SABINA — Prior to village council approving a pay raise for full-time workers, the mayor’s State of the Village address stated a number of good employees left last year “for greener pastures.”
After the Thursday council session ended, Sabina Mayor Dean Hawk said he feels in a couple cases if the Village could have given employees a raise sometime during the past couple years, they wouldn’t have been looking elsewhere in the first place. Hawk said one of them got a $1,000 bonus just for signing on with their new employer.
Council unanimously approved a 7 percent raise for full-time employees. Hawk said most of the employees had not received a pay raise for five years.
The raises will go into effect this year on the date of an employee’s work anniversary. That way the Village doesn’t get financially hit as hard at the start of the new calendar year, said Hawk.
Water-related matters formed a recurring theme of the mayor’s State of the Village, whether it is an unresolved stormwater issue on the town’s east side, or a goal to drill a new well in 2018.
Looking back at 2017, Hawk said there were “flooding rains” three times, plus a lightning strike that “crippled” the sewer plant for about a month when powerful diesel pumps were rented to run the plant manually.
Hunt Drive on the east end of Sabina was “like a river” and there was a big issue for houses near the U.S. 22/S.R. 3 highway after a “very large rain event” June 23, said Hawk in his Thursday night speech.
On Friday the mayor elaborated that during the past couple years, there’s been a big increase in the amount of floodwater resulting from rain events that are similar to rains previously experienced. He said the only thing village officials can figure is that farmers have put more tile in their fields.
One Hunt Drive property in particular has had damage as a result, said Hawk. A heavy rainfall on Nov. 6 brought to the property enough soybean debris, mud and so forth that it was “easily a semi load,” according to the mayor.
Village officials have gone to the county engineer’s office which has recommended a new open ditch as part of a project that would include going under the highway.
“That would be a fairly expensive project, and requires about five different easements. We’re looking for money to come up with to do it,” Hawk said Friday. “It needs to be dealt with.”
During that Nov. 6 rain, there was stormwater across U.S. 22/S.R. 3 in five places, he said.
There also are water issues with the bridge on the bike trail through town that officially opened in April 2017.
In his speech, the mayor reported that in late September he met with a developer who asked the Village to pass a motion to establish the address of a new Dollar General store as 95 W. Washington Street (U.S. 22/S.R. 3). The store is expected to be built this year.
In agenda items, council held its second of three readings on a measure to prohibit the cultivation, processing, or retail sales of medical marijuana in the village.
Also, council approved legislation seeking to incorporate a section of Dakins Chapel Road into the Village, with hopes of lowering the speed limit there.
Council passed a measure to start the process of placing a 1.4-mills levy renewal on the spring ballot. It was passed as an emergency item, meaning a policy to hold readings on legislation on three separate dates was waived.
New Councilman Michael Bishop said he was trying to understand why the measure had reached a crunch time where it needed to be dealt with as an emergency measure. Hawk responded that the elections process requires local issues to be certified to boards of elections by 90 days before a Primary Election. He said in this case the necessity to take action caught up with officials, adding it “seems like 90 days from May is a long way out.”
As part of re-organization for a new year, Councilwoman Peggy A. Sloan was re-elected council president.
Village Administrator Rob Dean said due to the extreme winter weather during the Village’s meter-reading period, customers’ water usage will be estimated for this billing cycle. He said he didn’t want to do that, but there was not much choice.
At the North Howard Street railroad crossing, motorists in the northbound lane will find the crossing “absolutely horrid,” said Dean. This is an after-effect of work performed by the railroad company after a rail was damaged from the cold, said the village administrator. He will try to contact the railroad company, he said.
During the period for public comments, Abe Arnold suggested that after a snow accumulation or other wintry precipitation, the intersections of streets merit repeat attention from the Village streets crew — in the form of re-plowing or re-salting. It is a safety issue, he said.
“The intersections should definitely be gone back through and re-cleaned. Salt should be put down at the intersection,” said Arnold.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.