October 4, 2021 - Meeting Minutes

OCTOBER 4, 2021
7:00 P.M.
Brewster Village Council met in regular session with Mayor Chuck Hawk presiding.
Council Members bowed their heads for the invocation, provided by Clerk-Treasurer Kris King, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.
COUNCIL MEMBER HILLIARD MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER LONG and motion carried to excuse Sydney Radich this evening.  The vote: All yes.
Charles Hawk, Mayor
Dale Fox, Council Member                           Andrew Hess, Council Member                 
Thomas Hilliard, Council Member                Brett Long, Council Member 
Michael Schwab, Council Member
John Anthony, Solicitor                                  Kris King, Clerk-Treasurer            
Michael L Miller, Village Administrator
Mayor Chuck Hawk asked if there were any additions or deletions to the September 20, 2021 Council meeting minutes.  
COUNCIL MEMBER FOX MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER LONG and motion carried to accept the bills in the amount of $330,122.63.  The vote: All yes.
Dave Godwin, Police Chief Creter and Fire Chief Colucy were also at the meeting. 
There were no guests.
CONSIDERATION OF ORDINANCES & RESOLUTIONS: Titles of each read by Solicitor John Anthony
ORDINANCE 45-2021: An Ordinance Authorizing the Adoption of an Employee 7.14 Reporting to Work Fit for Duty Policy and the Addition of the Policy as Defined to the Village Employees Handbook was given third reading.
COUNCIL MEMBER HILLIARD MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER FOX and motion carried to approve the legislation as presented.  The vote: All yes.
ORDINANCE 46-2021: An Ordinance Authorizing the Adoption of an Employee 7.12 Self-Reporting of Convictions and Pending Charges and the addition of the Policy as defined to the Village Employee Handbook was given third reading.
COUNCIL MEMBER HILLIARD MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER HESS and motion carried to approve the legislation as presented.  The vote: All yes.
ORDINANCE 47-2021: An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 14-2018 and 76-2019 regarding the Village Employee Work Related Injury Leave and Benefits Policy was given third reading.
COUNCIL MEMBER SCHWAB MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER HILLIARD and motion carried to approve the legislation as presented.  The vote: All yes.
Second Reading: A Resolution accepting the amounts and rates as determined by the Budget Commission and Authorizing the Necessary Tax Levies and Certifying them to the County Auditor.
First Reading: A Resolution amending Resolution 35-2012 Authorizing Appropriation of the Moneys received in the Second Half of 2021 of the Sugarcreek and Tuscarawas Townships’ Fire and Ambulance Contracts temporarily diverted to the Ambulance Replacement Fund.
RESOLUTION 48-2021: A Resolution Honoring the Memory of Don Glick.
COUNCIL MEMBER SCHWAB MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER FOX and motion carried to approve the legislation as presented.  The vote: All yes.
COUNCIL MEMBER SCHWAB MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER HILLIARD and motion carried the untable the ordinance to Bid Out a Contract for the Construction/Remodeling of a Portion of the Former Fire Station to address Covid Compliance.  The vote: All yes.
ORDINANCE 49-2021: An Ordinance to Bid Out for a Contract for the Construction/Remodeling of a Portion of the Former Fire Station to address Covid Compliance was given third reading.
COUNCIL MEMBER SCHWAB MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCL MEMBER HILLIARD and motion carried to approve the legislation as read.  The vote: All yes.
First Reading: An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 26-2013 to remove “for Continuous period of longer than 24 hours” from Schedule B(2) of Schedule III Parking of Commercial Vehicles of Codified Ordinances.
POLICE DEPARTMENT:  Chief Keith Creter provided the following items in his report to Council:
  1. The generator has been installed and runs well.
  2. The body armor is in.
  3. There were 673 calls in September.
  4. There are two full-time officers off on injury leave.
  5. The Chief is sitting down with the Clerk-Treasurer to see if a seventh full-time officer is possible.
  6. The ordinance for part-time officers needs amended.
  7. Council Member Hilliard asked if the department had to close due to COVID, would the county be able to cover the Village.  Chief Creter stated that the county would not be able to cover.
FIRE DEPARTMENT: Chief Chris Colucy
 1.  677 Year-to-Date calls.
  1. The person with the Covid scare is back to work.
  2. Recommends that an ambulance be spec’d out.
  3. The pumper grant application is not expected to be awarded to us.  We will reapply next year.
  4. VA Miller suggested that the Chief check into a chassis that could have a new box attached to it from state purchasing.
  1. Resignation of employees: We need to improve our current ordinance whether it is abandonment, disciplinary, or resignation.  State makes it clear that if it is not in writing, it is effective when equipment is turned in.  Resignation needs to go to the appointing authority.
