COLUMBUS GROVE — Lori Rayle, Current Chief Deputy Recorder and candidate for the Putnam County Recorder position in the upcoming March 17 Republican Party primary election appeared before Columbus Grove’s village council on Monday. “I’ve been in the Recorder’s for 15 years,” she began. “I assumed the Chief Deputy duties four to six years ago, but the last 18 months I’ve assumed the duties of the recorder due to an unfortunate illness. I’m here to ask for your support. To let you know who I am, and to put a face with the name.”

Two other colleagues from the Recorder’s Office joined Mrs. Rayle. Both Doris Schroeder, who has worked in the office for 22 years, and Sherri Britsch who has been with the office for 15 years, were present as a show of support.

During Administrator Jeff Vance’s report to council, he informed members that the annual BBO race in the village will take place on March 14. Sections of High St. will be temporarily closed for the race.

Mr. Vance also presented 2019’s water-loss report for the village’s municipal water system, along with comparison numbers from 2018. In response to questions from council, he also confirmed that every property in the village is metered, including the school’s athletic field (which is metered, but not billed). Other possible sources of water loss were discussed as well, and the village will soon recheck the valves on area fire hydrants.

Overall, the village is losing significantly less water annually than in years past. The water-loss rate currently averages near 15% for the year, which is the target for municipalities such as Columbus Grove that manage their own water systems.

Mr. Vance also attended a meeting of the Turner Hall Committee held last Thursday evening. He reported that two upcoming events are being planned for the former Presbyterian Church.

On Sunday, March 1 at 7 p.m., Split, a local band made up of current and former Columbus Grove High School students will perform their first public concert. Then on Wednesday, March 4, at 6 p.m., Word on the Street, a funk and jazz band out of Tiffin University will perform. Opening for Word on the Street that Wednesday will be the Columbus Grove High School Popular Music Ensemble. Admission to both events will be $2. No public money is being spent on these events and all funds raised will go towards supporting the continued operation of Turner Hall.

Mr. Vance also initiated a discussion regarding hourly-rentals of Turner Hall. Currently, the only option available is to rent the facility for an entire day at a cost of $125. An exercise class was offered as an example of the type of event where the facility would only be needed for a short time, and where the full-day rental fee would be too high to attract the event.

Concerns were raised regarding people taking advantage of an hourly fee, even if a cap was imposed, to hold an event for three to four hours which would otherwise incur the full day’s fee. A suggestion was made to charge per-person for such events, as other facilities do when hosting a yoga class or similar. It was also noted that, with the facility currently underutilized, a renter taking advantage of a per-hour fee might represent an improvement over the current approach. With several questions on what the best path forward might be, council opted to table the question of an hourly rate for Turner Hall for the time being.

During his report, Police Chief Sean Hiler informed council that the property at 605 W. Sycamore, which saw a devastating house fire in the morning of Jan. 21, had been sold. The new owner has already reportedly secured a contractor to demolish what remains of the structure, though no firm date was offered as to when this will be done. The new owner does not own property immediately adjacent to this one, and their plans for the property are unknown.

The annual drive-around, where council travels together around the entire village, viewing properties that are or may be in danger of violating the village’s building ordinances will take place on April 6. Violation letters will be sent out shortly thereafter. This schedule is intentionally set a few weeks prior to the annual community-wide cleanup in May.

In other council news:

• the design-build plans for a new fire station are nearing completion. More details, including potential cost, should be available in the near future.

• Chief Hiler informed council that two old rifles held by his department had both been sold for $200 each.

The next meeting of the Columbus Grove Village Council will take place on Monday, Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. All meetings are open to the public and they are invited to attend.