Greg Myers sitting at the table during a council meeting
Councilman Greg Myers Credit: Cheryl Splain

CENTERBURG — Village Administrator Teri Wise said the village will no longer post public notices in the Mount Vernon News.

Instead, the village has created a Facebook page to notify residents of meetings, hearings, and other public notice items.

The change stems from House Bill 33, signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine in July. The bill gives municipalities two alternatives to posting in a print newspaper:

•Post on the Ohio News Media Association website

•Post on their own website and social media

Village administrators will still post the notices on the door to the Town Hall.

Wise said the Facebook page will go live today. The page will be a notification only. It will not have a live comment feature.

Council members reviewed a proposed contract with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office law enforcement services from Jan. 1, 2024, through Dec. 31, 2026.

Under the contract, the KCSO will supply, at a minimum, two officers, each working a 40-hour week.

The contract will not exceed $180,000 in 2024. There is an option to increase that amount to match the collective bargaining agreement.

There was no contract legislation on Monday’s council agenda. Wise said she plans to have the contract approved at the Dec. 4 council meeting.

Regional Planning Commission

Council members gave a first reading to an agreement to remain members of the Regional Planning Commission. Dues are $423.50.

Mayor Greg Sands noted that because of the most recent census, the village representation on RPC dropped from two members to one.

Sands said he does not “see much function” from membership. He noted the village makes decisions and recommendations based on village needs. However, RPC members do not support the village’s position.

Councilman Greg Myers agreed the village does not have a voice at RPC, and decisions are made by people who are not affected by the proposals.

He cited the approval of Table Rock Estates, an 11-lot subdivision, and the preliminary approval for an additional 16 lots as an example.

RPC approved Table Rock Estates by a 13 to 2 vote. Sands and Myers cast the dissenting votes.

The commission approved the additional lots in July by a 17-2 vote, pending resolution of a road issue. Sands and Hilliar Township Trustee Jason Rogers cast the dissenting votes.

Myers said the development adds more cars to an already dangerous stretch of road. Other concerns include construction trucks tearing up Wilson Road, more students in the school, and who will pay for student crosswalks.

Other legislative action

Council members took the following additional actions:

•Passed on third reading legislation approving health insurance for full-time village employees and for the Mount Vernon city law director to serve as prosecutor for the village in Mount Vernon Municipal Court

•Approved on third reading an increase in compensation for council members and mayor; the roughly 32% increase covers the lack of increase over the last four years

•Amended after three readings the codified ordinance relating to parking, changing the limit from 48 hours to 24 hours on any street, highway, or any parking lot owned by the village

•Gave a second reading to legislation relating to the 2024 appropriations and amending the 2023 budget

•Suspended the three readings and voted to donate $10,000 toward the Memorial Park playground. They suspended the three readings so the contribution could be made before the end of the year, taking advantage of matching funds from Ariel Corp.

•Went into executive session to discuss personnel.


Regional Planning Commission. Myers reported RPC recommended rezoning two parcels in Berlin Township from single-family residential to business. He also noted Jeff Gottke, president of the Area of Development Foundation, spoke about updating the county comprehensive plan.

COJFD. Councilman Tom Stewart reported the cyber security firewall is complete. The department is getting bids for a temporary storage building and a new roof.

The department now requires the 911 operations center to dispatch COJFD on all motor vehicle calls. The department has signed a contract with the Knox County Career Center to allow students to ride with department personnel on certain days. Additionally, the station is now approved as a state training site.

Legal. Village solicitor Josh Pleininger said that in the Nov. 7 General Election, village council had three open seats. Two were for full terms; one was an unexpired term currently held by Rusty Griffith.

Three candidates ran for the two full-term seats. No one ran for Griffith’s seat, which means the seat will become vacant Jan. 1, 2024. Council has 30 days after Jan. 1 to appoint someone to the position.

Griffith did not know he was required to run for his unexpired term until it was past the filing due date. Mayor Sands said that was an oversight on counsel’s part.

Pleininger said it was a difference of interpretation between counsel and the Knox County Board of Elections. Counsel referenced one section of the Ohio Revised Code; the BOE referenced another.

Village administrator. Wise said a recent Environmental Protection Agency visit at the water treatment plant went well with no violations. She submitted the Ohio Public Works Commission grant for the 38 Jerry Street stormwater project.

Wise received an invoice from the county for water/wastewater services in the Hazel Heights subdivision. Pleininger will research whether the village can bill only the subdivision residents for the services or whether it must be divided among all village residents.

The subdivision is not annexed into the city. Pleininger will also research the required number of property owners needed to request annexation.

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