In The Know – May 2018

You may have noticed your trash collection fee went up the beginning of May.  This was an increase by Rumpke.  The new fees are $11.96 per household and $10.93 for Golden Buckeye Card holders.  The last increase was 6 years ago. Our rates are lower than out of town and our rates are cheaper than other villages in the county.  Georgetown’s trash pickup rates are much cheaper than they would be because the village collects payments.  If each of us were to be billed separately by Rumpke, we would all pay a lot more.   The town also pays for weekly recycling pickup at a cost of about $8000 per year.  Georgetown is the only village that has weekly collection of recycled materials.

Be sure if you have a Golden Buckeye card to share the card number with the Georgetown Utilities Department.  You will have no late fee for paying your utility bill late and you receive a discount on your trash pickup.  If you don’t have one, you can apply for one at the public library or the Senior Citizen Center.  You cannot do it over the phone or online since identification is required.  Anyone 60 years of age or older and anyone aged 18-59 with disabilities is eligible.

An ad hoc committee has been created to explore the value of becoming a charter village in Georgetown.   Members of the committee are Nancy Montgomery, Andy Clift, and Wade Highlander.   Any municipality in Ohio may be governed by a charter.  Right now Georgetown is a statutory government.  This means we are ruled by the state legislature.  The advantages of being a charter village are numerous.   A charter allows the village to write its own rules and regulations that better suit our local needs.

Currently we are close to 4400 in population.  When we reach 5,000 we will automatically become a city.  Under state legislation, when that happens we will have to have a fulltime mayor, solicitor, and engineer.   Georgetown cannot afford to do this on the income we have now.  If we have a charter we can continue to operate with these as part-time positions.  We can keep our number of council members or change it.  With a charter WE make these decisions not the state.

If becoming a charter village is deemed to be a positive move for Georgetown, the process will take about  2 years.  First there will be public meetings to educate the public on exactly what a charter would mean and to get citizen input.  Then there is an election to determine if the citizens want a charter and, if so, to elect 15 members of the committee that will write the charter.  Every citizen will receive a copy of the charter before it is voted on and there will be more public meetings.  The last step is an election in which the citizens will vote for or against the charter.

There are a lot of exciting things happening in Georgetown.  Get involved!  Come to council meetings to voice your opinions!   If you can’t come, listen to the livestream.  Hopefully, the sound issue will be solved soon.  There are emails available on the village webpage.  Follow the village on Facebook at Village Of Georgetown Brown County Ohio.  To be up-to-date with important notices be sure to call the administrator, Art Owens, at 937-378-6395 X 1003 or email him at administrator@georgetownohio.org, and give him your phone number to be enrolled in One Call Now.

In The Know – April 2018

The power outages last month were caused by problems in the lines coming in from Duke Energy.   We updated our substations last year so we can transfer town lines to different substations.  This will reduce outages resulting from damaged feeder lines from Duke Energy.   Unfortunately, Duke Energy has never completed their end of this project which keeps us from being able to switch the feeds.  Duke plans to finish this project this year.  This brings another reminder to call Art Owens at 937-378-6395 X 1003 to register to receive calls through One Call Now.  It is a mode of communication with our citizens during emergencies such as power outages or other information citizens need to know.

While we wait for the weather to cooperate so the street paving can be completed, our street department has been trying to deal with pot holes.   They are having to use cold patches since hot patches are only produced in the summer.   The cold patches are temporary and don’t hold after rain or snow.

The village will be digitizing our records this year.   Ordinances will be posted online and will allow for keyword searches to be performed.  This will give everyone the ability to look up what current ordinances are in place.  While this is an expensive and time consuming task, it is important that everyone be able to search them when questions arise.

New councilmembers Andy Clift and Nancy Montgomery attended the Ohio Municipal League training for new councilmembers.  It was a great overview of issues councilmembers deal with including passing ordinances, how meetings should be run, economic development, and finances.

