Mt. Sterling council looks to fill vacant seat

(Posted Dec. 14, 2023)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

For the village of Mount Sterling, the start of the new year will bring with it the need to fill a vacancy on council.

Andy Drake, currently a council member, won election in November to the Mount Sterling mayor’s seat. When he takes office as mayor in January, he will leave behind an unexpired term on council. The remaining council members must appoint someone to complete the term which ends Dec. 31, 2025.

Any Mount Sterling resident interested in filling the seat is asked to submit a letter of interest to Courtney Bricker, the village’s clerk and fiscal officer, by the second week of January. Bricker can be reached at (740) 869-2040, ext. 108, or cbricker@mtsterling.org.

Council will interview everyone who submits a letter of interest. The interviews will take place in executive session behind closed doors. Council aims to make the appointment at their Jan. 22 meeting.

The other members of council are Ross Anderson, Becky Martin, Joyce Phillips, William Tilley, and David Timmons. Phillips and Timmons were re-elected in the November election.

2024 Budget
Council members approved the village’s 2024 budget at their Dec. 11 meeting. The vote count was 5-1 with Becky Martin casting the “no” vote.

According to Drake, chair of the finance committee, infrastructure improvements continue to be a top priority.

“The last three years, we’ve been buckling down on basic infrastructure issues,” he said. One example is the purchase of a pothole patching machine this year to help with street work.

Next year, infrastructure projects will include: street marking, curb painting, and street signage; investment in maintenance of most of the village’s heavy machinery and equipment; and preventative maintenance on water and sewer facilities.

Drake also noted that money has been set aside in the 2024 budget for economic development purposes to make Mount Sterling more visible. Along those lines, the village will be overhauling its website.

New Swingsets
Mount Sterling’s Mason Park now offers a variety of swingset options. Three bays of swingsets were recently installed. One bay features two toddler swings and two adaptive swings for children with disabilities. The second bay features two “See Me intergenerational swings” which feature seats that face each other, allowing a child and an adult to swing together. The third bay is outfitted with four traditional belt swings and one adaptive swing for adults with disabilities.

“We are very proud of those three bays of swingsets that we added,” said Martin, chair of the parks and recreation committee. “We’re grateful for the grant that paid for those. There was no money out of village coffers for those.”

A grant from the state capital budget and a donation from the Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDD) covered the cost of the swingsets.

“We have big plans on trying to capitalize on more grants next year,” Martin added.

Grant Opportunity
Speaking of grants, Drake reported that the village is applying for a grant to further increase accessibility for individuals with disabilities. MCBDD recently alerted all municipalities in Madison County that state funding is available for such projects next year.

Mount Sterling officials decided to put the village’s hat in the ring for a chance at the money. The application deadline was Dec. 12. The funding is not guaranteed. Should the village receive funds, no matching local funds would be required.

Mount Sterling’s application asks for funding for crosswalk improvements, Braille signs and labeling at town hall for individuals with vision impairments, upgrades at town hall to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, and further improvements at Mason Park.

“Like we’ve been saying all along this year, we apply for literally everything we can,” Drake said. “We swing for the fences. We get some, we don’t get others, but we should try. And that’s what we’re doing with this one.”

The next regular Mount Sterling village council meeting is set for 7 p.m. Jan. 8 in council chambers at town hall.

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