Our New Bremen staff saw change this year, as past fiscal officer Diane Gast left in March, and Linda Fortkamp left shortly after Diane, so it has been a learning curve for fiscal officer Amy Speelman and administrator Christine Dicke. It has been rough at times, but I think things are starting to smooth out a bit. It is tough to replace all of those years of knowledge in a short time.
At the end of this year, we also had our longtime solicitor, Steve Smith, leave after being a part of the village for 32 years. I want to thank Steve for leading the village thru many difficult decisions during that time. Steve served three Mayors, five administrators, four police chiefs, 27 councilors and countless residents with questions about the village. Thanks Steve.
We also lost councilman John Schwartz, as he decided to move just outside the village and could no longer serve the village. I want to thank John for his service to the village during his years. He was replaced by Jacob Larger, who left the village to become a lawyer and has recently moved back into New Bremen. He is doing an outstanding job so far. Jacob’s experience working for Gov. John Kasich has served him well in understanding how government works and is a great addition to village.
A couple of other changes were the hiring of Diane Homan, who replaced Linda Fortkamp, and the retirement of long acting Assistant Fire Chief Ron Wente, who was replaced by Lee Kuenning in 2017.
The results of our income tax receipts in New Bremen show that we had a bit of a decline in receipts, as we were down a bit, 5 percent, receipts of $4,068,244. It still shows that we are a very healthy community. I don’t think there were any major contributors. I think it was a matter of in 2016 we were still collecting quareterly, and now we collect monthly.
As for infrastructure, we completed our 10-bay public works building with cold storage and materials storage areas. It was a great addition to our facilities.
We also have finished the police/EMS building that I spoke of last year, and both the groups have move in their operations just recently. It is a fine facility that will serve the village for many years to come.
We received a $248,000 OPWC grant, matched by $187,000 of our own money to manage several streets in town, keeping them in good shape as their infrastructure underneath was still in good shape. This will buy us years on those streets. This is a plan that Administrator Dicke and the public works superintendent developed, with more to come in the following years. It is so important to keep up the health of our streets, as it is much more economical this way than complete reconstructions.
When speaking of health of infrastructure, I have to mention the work that our electric crew did to provide a new primary underground feed to an expansion at Crown Equipment. This feed underground plan came to us, and our crews worked very hard in very cold weather to have it completed, and I want to thank them in front of you all for that. They did a great job considering the timeline they were given.
Continuing with infrastructure, we recieved a Mote Engineering-led OPWC award of $500,000 grant and $500,000 zero-interest loan towards the Front Eastmoore Drive reconstruction project. That project will start this spring, it is a much-needed upgrade to all of Eastmoor Drive as well as the rest of Front, from where we left off a few years ago all the way to state Route 66.
We also installed some laser traffic detectors on our main intersections of Washington/Plum as well Washington/Monroe. They have improved the flow of traffic through the village. We tried for another OPWC grant to do a complete reconstruction of the same intersections but just missed in that effort in 2017’. We will possibly re-apply in 2018.
Much-needed parking lots in the downtown area were welcomed by the village. They were Crown projects to keep cars off of the streets as much as possible with the ever growing amount of Crown personnel working downtown.
One last small project that I thought turned out great was the cleaning and painting of our water towers, The south tower gained a new Cardinal logo on it. That is a segue to the biggest achievement in the village this year, and that is our girls volleyball team bringing the village it’s first state championship. What a ride it was for all of us in the village to join the many MAC titles our neighboring communities have gathered. Our attendance in the Wright State arena was a sight to see, as we filled our seats as well as many of the seats our opponents could have filled. It was something New Bremen has waited many years for, and we now hope that monkey is off of our backs and look for many more to come.
Other activities in the village was a strategic plan that a group of us participated in to keep us looking to the future with a plan rather than making decisions as they fall in out lap and have to react to. Look forward to it evolving over the years to come.
A look into the future for New Bremen includes:
1. Council approved the purchase of a K-9 dog for the village at a cost of $80,000 dollars (truck, dog and training ), of which we were lucky to receive donations of $60,000 to help cover the cost. Officer Justin Bruns will be leaving soon to meet his dog and receive the necessary training, and we hope to have a new four-legged officer in the village in April. Our dog will be trained for drug enforcement and the ability to help find lost individuals. Our thoughts were though we don’t have a large drug problem in the village, this addition will help us to keep it that way, as time after a traffic stop to uncover drugs is so important. Now we will have a dog on staff to serve not only New Bremen but neighboring communities.
2. As I spoke of the pending school K-8 levy last year, it was approved, and we will soon see the start of construction in 2018.
I look to a prosporous and productive 2018.