Georgetown welcomed a special police officer this month.  Ridge, a male Dutch shepherd, has joined the force as a narcotics dog.   Ridge was formerly with BCI but was not ready to retire when his BCI handler was and so was adopted by GPD Officer Rich Shofstall.  Ridge and Officer Shofstall have been together for 4 years and they were certified in 2015.  Ridge’s reward for a job well-done is his ball.

 

K-9 Officer Ridge joins his handler, Officer Rich Shofstall at the Georgetown Police Department.

Officer Shofstall was assistant chief with the Winchester, Ohio Police Department from 2013 to October, 2017 when he rejoined the Georgetown PD.  Ridge worked with Officer Shofstall in Winchester, also.  He is part of Officer Shofstall’s family even going on vacation with him.  They are together 24/7.  Georgetown is paying no daily maintenance or care fees for Ridge and will pay only for an annual physical.    A small group of concerned citizens has recently donated a   K-9 Narcan kit for Ridge since narcotic K-9’s are quite susceptible to drug exposure through sniffing and touching.  Many K-9’s have been lost through such contact.

The Community Improvement Corporation was established under the Ohio Revised Code and was formed by the Georgetown Village Council in 2013 as an economic tool for the Village.   It is a 501(c)(3) which exists to  revitalize Georgetown physically, economically, and socially.   Their sole purpose is to encourage and promote the industrial, economic, commercial, and civic development of the village.

Properties are put into the CIC’s name and the CIC can negotiate sales to the advantage of the Village.   If the Village itself would sell this property, we would have to take bids and lose any flexibility in negotiations.   After the property is sold, the money goes to the Village and the council decides how much, if any, money goes to the CIC for them to use for the Village’s benefit.  The CIC’s money can be used for business loans for startups or existing businesses.  The CIC can also facilitate companies applying for low interest loans through the state revolving loan program and Grow Now Funds available through local banks.  Both program loans are based on the number of jobs created.

The current members of the Village of Georgetown CIC are Carol Myers, Dale Cahall, Dave Guenther, Margy Paeltz, and Charlie Ring.  The CIC meetings are held the second Tuesday of every month at 5:00 PM  in the Council Chamber and are open to the public.

 

In The Know – March 2018

This year’s Town Wide Yard Sale dates in Georgetown are Thursday, May 3 – Saturday, May 5; Thursday, July 5 – Saturday, July 7; and Thursday, August 30 – Saturday, September 1.

The first Neighborhood Watch meeting was well attended with over 25 people present.  Discussion centered on citizen concerns.  The top two voiced concerns were drugs and theft.  Citizens are also concerned about the curfew and too many young people being out on the streets late at night.  They voiced the appreciation for the police enforcing traffic laws and encouraged them to continue to do so. One of the big discussion topics was a need for more activities for the youths in town.  The Neighborhood Watch is a citizens group and they are encouraged to address whatever topics they want at the meetings, and a desire for more businesses in town was also brought up.

Neighborhood Watch meetings are the second Sunday of each month at 5:00 P.M. in the Gaslight Theater.  The next Neighborhood Watch meeting will be Sunday, March 11, 2018.  The program will be 2 county dispatchers who will explain how the communication system works, how they take calls, and how callers can make anonymous reports.  They will answer questions after their presentation.

Officer Jesse Green will also be organizing a National Night Out Event for Georgetown.  National Night Out is an annual event to make our communities and neighborhoods safer and better places to live.  The event promotes not just the police-community relationship but also the neighbor- to-neighbor relationship. National Night Out brings back a true sense of community. It provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.  This year’s event will be August 17.  Watch for more information about this entertaining night out!

Kegs for K9’s will be taking place on the Courthouse Square on Saturday, July 14, 2018, from 2:00 P.M. until 9:00 P.M.  The new event will be a fundraiser for the first Brown County dog park to be built at Kathryn Hanlon Park.  Andy Clift, Councilmember, is project manager and fundraising chair.  More information will be forthcoming but it promises to be a great event!  Councilmember Clift is also hosting a Quarter Auction to be held at the American Legion on June 2, 2018.  Cash donations are always appreciated and can be dropped off at the Village Municipal Building or mailed to the Village of Georgetown, 301 S. Main St., Georgetown, OH  45121.  Please note on it that it is for the dog park.