  2. Attended the Landbank Association Conference.  The state legislation has approved funds available for revitalization.  Each county has $500k to be given for landbank acquisitions of public nuisance properties.
  1. Thank you from Nancy Bucher for the Covid shot incentive and making the flu shots available.
  2. “Salute to Service” – Veterans Appreciation Event will be held Wednesday, November 10th at the Rocket Mortgage Field House.  Enter to win at www.starkcountyohio.gov/veterans until October 29th.
  3. Request to rent baseball fields in the spring and summer of 2022 from the president of Ohio Tigers Baseball and Softball and the owner of Tigers Aden Academy (Communication emailed to Council). Council Member Long stated that the fields are already committed to Falcon Baseball and are expected to be used by the Fairless Youth Program.
Council received the Village Administrator’s report last week to review.
COUNCIL MEMBER SCHWAB MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER HILLIARD and motion carried to accept the report as written and emailed to Council and to enter it into the record of tonight’s Council meeting.  The vote: All yes.
Administrator’s report for period 9/21/2021 thru 10/4/2021:
Filter Media Replacement Project. On Wednesday September 15th,we were to open bids at 1:00 pm for the Filter Media Project. The appointed time came and went, and we received NO bids.
As background, the Village requested and received 49% in OPWC Funds, split between a grant and a loan. The loan request was to obtain additional points in scoring. We received $94,080 in a OPWC Grant and $62,720 in a loan. Construction was estimated at $262,400 plus $26,300, for a total of $288,700. That was the same number in the recent advertisement for bids. The estimate was done prior to submission of our OPWC Grant/Loan Application in September 2020.
The initial plan was for CT Consultants to:
  • interview contractors.
  • discuss pricing.
  • look at material/subcontractor quotes and compare with the estimate.
  • Determine how to deal with the volatility of some items such as material and freight. CT did hear that for one item, the price guarantee was for one week, while the Village after opening bids would have at least 30 days to award a contract. 
Following CT’s inquiries, a meeting was set up to go over the information, explore options, and determine the best way to proceed. The reason the Village received no bids was that the materials were up an estimated 40%, including the filter media, manways, and internal equipment (nozzles, etc.) in the tanks. After inquires the increase is attributed to increased freight, surcharges, and volatility on materials (filter media) as well as to a smaller extent labor, all things that are affecting a number of industries/items including construction. Our Engineer, CT Consultants, believes that the lack of bids was directly tied to volatility in some of the required materials for the Filter Media Project.
No one wanted to submit a bid that exceeded the maximum the Village could award – the estimate plus 10%.
Options to get both bids and to get a better priced bid under the circumstances for the Village that were discussed were:
  1. Are there any cooperative purchasing programs that the Village could use to get prices for materials – the answer is none that is known.
  2. Can we negotiate the price for filter media – the answer is no. The estimated cost is over $50,000 bid threshold.
  3. Is there any political subdivision in the area that the Village could in effect “piggyback” on their bid and use their prices – the answer was none known that have materials broken out.
  4. Is there and/or how can we encourage more competition on materials – the answer is that there are 5 companies that can supply filter media. The tank internals are proprietary because they need to match the originals, but we provide for an equivalent.
  5. Can we separate the materials from the rest of the bid to get/see prices for materials separate and encourage more competition (or at minimum see what those prices are) – the answer is yes. We can split out materials so that we don’t have a lump sum contract where we can’t identify the components of the bid.
  6. On tank internals can we have bids submitted that not only break out the price but make those items contingent on condition – the answer is yes. While the tanks internals MAY need replaced, it is not a certainty. While the original tank internals on tanks 1 – 3 were red brass that COULD need replaced, the former Water Superintendent recalls that tank internals were replaced the last time with stainless steel, which likely can be reused. Bidding the tanks internals as an alternate better separates their price and brings down the base price.
So, the plan is:
  • Split out the filter media as a listed bid item.              
  • Split out tanks internals as a separate listed bid item, and as a contingency.
  • Revise the estimate. In the discussion yesterday (before the reworking of the bid. form) the new estimate was $365,800 ($77.100 more or 27% higher than the original). That includes a 10% contingency of $33,000.
The changes can be made this week, within our original contract amount with CT Consultants, and we can put the project back out to bid. Looking at a bid opening this time around in October.
One final note is that even with rebidding, we believe we can still meet the May 2022 deadline we have in our OPWC Grant/Loan Application.
I will keep Council informed.
  • Brewster Parke Hydrant Project. This project was NOT among the ten (10) projects submitted by the Stark County Engineer for an Ohio Water & Wastewater Grant. Council has authorized bidding. I will await Council Finance Committee Meeting and the Regular Meeting for Council to weigh in before bidding this project out.
