RIPLEY — The Village of Ripley’s long-time fiscal officer has taken up a new challenge.
Last Monday, July 13, Lesley Myers began her tenure as a deputy clerk at the Brown County Probate/Juvenile Court, leaving her full-time job with the village. Myers had been working with the village for the last 14 years, and had been the village’s fiscal officer since 2003.
“I needed a change and an opportunity came up and I took it,” Myers said. “I’m doing something a little different before I retire.”
Myers will remain with the village in a part-time role indefinitely, but at the Tuesday, July 14 Ripley Village Council meeting, council unanimously approved a motion to hire Heather Hauke to be the village’s new fiscal officer. Hauke was most recently the village’s office manager and utility supervisor.
She declined to comment for this story.
“I do think with her previous job experience and what she brought to us when we hired, she was the right choice for the job,” Councilman Charles Poole said. “One of the reasons we hired her for (the office manager position) was her experience in accounting. It was a natural fit to move her right up into that job (as fiscal officer).”
Earlier in the village council meeting, village Administrator Pete Renshaw updated council on a current Ohio Department of Transportation project that’s closed a lane at a time on U.S. Route 52 in town. ODOT is milling and then repaving U.S. 52 between U.S. 68 and Williams Street.
Renshaw said it was expected to be finished by July 16.
Renshaw also updated council on the latest regarding a potential streetscape project on U.S. 52, which would involve building new sidewalks, adding decorative lamps and placing utility poles underground.
ODOT already had put the project out to bid, but due to possible poor timing related to other construction companies already having full schedules, ODOT only received one bid, which was at a higher price than they would have hoped for. ODOT’s plan then was to re-bid the project this fall.
Unfortunately, Renshaw said, the price of the project is higher than ODOT and the village initially expected.
“(ODOT’s) new projections for cost was higher than they were,” Renshaw said. “They think we have to come up with another $38,000, and that’s not including the design fees that would have to be incurred because the plans would have to be re-done enough so that it could be re-bid again.”
Renshaw didn’t specify how much the project would cost overall, but he mentioned at the meeting that the final price could be “nearly $1 million.” He also added that considering sidewalks were redone on U.S. 52 not that long ago, it may not make sense to rebuild them again.
Council engaged in a robust discussion, and while all of the council members and Mayor Tom Leonard agreed that it was probably a project the village couldn’t afford, council did not take any action on the streetscape project.
Renshaw said the village would be able to receive more than $140,000 in funds already spent to ODOT if they pull out of the project.
Renshaw relayed to council that village engineer Jeff Stine had submitted a letter of resignation, effective Aug. 28, citing a desire to spend more time with his grandchildren.
The village will still be able to use Robert Stine Group for building inspections.
“The only difference is nobody there does flood plain administration, and from people I’ve been able to reach out to, there’s very few people doing this,” Renshaw said.
Renshaw told council he planned on pursuing his certification to be able to provide flood plain administration. Renshaw said Stine will continue working on the projects he’s made commitments to and that he would help provide flood plain administration in the interim.
Toward the end of the meeting, council approved an intra-fund transfer in the sewer fund for $35,000 of capital outlay funds.
Councilman Daniel Dragoo was not in attendance. All other members of council were in attendance, and it was the first meeting for Thomas Mayes since being hired as village solicitor.