The Community Development Committee met before the council meeting on Feb. 22, 2018.  Plans and priorities were discussed for the park.   An asphalt sidewalk needs to be put in from the sidewalk on E. State St. at the park entrance to the walking track.  This is a safety concern to keep people from walking in the road entrance with cars coming and going.   The front restroom needs to be replaced as soon as money is available.  It will be a block building a little larger than the current one and include stainless steel sinks and commodes to make them more vandal resistant.  Improving and adding to the children’s playground is also a priority that will be looked at in the future.

Everyone is interested in bringing business and new jobs to Georgetown.  To this end, the village has hired an economic developer whose job is to match businesses with available retail space, industrial space, and vacant land.  Development Strategies Group LLC (DSG) is a Cincinnati-based group that serves private businesses and governmental entities with 50 years of experience.   They have a multi-prong approach to helping Georgetown.  The first phase is a retention phase.  They have developed a survey for our current local businesses and will be visiting these businesses to interview them.  They want to know how they feel their businesses are doing, what they would like to change, and what is keeping them from changing or expanding.  We care about our existing businesses and want to know what we can do to help them in their desire to grow.

DSG has surveyed our vacant properties available and will try to match businesses who are looking to relocate to Georgetown.  Linking us with REDI (Regional Economic Development Initiative) Cincinnati, one of six Jobs Ohio regional partners through the Ohio Department of Commerce, connects us with new startup businesses and existing businesses wanting to grow in the region.  It matches businesses to the resources they need.   Tourism will be included in the marketing strategy.  Besides marketing Georgetown they have government contacts and will search for grants for the village.  All of the upgrades that have been completed to the village’s electric, sewer, and water systems have included increasing and expanding our capacity to handle bigger demands that may be needed by new businesses.  Infrastructure is always of primary concern to businesses looking to relocate.

We are hoping to have the equipment in place to livestream the next Village Council meeting on Thursday, March 8, 2018, at 7:00 P.M.  The stream will be available on the village’s Facebook page, Village of Georgetown Brown County Ohio, and on our website at georgetownohio.org.  The videos will be archived on the village website.

There will also be an Emergency Services Committee meeting at 6:00 P.M. before the Council meeting in the council chamber.  All Village Council meetings and committee meetings are open to the public.

In The Know – February 2018

We have been notified Georgetown is first in line with ODOT to have State St. (SR 125) paved from the bridge to where it meets SR 68.  At the same time, we will be paving South Main St. from the town building to the curve past Fourth St.   This will be paid for through the water main project loan.  The town will pay for paving N. Main St. from State St. to Apple St.  The weather will determine exactly when these projects will start.

Oglethorpe, Inc. has started reconstruction on the old Brown County Hospital building preparing for their behavior hospital.  Construction crews are currently doing demolition work on the inside of the building after which renovation will begin including new HVAC installations.  There is no timeline for opening yet.

The Georgetown Utility Department continues to install remotely read water and electric meters.  They have completed the residential meters with the installation of 1,976 remote meters.  They have 219 commercial remote meters to install.   There are about 500 remote water meters still to install for residential customers.  There are 200 commercial remote water meters to be installed.  The remote read meters are more accurate with no human error, faster to read and never freeze shut so they can be read on schedule no matter what the weather.  History reports can be run to detect when a problem started.  If someone has a water leak, the report can be run so it can be determined within an hour of when the leak started.   An underused offering of the utility department is the ability to view your bill online and to pay your bill online if you prefer.  You can also view your bills for the year.   When you get your bill, go to the village website at georgetownohio.org and click on Pay Your Bill Online.   You can search your invoices or pay your bill without registering, but go ahead and register for an account so you can use other features.  You do not have to pay online to use the invoice search feature or to view your current bill.   Online pay is convenient and you can use a credit card, debit card, or directly from your bank account.  You can also pay over the phone by calling  378-6144 and choosing option 1.

