presented the 2013 administrator's year in review. He said that he had rewritten the application for a small governments paving project. He requested council's approval to submit the application, and it was OK'd.

Reporting that he, the street committee and street department had looked at a new street sweeper, Campbell said the sweeper would cost $123,000, and he suggested council focus on getting a building constructed for the street department prior to purchasing any new equipment.

Davis commented the new sweeper would help in taking care of the newly paved streets, once the project is complete; however, he also agreed that the purchase of a sweeper should be put on the back burner.

The village administrator said he is waiting on a construction company to get him a quote for a concrete pad for a street department building. Dave Green noted a company official said he would look at the project and get back to him.

Campbell presented the 2013 police department's annual report showing locations of calls made, crash reports and mayor's court reports. He also noted the village had 18 waterline breaks in 2013, that in total cost the village about $54,000.

Looking ahead to the new year, Mayor Lucas asked for a motion allowing him and the next council president pro-tem to attend the 2014 mayor's court training, and this was approved.

The mayor presented Councilman Dave Wines with a letter of recognition for his years of service to the village.

Lucas also informed council about committee assignments for 2014.

A sewer issue on Maples Avenue was reported by Lucas, who said it involved a back-up into a resident's basement. Noting the issue had been taken care of, he recommended the village pay the bills from the septic company for the required work, and council was in agreement.

Burkhead presented a letter from a health insurer, and there is an issue with the village's plan that does not meet Obamacare requirements so plans were made to check with a company to see what could be done.

Campbell reported a couple of police officers wanted to purchase their Glock handguns from the village. Council agreed to sell the handguns to the officers for $150.

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