Easement(s) have been completed but need to be signed/executed.
  • Water Department & EPA Recommendations - Hydraulic Model of the Distribution System. CT Consultants has begun field work necessary to construct a Hydraulic Water Model for the Village. They have taken water pressure measurements. The target is to have it complete before the end of the year.
  • Jefferson Ave Sanitary Sewer Replacement Project. This project is finally in the process of being closed out. Shelly has submitted their FINAL bill, which has been approved by Thrasher. We have confirmed with Stark County that they/we have all the required information from Shelly.
The Clerk Treasurer has submitted the first and final payment request to OPWC for Shelly in the amount of $431,185.72. There will be a close-out bill that follows for Superior Paving and an adjustment for trees replaced on the project.
The Clerk-Treasurer had already submitted documentation to OPWC of other project costs that the Village expended, but for which reimbursement is not being requested, such as the design drawings/specifications and the $441,959 in CDBG funds that count as the Village’s match.
So, in addition to the attachment showing the OPWC Application Budget for Jefferson (with the final amounts in blue ink), I can simplify the close-out as follows:
  • Original Total Budget: $1,065,889
Final Total Budget: $997,505.16
  • Original Total Grant: $312,378
Final Total Grant: $312,378
  • Original Total Loan: $209,907
Final Projected Total Loan: $164,881.39
Keep in mind that not using all the loan is not a “bad thing”. The loan obviously has to be repaid, so we really aren’t losing anything.
There is another $20,165 in construction inspection/administration expenses that are not being submitted to OPWC, because we already meet Local Revenue Requirements AND if we turned them in it would take Engineering Costs to a much higher percentage. Used Thrasher because Hazen expended all $29,716.47 in Construction Administration before a shovel was turned. And again, bottom line if we turned those expenses in for reimbursement, we ultimately have to repay it. Not Only would it need to be repaid, but it would add additional calculating which funds have to repay (including non-utility funds of Storm Sewer and Paving) AND tracking for the next 20 years.
Brewster & Stark Metropolitan Sewer District Agreement. As Council may recall, in 2019 Brewster entered into an agreement with Stark County Metropolitan Sewer District to allow extension of sanitary sewer outside the Village to Justus. I have learned that this project is being fast-tracked and expanded. With their American Rescue Plan Funds, Stark County has decided to fast-track all their EPA identified problem septic areas for sanitary sewer. One of course is Justus. Another is Harmon. Stark County is currently requesting qualifications for engineering services to not only finalize Justus, but also to include Harmon as well. I have provided Council with a copy of their RFQ as well. I reached out to Stark Metropolitan Sewer, and they indicated that the water line loop Brewster requested be included at the same time an extension to Justus occurs to reduce its costs and limit disturbance has been designed, as has a portion of Justus sanitary sewer extension. Our water line loop is still in the plans. What is being added primarily is Harmon.
I will continue to monitor the situation and keep Council informed. At some point we will need to reach a supplemental agreement with Stark Metropolitan Sewer for their expansion to Harmon.
  • Sanitary Sewer Main Relining Project. I am still recommending that Brewster apply for a CDBG Infrastructure and Public Facility Grant for the Jefferson Ave. Sanitary Sewer Lining Project. The deadline is November 5th, 2021. The Jefferson Ave. Sanitary Sewer Lining Project runs from where the Jefferson Ave Project terminated at a new manhole just north of 5th Street SE northwest to 4th Street SE and would include replacing the manhole at 4th Street.
This portion of the sanitary sewer main was initially going to be part of the Jefferson Project but was removed when issues regarding easements and more importantly, whether there was enough support in the soil (swamp) to install a new pipe. Soil tests show there could be some very expensive supports needed IF we replaced the sewer line. However, a much less expensive fix is lining the existing sewer line (and replace the manhole at 4th Street). It goes from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands.
So, at this point we are still waiting for the line to be cleaned and TV’ed to make sure it is a good candidate for lining. Then if it is a good candidate we can have specifications prepared for the project and submit it for a CDBG Grant, similar to what we did for Jefferson.
We can, depending on cost and timing and eligibility, also use our “local” ARPA funds or see if another round is opened for applications through the Ohio Water & Wastewater for an American Rescue Plan Grant process.
  • Municipal Road Fund -2022 Application. The Village submitted three (3) applications for Municipal Road Funding to the Stark County Commissioners for 10% of the costs to be banked or set aside each year, beginning in 2022, for 7th Street, Elton west of Wabash, and Elton east of Wabash.
