Council examines spending limits
By Kevin Dye
A resolution that authorized improvements for the water system in West Jefferson also created conversation about changing current spending levels for the public service director.
West Jefferson Village Council discussed a proposed resolution that would authorize the purchase of parts and labor for scheduled preventative maintenance for the reverse osmosis system. The work would be done by Harn R/O Systems Inc. of Venice Florida in the amount of $5895.
“This is pretty straight forward,” public service director Dave Metzger said. “This is above our current amount for spending. We already have the filters in house. We need to get these people out with secondary filters and get everything set up and running efficiently. They will come up for a day from Florida and get everything set up.”
Council member Doug Eakins pointed out that this type of maintenance of the system is required every so often to have the reverse osmosis plant run properly.
“When we installed this system we knew that every five years or so we would have to have these membranes replaced,” Eakins said.
The resolution was unanimously by the council members and council president Ron Graver said that this particular issue raised questions with the spending limits for the public service director. Currently, regardless of the situation the public service director is only authorized to spend $2,500 without the consent of the village council.
“When talking with Dave (Metzger) about this issue, we discussed the problem with the $2,500 spending limit,” Garver said. “With something like the gas line work going on, if they (Columbia Gas contractors) find a collapsed sewer line it would behoove us to fix it right then. But if it costs $5,000 or $6,000 the work could not be done before it was brought to council. That restricts us from saving money. I would like to have a Finance Committee meeting to discuss this older resolution that set the spending limit.”
Garver also asked that if council members had any suggestions for increased spending limits to get those to the committee before they meet to discuss the situation.
Council also heard from resident Ray Martin, who has started a campaign to build a safer sidewalk for kids in the village to walk from West Jefferson Middle School to the Hurt/Battelle Memorial Library. Currently, kids have to cross Lilly Chapel Road on a curve and then cross the road again in front of the library.
“I’m here tonight to ask for support from council for a Safe Routes To Schools grant,” Martin said. “We need support from the school superintendent, middle school principal and council. I would like to know if we have your support Ron, as president of council. We have to list the individuals for the grant.”
Garver said that council will add a resolution to the next council meeting to show their support for the sidewalk project. Martin has established the Sidewalk Improvement Committee to raise funds and write the Safe Routes To Schools grant. The committee has several community residents involved from many areas of expertise. The group also received copies of the late Mike Harden’s book “Road Songs” donated by Hardin’s family members. Harden was a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch for several years and a former resident of West Jefferson.
“Mike was a great guy and he was good for West Jefferson,” Garver said.
Council was also greeted by a young visitor Monday night as Girl Scout Hannah Messer, from Troop 2787, addressed council. Messer let council members know that the annual Girl Scout cookie drive had started and she had an order form in hand if council members were interested.
“Cookie sales help us to do fun stuff like visit the historical society, the YMCA and other events,” Messer said. “I have been a Brownie for two years and before that I was a Daisy for two years.”
Messer said her goal this year is to sell 300 boxes of cookies for her troop and she was well on her way after collecting several orders from people attending the meeting.