The application for the 2018 Capital Budget request has been submitted.  If approved, this will complete the second phase of the Gaslight Restoration.  This phase includes updates to the inside of the theater itself, floor refinishing, seating repair, addressing HVAC issues, and a few other minor things.  We should hear if we will receive this money in May or June.

It is important the village government continues to function at all times.   To this end, village officials will be drafting and adopting a crisis plan in case of emergency in our village.  This plan would be activated when the continuity of our local government would be interrupted such as a natural disaster.  Art Owens, village administrator, Dale Cahall, mayor, Natalie Newberry, fiscal officer, and all department heads will be involved in developing the plan as well as council members.   A plan will also be created for backing up all data and recovering data in case computers are destroyed.

The village council has several committees.   Below are the committees and their members:

  • Community Development (streets, housing annex, signage, sidewalks, park, building use, cemetery, economic development) – Dave Guenther, Andy Clift, Nancy Montgomery
  • Emergency Services (Police, fire, EMS, human resources, equipment, training) – Wade Highlander, Andy Clift, Kelly Cornett
  • Utility Services (New additions, upgrades, equipment, rates, human resources) – Ginny Colwell, Kelly Cornette, Nancy Montgomery
  • Budget Committee (pay scales, finances, audit, revenue/expenditures) – Kelly Cornette, Ginny Colwell, Wade Highlander
  • Records Commissions – Natalie Newberry, Art Owens, Joe Braun

Committee meetings are scheduled on an as-needed basis and are set at council meetings and often are held right before council meetings.  The next committee meeting scheduled is the Community Development Committee on Feb. 22 at 6:00 P.M. right before the council meeting.  The agenda is to discuss plans for the park for 2018.

There are also community commissions which are listed below with their members:

  • Cemetery Trustrees – Andy Clift, Jim Hesler, Ralph Sininger
  • Signage Members-At-Large – John Ludy, Selma Pitzer
  • Planning Commission – Dale Cahall, Art Owens, Joe Braun, Kelly Cornetter, Jim Myers, Carol Myers, Jay Hanselman
  • Strategic Planning Commission – Dale Cahall, Art Owens, Kelly Cornette, Dave Guenther, Daryll Gray, Jay Hanselman, Carol Myers, Jim Myers
  • Zoning Board of Appeals – Nancy Montgomery, Susan Bean, Denny Cahall, Liz Dunn, Kelly Jones
  • Income Tax Board of Review – Dale Cahall, Art Owens, Andy Clift, Ginny Colwell, Wade Highlander
  • Income Tax Board of Appeals – Susan Bean, Doug Eagan, Nancy Montgomery

Commission meetings are scheduled on an as-needed basis.

All committee and commission meetings are posted on the bulletin board in the entrance to the village office and are open to the public and are usually held in the Council Chamber.

Our emergency service has a new ambulance to better serve our community.  They were down to one unreliable ambulance.  To provide timely and safe service, it was necessary for them to get an ambulance they can depend on.

Jesse Green, Georgetown police officer, is beginning a Neighborhood Watch in Georgetown.  Starting in 1972, the National Neighborhood Watch Program has united law enforcement and individual citizens to reduce crime and make local communities safer.  Police studies have proven the Neighborhood Watch Program to be an effective way to prevent crime in neighborhoods.  Office Green will host an organizational meeting on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018, at 5:00 P.M. in the Council Chamber of the municipal building.  He will discuss how the program works and will lead a group discussion on the current issues in our neighborhoods.  Meetings will be held the second Sunday of each month and will feature different topics that will be presented based on concerns that have been brought to Officer Green’s attention.  We all must work together to make our village a safe place to live.  Become empowered by becoming active in community efforts to prevent crime!  If you have any questions, contact Office Green at 937-378-6400 ext. 1011.  You can also email him at jgreen@georgetownpd.us.  He hopes to have a good turnout.