  • Brewster Council Chambers COVID Compliance Remodeling Project (aka Community Room) At the last Council Meeting I requested that the ordinance authorizing BIDDING the Brewster Council Chambers COVID Compliance Remodeling Project (aka Community Room) be tabled until I could meet with the Clerk and present a clear proposal on how the project would be paid for.
So, let’s start with what the ESTIMATED cost will be:
  • The Architect’s estimate for bidding for the base (completing bays and bathrooms) is $154,980
  • The Architect’s estimate for bidding for the alternate, which is the base work plus demo of the old Fire Office for more space and moving counters and appliances for more space, is $181,635
So, with the costs set, now comes how the project can be paid for. We have approximately $95,000 left in American Rescue Plan Funds from this year’s payout, and another approximate $112,000 due in July 2022. So, the total ARPA Funds available is $207,000. That covers both estimated costs except that we also have a proposed expenditure out of ARPA Funds for the Brewster Parke Water Line Extension Project of $ 54,340.00 in construction, $ 4,812.00 for bidding services, and potentially another $ 11,900.00 in construction oversight for a grand total of $71,052. We can’t spend ARPA Funds twice. So, when you add the $71,052 for the Brewster Parke Water Line Extension Project with the high estimate of $181,635 for the Brewster Council Chambers COVID Compliance Remodeling Project (aka Community Room), we have a total of $252,687 in projected costs versus $207,000 in projected funds available we have a shortfall of $45,687. In speaking with the Clerk and reviewing balances, it is our recommendation that the shortfall of $45,687 be taken from the Capital Fund. There is more than adequate balance to cover the shortfall.
IF Council agrees with that recommendation, there is still a hurdle to clear - $112,000 of the ARPA Funds won’t be in Brewster accounts until July 2022. The Clerk checked and we can essentially “loan” ourselves the $112,000 until July of 2022 and then reimburse ourselves with ARPA Funds at that time. In the meantime, we would also need to identify what fund we can “loan” ourselves the $122,000 from. Again, it is our recommendation that the “loan” of $112,000 be taken from the Capital Fund. There is more than adequate balance to cover the “loan” and the shortfall, which combined is $157,687.
One additional issue that needs to be addressed is the prospect that the $71,052 for the Brewster Parke Water Line Extension Project could be taken from the State ARPA Funds (Ohio Water & Wastewater Grant, administered through the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD). The Stark County Engineer sent a list of ten (10) projects for State ARPA Funds, and the Brewster Parke Water Line Extension Project was NOT one of them. (full details for another email, but the Tuscarawas/Locustdale/ Pinewood Water Line Replacement project WAS one of the ten (10) projects sent by the Stark County Engineer).
So, as we had laid out the “decision tree”, the steps were:
  1. Brewster Council Chambers COVID Compliance Remodeling Project (aka Community Room). The Brewster Council Chambers COVID Compliance Remodeling Project, would complete the “meeting room” where the Tahoe and Grass Fire Truck used to be stored as meeting space. That space can accommodate more individuals “socially distanced” than our current Council Chambers, which is limited to seven (7) with COVID masking and social distancing measures in place. It is why we had to rent the meeting room at the WANDLE House. It is also important because our ability to meet remotely legally has expired.
The Brewster Council Chambers COVID Compliance Remodeling Project can also be done in such a way that the technology to broadcast/record/observe could be integrated into the construction. It also is needed for the FD teaching classes such as CPR and/or employee safety meetings, and/or Fire Department training or meetings, and/or PD training. It would address the issue that Council cannot meet in person at Village Hall and properly social distance, nor is our current setup conducive to remote meetings (streaming).
  1. American Rescue Plan Funding – Proper Expense. The estimated amount of American Rescue Plan Funds we believe that Brewster is slated has been reduced to $225,529. At this point theClerk-Treasurer and I are confident that the base expenditure qualifies for use of ARPA funds. Our Law Director, John Anthony, is also convinced that the Project is a proper expenditure of ARPA Funds.
At this point the Clerk-Treasurer feels confident that creating a COVID compliant Council Chambers (aka Community Room) is a proper expenditure of American Rescue Plan Funds. We believe that the Brewster Council Chambers COVID Compliance Remodeling Project is a legitimate expenditure as it provides Council the ability to hold in person meetings and/or partial in person with access via computer during pandemic conditions.The US Treasury has under the caption Information for Non-Entitlement Units of Local Government a tab with Frequently Asked Questions that states that eligible uses for the funds include “… adaptations to public buildings to implement COVID-19 mitigation tactics.”
  1. Brewster Council Chambers COVID Compliance Remodeling Project (aka Community Room) – Ordinance to Authorize Bidding. The construction drawings for the Brewster Council Chambers COVID Compliance Remodeling Project are complete. The architect has revised the base bid so that the amount of the estimates for both the base and alternate are as low as possible. The alternate is to complete the Council Chambers and former meeting room that is used for executive sessions.
