ST. PARIS – The village council took action to hire the next village fiscal officer during Tuesday’s regular meeting.
The village’s current fiscal officer Richard Ford is resigning Jan. 31.
Village Administrator Joe Sampson told council that interviews were held with candidates and offered Dee Meadows for council’s approval as the next fiscal officer.
Originally from Charleston, W. Va., Meadows has family in Champaign County and has moved here, Sampson said.
“She was somewhat of a fiscal officer for a utility down there, actually two utilities, which is kind of the same as what we’re doing here, but it’s a little bit different because you’re in a different state,” Sampson said. “She has all of the qualifications. Richard sat in with her and I think she would be a fine addition and would be easily capable of picking up the job and going on.”
Before council took action, Sampson said if it was agreed to hire Meadows a resolution would be presented at the next meeting to legally appoint her.
Council unanimously approved hiring Meadows.
St. Paris Police Department
Village council provided an update on the status of the St. Paris Police Department during the meeting.
During the mayor’s notes portion of the meeting, Mayor Joe Reneer emphatically addressed a rumor that council would vote to remove the police department during the meeting.
“I’m going to dispel any rumor that came around today: there is not going to be a vote on removing the St. Paris Police Department tonight,” Reneer said. “I don’t know where it got started, where it came from but I’m going to squash it right now there is not a vote on removing St. Paris PD.”
Later in the meeting, council fielded questions about the status of the police chief vacancy. The village has not had a police chief since last July following the retirement of Chief Jim Pence.
Reneer said finding the next chief is still in the works and he hopes to have something figured out by the next meeting. He reiterated the village could not hire a replacement because they ran out of money.
“With Chief Pence taking his medical leave and with us covering his shift and we were still paying him and then his payout at the end we ran out of funds,” Reneer said.
JSP Year in Review
JSP Fire District Chief Scott Massie provided council with information on the number of different runs the district respond to in 2016 as part of the year end report.
During 2016, Massie said JSP responded to 170 fire runs and 631 EMS runs.
The runs included 22 structure fires, three vehicle fires and 75 auto accidents. Massie said the number of auto accidents is high as the average between 60 and 65 accidents.
Regarding EMS runs, Massie said 427 patients were transported. Massie also made note of the number of poisoning and overdoses.
“We had seven heroin overdoses within our jurisdiction last year, two of those were fatal, six of those were in the village,” Massie said. “This year we’ve already responded to one fatal and one overdose. So heroin is here and it is an issue.”
Council received a letter from the Pony Wagon Days Committee stating they are working with the Kelly Miller Circus to determine the possibility of holding a circus on May 22.
Shows would be held at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.
“In order to host the circus, we are requesting permission to use the well field as our primary staging area for the circus,” the letter states. “In addition, we would like permission to use the old junior high site as a back-up in the event of rain.”
Council unanimously approved the use of the well field.
The letter also provided an update on the 2017 Pony Wagon Days Festival which is scheduled to take place on Sept. 7 through 9. The committee asked the village to permit them to use the old junior high site from 5 p.m. on Sept. 7 through Sept. 10 for the purpose of the festival.
In addition to this request, the committee asked for permission for street closures for the annual parade. Council also approved this request.
In other action:
•Council approved a resolution establishing terms, conditions and compensation for the services of village solicitor. The resolution appoints Andrew A. Esposito as the village solicitor.
•The American Legion St. Paris, Post 148 will meet at 7 p.m. on Feb. 8 at the municipal building.
Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.