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Summary of September 26 village council meeting

• Energy aggregation renewal
• Visioning open house Oct. 19
• SR 103 easement negotiations
• Hydrant flushing and water main replacement
• Bentley Rd. crosswalk improvements
• Police Dept. incident statistics

The first Village of Bluffton regular council meeting of the fall began with a lengthy presentation from a representative of Toledo-based Palmer Energy Company, which negotiates large-scale energy aggregation deals. Palmer groups together Ohio entities like cities, towns, and counties to solicit cheaper utility rates. After a referendum about a decade ago, Bluffton voters agreed to join an electric aggregation deal.  That deal is up for renewal and Council was informed that gas aggregation can be added, if we are willing to place the question on an upcoming ballot again. 

If passed, all Bluffton ratepayers would become part of the program, but anyone can opt out at any time. Council asked for more details so that planning can begin as soon as possible. Several comments were made in favor of the proposal, citing the volatile trends of natural gas prices.

COMMITTEE REPORTS
Next came a couple brief Committee reports. Joe Sehlhorst called attention to the upcoming "Bluffton Beyond Tomorrow" open house, set for October 19. This will be a drop-in event at the middle school, where residents are invited to provide feedback on topics generated by a July survey

Phil Talivinia reported that the Safety Services Committee had met with Mayor Johnson in executive session to discuss personnel matters.

LEGISLATION
There were three matters of legislation to consider.  The first was the introduction of an emergency ordinance regarding the ongoing legal negotiations between the Village and Ken and Diana Lugibihl.  Next spring's bike and pedestrian pathway work requires several narrow easements along the SR 103 boundary of their commercial property.

This ordinance, which passed unanimously, authorizes the Village to offer $49,000 to the Lugibihls in compensation for appropriating these easements.

The second item was an emergency passing of the resolution introduced at the last meeting concerning the county's property tax rates.  The third item was a resolution, also in emergency mode, to participate in an ODOT-sponsored bridge inspection program.  Both resolutions passed unanimously.

ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTS

Assistant administrator Bryan Lloyd highlighted hydrant flushing that begins on October 3. This is done twice annually, and tends to stir up sediment which colors water and leads to phone calls to Town Hall.  Lloyd said that the sediment can just be cleared by running taps for a while. Many calls will come from Lawn and Jackson Streets, he added, and those residents should know that their older water mains will be replaced by workers starting in November.  

Administrator Jesse Blackburn discussed the collaborative crosswalk improvements along the Bluffton University section of Bentley Road.  Drivers will come upon a well-marked crosswalk next to the stadium entrance, and it's hoped that this will lead to drivers and pedestrians paying more attention to safety.

Police Chief Ryan Burkholder called attention to the August "Incident Breakdown" statistics which were published in the Council packet, pages 26-31. Numbers have remained stable in the past year, he said.  Burkholder requested that Council declare two older unused department Remington shotguns as surplus, so that they could be sold to a dealer.

The chief had various matters to discuss with Council in executive session; so without further business at hand, Mayor Johnson led Council into the adjoining room and the public portion of this meeting was effectively over.

Council Packet includes

  • Agenda, p. 1-2
  • Minutes of the Sept. 12 Regular Meeting, p. 3-5
  • September 26 Voucher Report, p. 6-7
  • Ordinance No. 03-2022, p. 8-9
  • Exhibit A, Perpetual Easement for Highway Purposes for four parcels, p. 10-19
  • Resolution No. 21-2022, p. 20-21
  • Resolution NO. 26-2022, p. 22-23
  • Administrator's report, p. 24-25
  • Application for Homecoming Parade, p. 26
  • Bluffton Police Department statistics for August 2022, p. 26-31.
  • Announcement of job opening for full-time police officer, p. 32.
  • Announcement of Findlay Municipal Court DUS Day Clinic (Driving Under Suspension) on October 6, p. 33.

The next regular meeting of the Bluffton Village Council is scheduled for