  1. Brewster Council Chambers COVID Compliance Remodeling Project (aka Community Room) – Cost Estimates. The Architect’s estimate for bidding for the base (completing bays and bathrooms) is $154,980. The Architect’s estimate for bidding for the alternate, which is the base work plus demo of the old Fire Office for more space and moving counters and appliances for more space, is $181,635.
  1. Brewster Council Chambers COVID Compliance Remodeling Project (aka Community Room) – What Funds? The decision on where to pay for the Brewster Council Chambers COVID Compliance Remodeling Project (aka Community Room) needs to be made by Council, as does the decision on whether to move forward.
So, I believe we have the answer to number 5 above, and at the October 4th Council Meeting can lift from the table and proceed with the third reading of the Brewster Council Chambers COVID Compliance Remodeling Project (aka Community Room).
  • Employee Handbook – Addition of a Reporting to Work Fit for Duty Policy. I have drafted a new policy to Council that I am recommending be included in the Employee Handbook. It has been created to address an issue that came up. It is entitled Reporting to Work Fit for Duty. The Reporting to Work Fit for Duty policy requires employees to promptly notify the Village of any illness, injury, situation, or condition that either affects or could affect their ability to perform all the essential functions of their position to report it. It is similar to the Village’s Self-Reporting Policy, which requires employees who have open and/or pending charges and/or criminal convictions of certain offenses may restrict or prohibit an employee's ability to properly perform official duties.
We do have a work rule under Work Rules: Serious Misconduct stating it is a violation if an employee:
8.05.30 Reporting to work and/or working while unable to perform essential functions reporting to work and/or working while unable to perform the essential functions of the job, or as a supervisor allowing an employee to report to work or work while unable to perform the essential functions of the job.
The new policy strengthens that work rule and puts employees on better notice.
In discipline, arbitrators and Courts look at what is referred to as the seven tests of “just cause” for disciplinary matters. I have attached a good summary of all seven tests. But the first test is having reasonable work rule, which is why it is important to strengthen ours. The new Policy is, in my opinion, a better approach and basis to hold employees accountable for their ability to physically perform their jobs. Changing behavior and ultimately holding an employee accountable starts with having reasonable policy and/or work rule in place.
  • Employee Handbook – Council Adoption of a Self-Reporting Policy. In 2017, 7.12 Self-Reporting of Convictions and Pending Charges was administratively adopted. It was done so in keeping with that some policies may be adopted from time to time for inclusion in the Employee Handbook that do NOT involve the expenditure of funds, and therefore could be adopted administratively.
However, with a similar provision covering requiring employees to promptly notify the Village of any illness, injury, situation, or condition that either affects or could affect their ability to perform all the essential functions of their position, to be consistent I would like Council to formally enact 7.12 Self-Reporting of Convictions and Pending Charges by ordinance as well.
Employee Handbook – Revision of Work Related Injury Policy. A situation has arisen where we are referring to, and therefor rereading, the Work Related Injury Leave and Benefits Policy. At this point it is felt there should be some minor changes to the policy.
Essentially, the changes are to:
  • Past the initial 480 hours (administrative decision), rather than have a hard “caped” additional 480 hours (administration with approval by Council), change that second “level” so there is no cap. Council still needs to approve any and all hours past the initial 480.
  • Clarify in Section G that the benefits we are talking about are compensatory benefits.
  • As employees on Work Related Injury Leave can’t use vacation during Work Related Injury Leave, make it automatic that in the event an employee on Work Related Injury Leave accrues Vacation hours more than the maximum allowed by Village of Brewster Policy 5.02 Vacation Section B, they will be allowed to do so.
  • Correct what may have been a clerical error, so that if a paid holiday comes up during Work Related Injury Leave it is still paid as a holiday rather than Work Related Injury Leave.
As a refresher, Work Related Injury Leave addresses what happens if an employee suffers an injury arising out of their employment. Prior to its adoption the employee has to use sick leave (or other appropriate leave) while they wait for a determination from the BWC and/or Temporary Total Disability payments from the BWC.
This was addressed for two (2) primary reasons:
  1. Without it “compensation” to our employees could be delayed (BWC) and/or deplete their leave balances.
  2. Payment to an employee of Temporary Total Disability increases the Worker’s Compensation rate for all our employees, over a three (3) year period, actually costing more than the proposed Injury Leave (or as BWC refers to it “salary continuation”).
