On Monday night, the Mount Sterling Village Council met in regular session, getting back to business-as-usual. Following the election last week, the council members offered congratulations to the winning candidates, including mayor-elect Billy Martin, who was present at the meeting and went immediately into updates in the village.
Some discussion was made as to the future of the now-vacant village administrator position, including the necessity or legality of having the position at all.
Councilwoman Mary Lou Stiverson-Ratliff posed the notion to village solicitor Mark Pitstick. “Is there a law in Ohio that says that we must have an individual with no other real duties but village administrating? Is there a law that says we’re required to?” Stiverson-Ratliff asked.
Pitstick said that there wasn’t a legal requirement to have a village administrator.
“Other villages with similar sizes do not have village administrators and they do not have a Committee of Public Affairs,” said Pitstick. “In those particular villages, they have superintendents.” The council decided, however, that anything to do with the village administrator position would be left to the new council and mayor in 2018.
On Nov. 1, the village council had a meeting with the State Auditor’s office to discuss a report with details relating to the Joe Johnson case. The former village administrator pleaded guilty to numerous crimes including theft in office earlier this year. The village had until Nov. 8 to respond to the details, but the information of the report has not been released to the public.
In general business, Fiscal Officer Courtney Bricker said the new water plant should be running by next week.
“Once the tests are done, we can fully operate through there,” she said. “They want to show everybody and it’s open to the public.” The water plant facility has been more than a year in the making; the village held a groundbreaking ceremony in April of 2016. Mount Sterling’s Jay-Car Construction was behind the building of the facility which is located on State Route 207, west of the village.
The village will also be getting the final amount of grant money from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program which will go toward the walking path at Mason Park. Mount Sterling applied for CDBG grants in 2015-16 as part of a Neighborhood Revitalization project as well as funding from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The money went to a variety of projects from installing new playground equipment at the park to demolishing vacant structures.
In other business on Monday night, council:
• Approved resignations of village workers Wayne Green and Tom Taylor.
• Adopted resolution 2017-20 to contract a village law director.
• Approved second reading of ordinance 2017-21, which would approve the budget for 2018.
Council also decided to continue the series of work sessions to determine the health insurance provider for the council members. They will meet on Monday, Nov. 20 since they have to have that decision before the end of December.
Reach Michael Williamson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619.