Discussion was brought up about trucks continuing to travel on Baubice Street, and a rural resident returned to repeat her complaints about increased traffic on County Road 15 at the April 8, 2013, Pioneer Council Meeting.
Chief of Police Tim Livengood gave his monthly report stating that in March the department had received 142 calls for service. Eighty-six of these were officer initiated, and 41 were resulted in dispatch. This resulted in 23 incident reports, 13 traffic warnings issued and four citations issued. Three persons were charged, two at a misdemeanor level, and one a felony. There were two non-injury accidents.
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Pioneer Fire Chief Denny Fackler reported that the department responded to 13 runs from March 18, 2013, through April 8, 2013. The firemen also followed up on eleven controlled burns. Fackler noted that there was a good turn out for the annual Williams County Fireman Association Banquet held at the Pioneer United Methodist Church on March 27.
In the first order of business, council member Richard Schmucker noted that even though several “No Thru Truck Traffic” signs have been installed along Baubice Street, trucks continue to use the street to get to Reifel Industries. He noted that concerned citizens had asked him what was being done about this. Mayor Ed Kidston responded that at this time, police have not been ticketing truck drivers, but they have been advising them that they are no longer to use this route, and that they are discouraging them from using Baubice Street. Chief Livengood added that the truck drivers with whom he has spoken have been willing to cooperate.
Council heard from rural Pioneer resident Annette Heller who rehashed her concerns about increased truck traffic down County Road 15, on which she lives. Rather than having traffic re-routed to go down the county road or across Baubice Street, she stated for the second month in a row that she wanted to see a road built connecting to Industrial Drive so that trucks from Reifel Industries could avoid both of the other routes. As he had stated on March 18, Kidston reiterated that the project would cost $2 million dollars, and although he would also like to see such a road, the village could not presently afford the project. “The routing is set. It’s not going to change” in the near future, said Kidston. Heller then left the meeting.
Tracie Greer and her father Norm Thorp presented plans for five new buildings to be built on their parcel of land on Lakeshore Drive. They asked permission to build a road that would accommodate one of the new buildings. The apartments in this building would face the new road to avoid more traffic at the intersection of Lakeshore Drive and US 20. He asked that they be permitted to begin this project immediately and develop the road. Village ordinance requires that any new roads must be approved before a building project can start. Thorp said that the road had been approved by council about 1992 or 1993. Village solicitor Tom Thompson found an ordinance that stated that if a final platt had not been sent to the county recorder within three months, it would be considered null and void. Greer and Thorp will need to meet with the zoning committee for approval before building on a new road.
Thorp presented a request that sewer and water tap fees be waived for new construction within the village. He believes that having affordable lots with low utilities will “attract new employees into Pioneer with some nice new rentals and keep them in town with new homes for sale.” He feels that waiving the fees would also increase the attractiveness of the area to potential builders. Kidston asked the utilities committee to meet and discuss Thorp’s request. Thorp had also stated that his “current residents comment (that) the energy efficiency of the newer construction is what makes it affordable to live in nice, newer homes.” He added that his taps are already in place and he would not personally benefit from this measure, but that it would benefit new builders.
Village Administrator Al Fiser that the future parking lot for the American Legion has been laid out. This parking lot will be located at the northeast corner of Elm and Church Streets. Funding for the project will be filed this month with the commissioners for CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds. Funding is not guaranteed, but the village has been able to receive money for projects in the past. Mayor Kidston noted that there would be more competition for CDBG funds this year. In May, recommendations for CDBG recipients are made to the state. The American Legion is also raising funds for the parking lot. The project would likely not begin until June or July of 2014.
The village parking lot off North Elm street next to the park has been sealed and striped. Tests on the lot were favorable, and previous problems with the lot are being corrected.
Fiser also gave a water line update. There should be enough funds available through the water fund to take care of all three lines at a cost of $70,000. The project should begin in July or August.
The street project estimate, including all of Mulberry Street is at &89,000. If the village were to work on only the first block, the cost would be about $15,000 less. The village has the funds through income tax collection, the motor vehicle tax, and from street funds. They may have to take $10,000 to $15,000 from the general fund. Fiser hopes that the actual cost of the project will be less than the estimates as prices for materials are similar to last year’s. Fiser asked council for permission to start the process, and council approved his request. Mayor Kidston suggested that the village hold off on the actual start of the project until May or June to see how the economy goes in the meantime. Kidston added that the town could still be on track for the project even with a slight delay.
Village officials wanted to remind residents that the large trash pickup will take place on Friday, April 26 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and on Saturday, April 27 from 8 a.m. until noon. The drop off location will be at the Village Garages west of town on First Street. They will also be accepting oil for recycling.
Fiscal Officer April McMillen attended a conference last week, and took classes on new PERS (Public Employees Retirement System). Those employees who are presently paid quarterly, such as council members, will have to be paid monthly beginning in 2014 according to new regulations. She also asked council permission to attend a Public Finance Training in Sandusky on June 10 – 14. She asked for approval so that she could apply for a scholarship to cover costs for the training. Council approved her request.
Council member Rod Eckley asked when the dike near Lakeshore Drive would receive topsoil and seeding. Administrator Fiser assured him that this would be done soon, and that they are waiting for drier weather to be able to seed the area. This should take place sometime this spring or summer.
Fiser added that they did well at a recent auction where the town sold a truck and a motor.
Council member Richard Schmucker noted that there are sidewalks in town that are in bad shape, making it difficult to walk. Some appear to need replacing. Fiser said that he would add this to a list of things to check on.
Council members voted upon and passed Ordinance 03-2013: An ordinance to amend the Village nuisance abatement codes and repealing conflicting sections of the ordinance, and declaring an emergency.
They also passed Resolution 02-2013: A resolution in support of maintaining tax-exempt financing options for municipal projects.
The officials met in executive session to discuss property acquisition and compensation of personnel before adjourning for the evening.