What was adopted is a policy that essentially parallels ORC and OAC which authorizes at the state level the use of “salary continuation” in the form of Injury Leave. For every dollar that is spent by workers compensation on Village claims (including temporary total compensation if there is no salary continuation), the Village’s rates increase, and the affect the rates for a period of three (3) years. So, it was adopted to protect our employees and to reduce Workers Compensation premiums by allowing wage continuation. The Policy not only has benefited our employees, but has potentially saved the Village money on its Workers Compensation rates.
Employee Handbook – Addition of a Resignation Policy. A situation has arisen that indicates that the Village should have a policy/process for dealing with resignations. I have drafted 9.03 Resignation Policy in consultation with the Law Director, and have forwarded a copy to Council members and drafted legislation which the Mayor has added to the agenda.
I would like Council to formally enact 9.03 Resignation Policy.
  • Electric Substation – SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System).  We continue to make progress and work continues by GPD and the Electric Department on the SCADA system at our substation. I will keep Council informed as to the progress on the project.
  • Electric Department – Transfer Bus. The Electric Department continues to work on the transfer bus at the Substation. It is approximately 80% complete. The outgoing transfer bus at the Substation. The transfer bus is used to divert power from a feeder line that has a breaker issue. If a breaker has an issue power can be put on the transfer bus and restored (fed) to the distribution feeder that has the breaker issue.
  • Electric Department – New 7th Street Line. Waiting on transfer bus to be completed.
  • Decorative Street Lighting – Wabash north of Underpass. Conduit installation is complete. Waiting on connectors and boxes to get started.
  • Storm Drainage Projects. The current list of storm sewer projects in their priority order, with updates on their status:
  1. Cleveland Ave south of Main on east side – failed catch basin. COMPLETED except for replacing curb & gutter.
 2  Catch basin on Tuscarawas to address sump pump. COMPLETED except for replacing curb & gutter.
  1. East Main Street Drainage. Project has begun.
  2. East end of 1st Street SE. Will be scheduled when area dries out and we can coordinate with US Army Corps of Engineers.
  3. Dartmouth/Amherst relief line. First step - survey being completed
  4. Open ditch east of Mohican.
  5. Drainage from Harmon west of 264 Harmon. First step - survey needs to be completed.
  6. NEW ADD ON –Drainage to the west of the WANDLE House.
  7. NEW ADD ON –drainage on north side of 7th west of Baymere.
These are not necessarily on a first come/first serve basis but based on their criticality and/or ability to fit into the schedule. We are also looking to repair deteriorated catch basins, so if any Council person is aware of any, please let me know. Also, if there are any storm drainage projects/issues not on this list please let me know.
  • Power Purchase - 1 or 2 MW Off-peak Block of Power for 2025-2028. On August 16th Council passed an ordinance to buy a 1 or 2 MW off-peak block of power for 2025-2028 to hedge our bets, IF NEEDED in the future, due to market changes.
AT THAT TIME both Courtney and Associates, the firm that has been performing Brewster’s rate studies, and AMP recommend using the market or AFEC to cover our energy shortfall beyond 2024. In this case we are looking at 2025-2028. Both agree that at that time Brewster would be better off covering our off-peak needs in 2025-2028 by either buying from the hourly market or running AFEC, whichever one is cheaper. However, Courtney and Associates added “… that is our recommendation for now.  If we see an upturn in the market that recommendation may change, but for now the projected energy market prices appear to be stable.”
As I stated at the time, reacting to a market change would very likely need to be done quickly. However, because Brewster (like nearly every other City/Village) is slow to enact legislation, we still should pass an ordinance in place with AMP to buy a 1 or 2 MW off-peak block of power for 2025-2028 to hedge our bets, not for immediate implementation (or maybe never depending on the market). Having an ordinance/agreement in place will allow the Village and AMP to act quickly IF there is an upturn in the market that would change your recommendation not to buy a 1 or 2 MW off-peak block of power for 2025-2028 to hedge our bets. If the market changes and we do not have an ordinance/agreement in place with AMP, and Brewster approaches the purchase as a non-emergency (like Council prefers to do), that means time to get an ordinance in place, three readings, and 30 days to take effect. That is approximately 3 months, which is an eternity if we are attempting to react to an increase in market rates that would require hedging our bets. We would be way behind the curve, and maybe back to our higher rates that we are just now seeing go off the books from 2000 teens.
On August 9th, prior to passing the ordinance, I asked AMP about the natural gas market affecting off-peak prices for 2025-2028, and at that time they were up about $0.50 / MWh since April. Their response was it did not alter their recommendation.  My concern at the time was the trend in the natural gas market and wondering where we should buy before we passed the “threshold” and/or should strike before we get there, saving more?
