Gratis looking for new fiscal officer

By Kelsey Kimbler -

GRATIS — The village of Gratis is officially looking for a new fiscal officer. At the council meeting on Thursday, Feb. 16, council read a resignation from Fiscal Officer Tammy Line. She has taken a new position elsewhere that provides her with better benefits (specifically insurance). She has offered to stay until Feb. 22, and is willing to come in on the weekend and evenings to help out.

Council accepted her resignation.

There was discussion on the improvements to Ada Doty Street. The debate is whether to bid in June/July or wait until November. If the village bid in the summer, the work will get done significantly sooner and the water line will be addressed sooner. However, companies are busy during the summer and due to being busy with other projects, they do not bid competitively. If the village waited to bid until November, they will get better prices. The work will not begin until Spring 2018.

Council expressed, they worry to go through another winter with the water line, but this winter was mild so maybe it would not matter. If the village is going to bid during the summer, they need to decide that soon so they can begin on the paper work to meet the deadline.

Council voted to start bidding during the summer, as they felt it was more important to get the work done sooner.

There were also discussions regarding the Geeding Street Bridge. Village employees, representatives of the county, and ODOT have met to discuss the revitalization project. The plans are to: remove the existing deck and remove existing walls (while keeping the bottom). The application is due March 1.

The village will do a grant request for 2021 fiscal year. The village share will be around $83,000. They will ask for help through CDBG funds, hopefully getting the cost down to $24,000. This time table will give the village three to four years to save the money.

There was some debate about whether the village should dedicate this money to the project. Some argued the bridge should just be closed and the money should be put towards improving roads instead.

Council approved a motion to apply for the grant.

The village’s red ambulance was previously taken to 911 Fleet and Fire, according to officials. They found two batteries were bad and would not hold a charge. They checked the charging system on the ambulance and found that it was fine, but the side strobe light was also replaced. While EMS has not yet received a bill, they know the price will be under $500 and needed that amount approved. Council approved the request.

Since getting the ambulance home, there have been additional issues which might require the vehicle to return to 911 Fleet and Fire for additional work.

The water leak is still an issue. There is water in front of Dollar General and it is testing as having chlorine in it. They want to check the water before anything is decided. Dale Smith with the Utility and Street Department recommended getting a professional to take care of the issue. The village is currently seeking quotes for work to repair the leak in front of Dollar General. The village is willing to spend up to $1,000.

A truck the village bought from West Alexandria has had its salt spreader removed and put away. That truck has had break fluid leak and the Gratis Street Department would like to have it serviced for the first time ever. Council approved up to $1,000 for this servicing.

Last year the village purchased a new style pump at the wells, which has worked out great. Now, the Utility and Street Department would like to purchase a backup pump in case that one goes out. The village will purchase the pump and lab supplies for $662.

For Mayor’s Court in January 2017, the state received $525, Eaton received $21, and the village received $1,840 for a total of $2,386.

There was a motion to approve the payment of warrant number 30177 through 30221 for the amount of $27,802.57, and electronic number 21-2017 through 25-2017 for the amount of $10,116.36, for a total amount of $37,918.93.

In other news:

•Council approved the final reading of Ordinance 201-01 to adopt American Legal Publishing’s Ohio Basic Code 2017 edition.

•Council approved Resolution 2016-01 accepting a contract for professional services between the Village of Gratis and Attorney at Law Brian A. Muenchenbach.

•EMS Chief Joan Vance was given permission to hire Shawn Ren, who serves on the fire department, as an EMS driver.

•Ken Schneider, who is currently on leave of absence, resigned from the EMS Lieutenant position. He served on the radio and pager position, which has already been filled by an existing employee.

•The Fire Department is waiting for Findlay Fire to come to Gratis to service the rescue truck. The parts have been ordered and the repair will take place in Gratis, instead of Columbus.

•Police Chief Jeff King sought approval for Cal Tech to calibrate radars for $176. They come in once a year to the county for this calibration. It saves money for the county to have all departments serviced at once.

•Smith needed a motion to approve the service renewal with Badger Meter, for $1,594.56, but the issue was tabled for a future meeting.

The next village council meeting will be held on Thursday, March 2, at 7 p.m. in the Gratis Village Building.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-0461 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-0461 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH