A more than $4 million water project was put on hold, a salary schedule was put in place for the new police chief, and there was discussion about buying a new police cruiser at Thursday’s Lynchburg Village Council meeting.
Other business included the resignation of a council member, hiring a part-time street maintenance employee and changing the day of the monthly council meetings.
New mayor Terry Burden said council decided to put the water project on hold until he could explore alternative funding options. He said the project originally called for the village to borrow approximately $3.5 million plus use $800,000 in grant funds. But Burden said he is not sure if the grant funding had been secured.
He said Jeremy Shaffer, a former Lynchburg mayor and Highland County commissioner, is going to work with state officials to see if more grant funding is available, and that the project might be broken down into phases.
“To borrow that much money just didn’t make sense to me,” Burden said. “The lines are very bad, rusted out, and about 100 years old. When there’s a water main break and we dig down, then have to dig back a good way to find a good section to hook on to. We’ve been patching for several years.
“We’re just trying to find other ways (to fund the project). We’ve have our work cut out for us, but we’re ‘gonna do it.”
New police chief Richard Warner, a Lynchburg native and former Highland County sheriff, will be paid $40,000 annually with a six-month trial period.
Burden said Warner took office on Jan. 5 immediately after he was hired by council during a special meeting. The mayor said community members haven’t noticed Warner on the street because the village had to order new uniforms that are expected to be in Monday.
He said another issue is that while the village has three to four police cruisers, none of them are dependable. He said the best one is a gray Dodge Charger with 150,000 miles on it. But the mayor said it has electrical problems and is currently in a repair shop. He said there’s an old blue cruiser, but it pulls to the right bad and looks like “a clown car.” There’s also a four-by-four Ford Explorer, but it misses bad.
The tentative plan, Burden said, it to lease a new, fully-equipped Dodge Charger for four years for $28,000, then sell three of the old vehicles, hopefully for around $10,000 total that would be applied to the purchase of the new vehicle. He said the new cruiser could be purchased for $1 at the end of the lease.
The Explorer might be kept for a backup vehicle, Burden said.
“We’re trying not put any more money into those old vehicles,” the mayor said.
Council member Rob Berger resigned effective Friday. Burden said Berger recently purchased a new property and is moving to a farm in the Hamersville area.
Council also voted to move its regular monthly meeting date to 6:30 p.m. the first Thursday of each month at the village offices. That move was made to accommodate new fiscal officer Karen Gibson, who is also the fiscal for New Vienna and Clark Township in Clinton County and already has evening meetings on the third Thursday of the month when council formerly met.
Council also voted to hire Ron Tedrick as a part-time street maintenance worker at a rate of $11 per hour with no benefits. Burden said Tedrick will work on an as needed basis doing whatever needs to be done.
The village advertised for the position before Burden took office, but the new mayor said former mayor Gary Jones decided not to hire anyone since a new mayor was getting ready to take office.
“Ron has lived here all his life and he’s a top-notch guy,” Burden said. “He’s more than capable and will be really good with the public.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.