On August 30th I reached out and got an update from AMP that indicated that the previous week they got a quote of $25.50/MWh for our potential 2 MW off-peak block for 2025-2028. This was $0.50/MWh below the budgeted amount of $26.00/MWh identified in the purchase recommendation presentation. They had seen a run-up in the short-term market recently but that has not seemed to affect long-term off-peak prices. They said to let them know if Brewster is interested in proceeding or would rather wait and see for a while. Courtney and Associates also recommended waiting at that point.  
On Tuesday September 28th I sent a copy of a headline that stated “Home heating sticker shock: The cost of natural gas is up 180%” and asked how does this affected our potential prices for a 1 or 2 MW off-peak block for 2025-2028, if at all? AMP’s answer was they had seen some upward movement in the longer-term market forwards. Currently, the cost of 2 MW off-peak for 2025-2028 was $26.42/MWh. This was/is $0.42/MWh above the budgeted amount of $26.00/MWh. (Increase of $0.92 MW since August 30th). AMP stated let them know if Brewster is interested in proceeding or would rather wait and see for a while (there has been a lot of volatility both up and down the last couple of weeks). After consulting with Courtney and Associates, they recommended proceeding with 1 MW.
So on Wednesday September 29th I responded to AMP and indicated that Brewster was interested in proceeding with obtaining prices for both a potential purchase of a 1 MW block or a 2 MW off-peak block for 2025-2028. AMP responded on that date the price was $26.85, so another $0.43 MW above last week’s price. They also said it was still well below the $30 / MWh that was in the schedule.
We are moving forward since the cost of a 1 MW block or a 2 MW off-peak block for 2025-2028 is rising precipitously.  I will keep Council Informed.
  • Electric Department Garage. Work continues on the plans for the proposed new Electric Garage. We are still moving forward on a new 7 bay Electric Garage and office.
To confirm that the location picked for the building will not impede a future ring bus in front of the substation,I reached out to both GPD and AMPT. At our meeting and subsequent discussions with AMPT about the location of the Electric Building and the second feed and associated ring bus, we discovered that the second feed into our substation would make the proposed location for the Electric Building not workable. We are still working on the plan is to move the Electric Building north into the trees and flipping it to face south. Only other change for sure would be eliminate the one garage door facing out the back to the south (now north). The proposed building is 59.5 feet by 130 feet, so with the proposed lay out, we estimate we would need roughly 80 feet north from existing lease line by 180 feet to allow some buffering on the back and sides from the trees, so roughly a third of an acre. I reached out to Brewster Cheese, and they have consented to the new location on a leased basis for 50 years at $1. This is our best option, so I will get a survey of the required property for a lease to be prepared.
As I indicated in the Committee Meeting site walkthrough, the estimated cost will not be known until more work is done by Engineering and Associates on complete plans, versus the layout currently available. As I also indicated, based on a high estimate of $500,000, our firm that provides rate studies, Courtney and Associates, the Electric Department Budget can absorb the cost without an increase in rates.
  • Efficiency Smart - 2021 Retail Lighting. A participation agreement is in place with Belloni’s for reduced cost LED light bulbs. The inventory has been delivered.
  • Efficiency Smart – Rebates. Heating and cooling make up the largest portion of the average household’s energy bill. Efficiency Smart offers rebates on products that can help you save on these costs, including a $750 rebate on cold climate air source heat pumps and a $100 rebate on air source heat pumps. Visit www.efficiencysmart.org/brewster-ohio and select “Home Energy Rebates” or call 877-889-3777 for more information on available rebates.
  • Efficiency Smart – “Buy Local” Program. For a limited time, Efficiency Smart is offering small businesses an increased incentive for purchasing qualifying LED products from a designated local business. Contact Bob Golden with Efficiency Smart at rgolden@efficiencysmart.org or (614) 468-4904 for a list of designated local suppliers and contractors or for more information.
  • Efficiency Smart - Appliance Recycling Rewards. The Appliance Recycling Rewards program is back for a limited time. There is a brochure that is available in Village offices.
  • Efficiency Smart - Home Energy Rebates. Home Energy Rebates have been increased for many measures through the end of 2021. There is a brochure with details as to the amounts available in Village offices.
  • Internet Sales. We are now in a position to be able to sell items that are no longer needed for public use on the internet, per the ordinance passed by Council. The “legal” documents associated with sales have been approved by the Law Director, and Public Surplus has uploaded them. The registration process has been completed by the Clerk-Treasurer. We have gotten photos for each vehicle and are getting information together to post our first items (2 Police Department vehicles) online, with a plan to set the minimum bid at the same amount the Village could get for scrapping the vehicles.
VA Miller needs Solicitor Anthony to sign on the Off-Peak Power Purchase.
