KALIDA — During the most recent meeting of the Kalida Village Council held on Nov. 18, members learned of an overtime issue involving village employees. The employee manual states that overtime must be approved prior to being undertaken, but how that approval is achieved is not outlined.

Though rare, an issue recently emerged, as described by council member Mike Stechschulte, “Nov. 10 was a Sunday, and Nov. 11, Veterans Day, which is a holiday, the streets superintendent and assistant decided on their own that they wanted to clean-up the leaves. People were mowing their yards, cleaning up their yards, and piling the leaves right by the street.”

“So, with the pending storm coming Monday night, they decide to go out on their own to clean up some of the debris. Sunday was a double-time payday, and then Monday was holiday pay, plus time and a half.”

“They are supposed to get approval from the streets committee, the Mayor, someone, to go out. They just can’t go work on their own. I think it’s a learning experience for some of us. I didn’t know that, but it does state that in the employee handbook.”

“I did talk to John [Edelbrock] about it. That we need to be notified if he feels, or they feel, they need to work on a Sunday or a holiday.”

Combined, the two employees worked 10 hours total on that Sunday, and another 10 hours on Monday, the holiday. It was noted that they would have and did end up working on Veterans Day anyway. Due to that evening’s snowfall, they were plowing village streets until around 1 a.m.

Going forward, it was determined that they should contact the Fiscal Officer who would then check with the Mayor prior to undertaking any overtime work on weekends or holidays.

“I would have approved it,” commented Mayor Gerdeman.

“I think it was good foresight,” added council member Jason Birkemeier.

Mr. Birkemeier also presented council with some information regarding a $90,000 leaf vacuum unit manufactured by Titan Leaf Solutions, along with details on an Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) grant that could potentially cover up to $40,000 of the cost of the unit. In doing so, he also introduced a small measure of confusion.

Back in August, council approved an application for a Bureau of Worker Compensation (BWC) safety grant. In addition to trench boxes manufactured by Liebrecht Manufacturing, it was hoped that the grant would cover the fabrication of a leaf vacuum unit by the same company. Liebrecht had provided a quote of $45,000 for such a leaf vacuum system, and Mr. Birkemeier was unaware that the quote had been included in that grant application, which had just received preliminary approval on the day of Kalida’s regular meeting.

The village currently uses a unit that was built “some years ago” by village workers with the possible assistance of students at Kalida High School. Though it has performed well for many years, the village believes it is time to replace it with a modern more ergonomic unit. Discussions will continue at the next meeting.

In other Kalida Council news:

• Council approved two residential CRA agreements, providing a 50% property tax abatement for five years to the new property owners.

• A CRA with Hekam Trucking entered into in 2016 was retired due to being unable to meet state requirements for creating or retaining jobs. Though intended to last 15 years, the company will now pay its full property tax bill beginning next year.

• Council learned that ODOT will replace the bridge on St. Rte. 115 passing over Plum Creek, adjacent to Froggy Park. The state will assume 100% of the cost of the bridge replacement. It will be a 93 foot, three-span bridge, and is expected to go to bid in late 2020 with construction starting in 2021.

The next meeting of the Kalida Village Council will take place on Monday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. All meetings are open to the public and they are invited to attend.