Cafagno tapped for open West Jeff council seat

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick Ray Martin (right) administered the oath of office to Lorie A. Cafagno, appointed on Jan. 18 to fill the Ward 2 West Jefferson village council seat Martin vacated after being elected mayor.
Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
Ray Martin (right) administered the oath of office to Lorie A. Cafagno, appointed on Jan. 18 to fill the Ward 2 West Jefferson village council seat Martin vacated after being elected mayor.

(Posted Jan. 22, 2016)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

West Jefferson village council is back to full capacity.

On Jan. 18, council approved the appointment of Lorie A. Cafagno to fill the Ward 2 council seat Ray Martin vacated after being elected mayor.

Steve Johnston, council president, said two candidates were interviewed for the position, Cafagno and Linda Hall.

“Both candidates were outstanding, excellent in their backgrounds. Either would have been an asset to the community,” Johnston said.

Cafagno, 40, grew up just outside of West Jefferson and moved inside the village limits in 2004. She graduated from Madison-Plains High School in 1994 and holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Ohio Dominican University.

“I raised my children here…I think there are ways to improve the community. I want other people to want to raise their kids here, too,” Cafagno said of her interest in serving on council.

Cafagno is a senior accountant at Nationwide Insurance. With experience in finance and accounting, she said she is interested to see how the financial side of village government works.

“It will be a good experience to see how a village is run, to see where my tax dollars are going,” she said.

Cafagno and her husband have three children—one in college and two who are students at West Jefferson High School. She also is a member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Lilly Chapel where she serves on the hospitality committee.

In other action, council:

  • donated $3,000 to the West Jefferson Youth Athletic Association. Councilman Herman Stanley, who is active with the association, abstained from the vote.
  • authorized the finance director to issue blanket purchase orders for $10,000 for ammunition for the police department, $25,000 for paving materials for the street fund, and $25,000 for road salt for the street fund.
  • gave Public Service Director John Mitchell the go-ahead to purchase additional remote water meters and components for $100,000, half funded from the water fund and half from the sewer fund.

Resident Michael Norman, administrator of a Facebook page titled “West Jefferson (Uncensored),” addressed council about the village’s research into erecting a community center. He wanted to know if council is considering other options besides those put forth in a feasibility study completed by design-engineering firm Moody Nolan. Norman said he got an estimate of his own, based on information in the feasibility study, from a steel building company.

Steve Johnston emphasized that the feasibility study represents only estimated costs, that nothing is set in stone. Council is nowhere near the point of putting the project out to bid, he said, adding that research and discussions are ongoing.

“The committee is open to any and all ideas. We haven’t settled on anything,” said Ron Garver, a member of the community center feasibility committee. The major hurdle is funding, both for construction and operation, he said. A ballot issue will be required for the project to have a chance to materialize, he said.

About the estimate that Norman secured on his own, Garver said he wonders if it took into account everything required for the project. He said he worries about misinformation being shared on the Facebook page Norman administers. Johnston asked Norman to check with village officials about project facts before posting information online. Norman said he took the project specs directly from the Moody Nolan documentation.

The next regular meeting of West Jefferson council is at 7 p.m. Feb. 1. Council’s development committee will meet at 2 p.m. Feb. 5. Both meetings will take place in council chambers.

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