Council Member Hilliard stated that the rate of pay for the seasonal worker needs to be adjusted.  He feels it should be around $15.00.  VA Miller is concerned that $15.00 is more than many of the long-term office employees.  Council Member Hilliard suggested posting the job at RG Drage.  VA Miller stated he needs someone that would show up.
  1. Free the Heat Program for Elected Officials.
  2. Thank you to Chief Creter for disinfecting Council Chambers and offices after a possible Covid contamination.
  3. Request for Executive Session.
COUNCIL MEMBER HESS MOVED, SEONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER LONG and motion carried for Council to go into executive session for the of considering compensation of an employee of the Village of Brewster and for the purpose of considering matters required to be kept confidential by Federal Law and State Law.  Council, VA, Solicitor, Police Chief, and Clerk-Treasurer exited Council Chambers at 7:52 pm.
All returned to Council Chambers.
COUNCIL MEMBER SCHWAB MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER HILLIARD and motion carried to exit Executive Session at 8:22 pm.  The vote: All yes.
  1. September Month-to-Date and Year-to-Date reports were put in Council’s mailboxes. 
  2. We received our proclamation of Village status.  This is the result of the 2020 Federal Census.  This is because our community has less than 5,000 residents, which is the requirement to be a City.  The Village has increased population from 2112 to 2113. 
  3. I attended a regional meeting with Ohio Budget and Management to discuss the ARP money and eligible spending in Canton on the 8th of September.  The discussion made me even more confident that a Covid-19 Compliant Council Chamber was an eligible expense. 
  4. I will be attending the Ohio Association of Public Treasurers’ Annual Conference October 6-8.  It will be in Dublin Ohio this year.  As an officer of the association, my room and mileage will be paid by the association.  The only cost to the village for this training will be a $75.00 registration.
  5. We received an Amended Certificate of Estimated Resources as a result of Resolution #41-2021.  This gives us permission to increase and use the funds we have received in addition to those that were originally estimated.
  6. Good news!  We received word from Office of Budget and Management that the Feds moved the reporting date from October 31, 2021 to April 30, 2022 for the ARP money.  It is my understanding that they are requiring extensive paperwork.  Some larger communities have actually hired people to just mange the ARP money and reporting.
  7. Alyssa and I went through some training on our website.  Trying to clean up some clutter that’s accumulated over the last couple of years.
  8. September was Liability and Property Insurance renewal time.  Chief Creter and I completed the needed paperwork.  The only issues I ran into is the cyber policy is now requiring Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) on all our accounts and processes.  I spoke to Seifert Technologies, and this is something most insurance companies are asking for due to all the cybercrime.  I was also told to expect the insurance companies to discontinue coverage for ransom. 
VILLAGE SPEAKS (Communications received by Council Members from Village Residents):
COMMITTEES or COUNCIL REPORTS: The Goal of any committee meeting is to discuss an issue or proposal and to provide, by a consensus of the committee members, ONE recommendation to Council.
  1. Finance Committee meeting minutes from September 17, 2021.        
  2. Finance Committee meeting this evening: Council Member Schwab reported that the committee went over proposed projects and how they are going to be funded.
  1. Fire Department will be holding an open house on October 9th from 12-3pm at fire house.
  2. Fire Department will be holding an Octoberfest in the park October 9th from 4-12m.
  3. Trick-or-Treat will be Sunday, October 31st from 4:00-5:30 pm
  1. Ordinance for the Covid Compliance Council Chambers and Community Room.
  2. The Annual Toy Drive for the Fairless Food Cupboard.
  1. None.
OLD or NEW BUSINESS: Council Rules require a two-week waiting period before any expenditure of funds unless determined an emergency.
COUNCIL MEMBER HILLIARD MOVED, SECONDED BY COOUNCIL MEMBER FOX and motion carried to donate $1,000 to the Fairless Toy Drive from the Recreation Fund.  The vote: All yes.
COUNCIL MEMBER SCHWAB MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER LONG and motion carried to create legislation to amend the wage ordinance to reflect a 2.5% rate increase for all employees.  Council Member Hilliard asked the clerk to research wages for seasonal workers.  The vote: All yes.
Council Member Schwab asked if there was anything needed to move forward with the Brewster Parke Hydrant Project.  VA Miller stated the project is ready to be bid out.
COUNCIL MEMBER HESS MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER FOX and motion carried to extend the paid injury leave for an additional 14 calendar days beyond the current allowable period for the employee on paid injury leave.  The vote: Fox, yes; Hess, yes; Hilliard, yes; Long, yes; Schwab, no.  Motion carries.
COUNCIL MEMBER FOX MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER HESS and motion carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:29 pm. The vote: All yes.
Respectfully submitted,
Kris King, Clerk-Treasurer
Charles Hawk, Mayor