(Posted July 19, 2017)
By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer
The new community center operated by West Jefferson’s Parks and Recreation Department was called on the carpet at the July 17 village council meeting over, well, carpeting and chairs.
At issue were resolutions to purchase carpeting and 150 chairs for the center at a total cost of $50,000.
Mayor Ray Martin said converting the Zion Lutheran Church into a community center is working out well.
“We want to get it looking nice so people can have a nice place to hold a function,” he said.
But council member Lori Cafagno balked at spending that kind of money when other things are necessary.
“The center has carpeting and chairs,” she said, adding that other village needs are more pressing. As an example, she noted the swimming pool was closed due to malfunctions on a day when temperatures were in the mid- to high-80s.
“Chairs and carpeting can wait,” she said. “We don’t have to look like a million dollars at this time.”
Council member Mike Conway questioned why only one bid was received for the carpet and chairs and why it took so long to bring the issue before council. He noted that the bid from Library Design Associates was made in April and, “It’s just now coming before us.”
“When I want to do anything at my house, I look for two or three bids,” he added.
Conway received no answers to his questions.
Cafagno doesn’t think it is the right time to make the purchase.
“I’m trying to be a good steward of the taxpayers’ dollars,” she said. “I think pool improvements are more important than carpeting and chairs.”
Council members Jen Warner, Randy Otis, and Doug Eakins fell in line with Cafagno and Conway to defeat the two resolutions.
“You win some, you lose some,” said Council President Steve Johnston after the meeting.
Following an executive session to discuss legal action, council emerged to approve a resolution to change insurance providers.
The village had been a member of the Ohio Public Entity Consortium-Healthcare Cooperative. The village claims OEC-HC breached its membership agreement in several respects. The village plans to enter into an agreement with Jefferson Health Plan to administer the employee health benefits plan.
Parks and rec activities
The village of West Jefferson will observe National Night Out Aug. 1, 5-8 p.m. at the Community Center. The village police department, Jefferson Township Fire and EMS units, MedFlight, American Electric Power, and Hurt-Battelle Library are some of the entities that will be on hand. The event is designed to foster better relationships between law enforcement and the community.
Youth outreach workshops from the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus are on the schedule for the Lunch & Learn sessions held Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Community Center. On the schedule are: a Junior Engineer session, Aug. 8; a Coaster Creator session, Aug. 15; and a Back to School Bash, Aug. 17. At the bash, participants will receive school supplies and back-to-school tips. A magic show will wrap up the session. Additionally, the Lunch & Learn session on July 27 will feature a superhero theme; children are encouraged to come dressed as superheroes.
Council held a public hearing on three ordinances to vacate alleys. No comment was received on any of the three:
- an unnamed alley running behind 52 N. Hampton St. and abutting three parcels of land;
- a portion of an unnamed alley beginning at the rear of 40 N. Hampton St. and running south behind 36 N. Hampton St. and ending at West Town Street; and
- a portion of an unnamed alley beginning at Frey Avenue and going west for 126 feet and ending at the intersecting alley which runs north and south behind 69 Frey Ave. and 77 Frey Ave.
Council voted unanimously to approve all three vacations.