Prayer stays at council meetings

(Posted Feb. 28, 2019)

By Andrew Garrett, Staff Writer

Mount Sterling village council convened on Feb. 28–the first regularly scheduled meeting since former members Rebecca Burns, Tammy Vansickle and Tom Ward resigned. New members Mike Bennett and Craig Hix were present.

The sixth council seat was still vacant at the time of the meeting. Mayor Billy Martin said several applicants had been interviewed and that council hoped to fill the vacancy soon.

Martin also said he was determined to continue starting council meetings with a prayer, a practice that some former council members opposed. The current council members agreed to hold a prayer after meetings are called to order so it can be recorded into the minutes. Once the decision was made, David Timmons, president pro tempore, led the group in prayer.

Mike Stage, a prospective council member and local Block Watch captain, addressed the mayor and council about what he perceives to be a lack of proper service from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.

“Sometimes, I go around nights, I don’t see a sheriff nowhere in this town,” Stage said.

He claimed that on at least one occasion, officers did not respond after he called the department to report suspicious behavior.

“Well, I know the officers personally that oversee our community, and they’ve never failed to not react or respond to any anything I’ve ever asked them,” Martin said, encouraging residents to report any suspicious behavior to the proper authorities.

For the most part, the meeting was business as usual, with fiscal officer Courtney Bricker running through the numbers of various reports, saying the state auditor’s office was pleased with the progress the village is making in getting back on track financially.

Council approved the hiring of resident Sue Tedrow on an as-needed basis to step in for the utilities clerk in case of absence, stipulating a maximum of 160 hours which equates to one month in the calendar year. The rate of pay would be $15 an hour. The village would not be paying into OPERS, Medicare, or for insurance.

Also approved was 20 hours of overtime a year for the village fiscal officer. Council would have to be notified in advance of any overtime taken, and the time taken must be used for processing public records requests and similar tasks.

The village Easter egg hunt is set for 10 a.m. April 20, the day before Easter, at the Mount Sterling Community Center, 164 E. Main St. This year’s Community Clean-Up dates are April 26-28.

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