We continue to explore how to livestream council meetings for the convenience of our citizens.  Gar Seigla, Georgetown Schools Technology Coordinator, is working with our village administrator, Art Owens, to find what equipment is needed and how to set it up to provide a quality streaming experience.  Many citizens have voiced their excitement for this opportunity, and we will soon be delivering council meetings into your homes!

There were no emergency services stats available.

In The Know – Jan 2018 Edition

By Nancy Montgomery, Council Member

Every month “In the Know” will appear in the local paper to bring you news of what is happening in Georgetown council, our services, and around our village.

The Georgetown Village Council is starting the new year with a newly elected member. Andy Clift joins Ginny Colwell, Kelly Cornette, Dave Guenther, Wade Highlander, and Nancy Montgomery, who was selected in August to fill a vacant seat.

Of the utmost interest to everyone is the water rate increase. The last rate increase was not passed on to citizens but was assumed by the village. The last increase in water rates to citizens was April, 2010. This increase is necessary to repay the current waterline loan which paid for improvements in our most vulnerable areas. We have experienced a high number of water main breaks in the last 3 years and low water volume in our uptown business area and our east end business district. These problems have been addressed. The increase will also help cover future maintenance to the water system which will save money in the long run. The increase will allow us to maintain our current water system and allow for infrastructure improvements for future economic development projects for the next 10 years. The EPA now requires the village to use an asset management plan and also mandates a rate increase to plan for future improvements. The next water system improvement will be replacing the water tower. A grant application will be submitted to help with this cost. A Powerpoint presenting information about our water system and requirements is posted on the village Facebook and page and the village website under Announcements.

The municipal building restoration is almost finished. The windows and a small amount of restoration on the east side is all that is left. Art Owens, village administrator, is restoring the gas lamps for the front of the building. The restoration was paid for by the Ohio Capital Budget through the Ohio Facilities Commission.

For the last 5 years the Brown County Chamber of Commerce has managed the Gaslight Theater. The village is looking for a new group interested in handling the theater which includes scheduling events, providing support for events, and cleaning up after the events. Anyone interested can contact the village administrator at 937-378-6395 Ext 1008 or email administrator@georgetownohio.org.

The use of the old Speedway lot has been discussed for several months. The final decision is that the south half of the lot will be parking with 12 spaces. The north half will be used to create a Bicentennial Park dedicated to the history of our community. The Bicentennial Committee will design and fund the park with donations. It will include a display about the history of Georgetown, the time capsule to be buried during the Bicentennial, a donor display, a center focal point yet to be determined, walkways, benches, picnic tables, and landscaping including ornamental trees. The next Bicentennial Committee meeting is Wed., Jan. 17, at 7 PM in the Village Council chamber. Everyone with an interest in the Bicentennial is encouraged to attend. The Bicentennial celebration will be June 21-23, 2019.

The EMS recently received a grant from Workman’s Compensation to purchase a power cot. A power cot is motorized that automatically lifts and lowers with no manual assistance needed.
It can hold up to 700 pounds. Not only is this safer for some patients, it will reduce back injuries to our EMS personnel.

The Georgetown Village Council meets the second and fourth Thursdays of each month at 7 PM in the village council chamber. The public is always welcome and encouraged to attend. The next meeting of council will be Jan. 11, 2018.

There are multiple ways to stay in touch with your village. The village website is georgetownohio.org. We can be found on Facebook under Village of Georgetown Brown County Ohio. To be called in the event of any emergency, such as power outages, please call the village administrator to be added to the One Call Now system. You will then receive a call notifying you of any important information.

At the end of each month’s column will be statistics on the number of police calls and fire and EMS runs answered during the previous month. December, 2017’s statistics are below:

POLICE Dec. 2017 2017
Call for Service: 455 4980
Traffic Stops: 179 1862
Reports: 36 449
Traffic Crashes:  56 3 56
Charges into Mayor’s Court: 89
Charges into County Court: 38
FIRE
Calls 17
EMS
Calls 91
Transports 73