Nights are getting brighter in Sabina

By Gary Huffenberger -

SABINA — New LED street lights are helping light up the town.

“With the LED lights being added, we are seeing a much brighter nighttime. I hope that helps dissuade some of the [drug] trafficking and things like that. Probably not, but there’s that hope. If you haven’t been out at night in Sabina, you need to take a look [at the different lighting],” said Mayor Jim Mongold.

LED is an acronym for light-emitting diode. The LED street lighting installation has started, the mayor reported, adding that there will be a lot of benefit from the change.

At the Thursday night session of village council, town officials held the first reading for a measure to increase the pay of hourly village employees by 4 percent, termed a cost-of-living raise.

Employee Relations & Health/Safety Committee Chairperson Benjamin “Ben” Collings, whose committee is recommending the raise, said there is no dispute over whether all employees of the village deserve a raise. Rather, what disagreement there is stems from what the village can afford, he said.

Mongold echoed the thought about affordability, and pointed to the uncertain effect on village tax revenue from the coronavirus situation. But once village officials can project what revenue will approximately amount to, then perhaps another look at the question can occur in January, said Mongold.

If finances make it feasible, the mayor would be in favor of doing another cost-of-living raise on top of a planned evaluation-based increase for next year.

There was discussion about the fact two council members have spouses who work for the village, and so cannot vote on the proposed pay raise.

Sabina Law Director Laura Gibson said those council members can still hear what people have to say on the issue and they can even share their opinion on the proposed increase — they just can’t vote on it because they would directly benefit financially.

If approved, the pay raise will be retroactive to April 12.

Council awarded a multiple streets paving project to Miller-Mason Paving Company which submitted a bid of $117,240.

Councilman Collings read a statement he prepared on the current demonstrations “sparked by the death of George Floyd, but the kindling includes centuries of oppression and injustice suffered by our fellow Americans.”

On the specific issue of police violence, he said some large cities have implemented reforms that have helped reduce the number of people killed by police. He said those reforms that have a proven record of success could also be implemented in Sabina “to improve our already excellent [police] force.”

Among the possibilities that Collings listed are de-escalation training, banning chokeholds and strangleholds, ending no-knock raids, taking a look at Sabina police policy regarding the use of deadly force, and banning officers from shooting at moving vehicles under certain circumstances.

“I’m not saying we have to implement all of these, but I would love to have a discussion with the chief and other officers about some of these and what they think would work well. Because really, we all need to work to decrease the number of Americans killed by police,” many of whom were unarmed, he said.

Sabina Fiscal Officer Nancy Cornell, during her report, said written minutes from all council subcommittee meetings must be submitted for record keeping.

Mongold followed up by stressing the minutes are public records that should be available in a timely manner. The subcommittee minutes need to be submitted in time to be included within the informational packets that council members receive prior to the semi-monthly meetings of the full council.

Council on Thursday heard a second reading on an ordinance stating the rights and responsibilities of property owners regarding testing, cleaning, repair, maintenance, renovation, and replacement of existing private sewer laterals and wastewater connections.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

By Gary Huffenberger