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Bordenkircher delivers state of West Lafayette

| January 24, 2023

While 2022 was met with many challenges brought by supply chain issues and inflation driven higher cost, it also brought much success to the village as is detailed below.

Fiscal Officer Amy Bourne put forth great efforts in accomplishing her tasks and her efforts are greatly appreciated. During 2022, she implemented direct deposit for all payroll and established Positive Pay to help prevent check fraud. She attended many trainings such as annual trainings for public treasurers with the Ohio Municipal League (OML), Ohio Association of Public Treasurers (OAPT) and many online trainings with OBM on the proper use and reporting of the ARPA money. Total ARPA money received to date is $242,625.45. Amy also led the charge of implementing new technology updates and IT providers.

From a financial standpoint, we started 2022 with a carryover of $2,039,909.05 and ended the year with a carryover of $2,175,108.45 which is a 6.2% increase from the prior year due largely to Amy’s attention to detail and sound financial management. The general fund had a carryover of $662,567 which is a 3.5% increase from 2021. The 2023 budget is $2,164,269. Goals for 2023 include posturing for the 2021 & 2022 audit and to continue professional development with training.

The West Lafayette Police Department under the management of Chief Walters, consisted of the chief, a captain, one corporal, one full time patrolman, and three part-time patrolmen. All officers at the police department are certified by the State of Ohio and are declared to be law enforcement officers of the state and conservators of the peace with the authority to arrest.

The 2022 Easter Egg Hunt was moved to the Ridgewood Football Field this year which gave a larger area for the 4,000 plus eggs to be spread. There was a record number of children that participated in the egg hunt. In May 2022 the 2021 Dodge Charger all-wheel drive cruiser was put into service. This replaced the Tahoe and returned the police department to three patrol cars. The police department utilizes a 2021 Chevy Silverado, 2021 Dodge Charger and a 2016 Ford Explorer to patrol the village.

In June, the police department held its first annual West Lafayette PD First Responders Block Party. This free event was held on Oak Street at Burt Park, and it was open to anyone who wished to attend. This event was geared toward getting the community together and neighbors coming out to visit with neighbors. There were grilled hotdogs, chips, bottled water, popcorn, slushies, and WL Fire Dept. made their famous French fries. Mike Bechtol’s DJ service, a bounce house and balloonist were present to add to the fun. Several area businesses and churches donated to the event.

The police department hired three part time officers, Nate Berry, Kevin Cichon, and Wesley Wallace. Ridgewood School District began talks with WLPD for a school resource officer. After a meeting with Superintendent Mike Masloski and then the school board, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was established, and the contract was in place. Corporal Jose’ Hernandez was awarded the school resource officer position. Corporal Hernandez attended a weeklong SRO training school near Cincinnati, Ohio and began his SRO duties in mid-August 2022. This created a full time police officer position opening; part time Police Officer Amanda Rossiter, who worked for over a year, accepted the full-time position.

The police department purchased a Fuji Police Bicycle. The bicycle will be utilized during the summer months by Corporal Hernandez during summer break from Ridgewood Schools. Corporal Hernandez will use the bicycle to patrol the village on a Tac shift. During this time there will be an officer patrolling in a marked cruiser.

In October, the police department joined forces with the West Lafayette Chamber of Commerce for the annual Halloween Party at Ridgewood Middle School Gymnasium. The police department provided the food, pumpkins, and gift bags for the party and organized the “real” judges for the Halloween costume contest. The local judges were Judge Blanchard, Judge France, and Magistrate Thornsley.

November 2022, the police department was deemed compliant with the standards as established by the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board. We thank the village voters for passing the renewal levy for police department wages.

Moving forward in 2023, the police department is looking forward to the annual Easter Egg hunt, WLPD First Responders Block Party and serving the residents of the Village of West Lafayette.

The police department’s annual report is available for review and are as follows; 4,217 calls for service, 295 reports taken, 58 traffic crashes, 334 traffic stops, 19 civil papers served, four warrants served, 14 OVI arrests, 131 misdemeanor arrests, and four felony arrests.

The West Lafayette Fire Department led by Chief Damon Gould currently has 21 members. The department responded to 202 calls for service in 2022. The call groups were as follows: Fire 44 calls, overpressure, explosion one call, rescue and emergency medical 55 calls, hazardous condition, no fire 37 calls, service call 11, good intent call  42 calls, false alarm nine calls, severe weather three calls.

Location of Calls: Village of West Lafayette  57, Lafayette Township 47, Linton Township  20, Oxford Township 33, White Eyes Township 16, and 29 Mutual Aid Calls. Firefighters volunteered 3,010 hours last year. Fire loss in 2022 was $84,450.00.

Other significate activities completed in 2022, the 2022 Pierce Enforcer was placed in service on Oct. 29. The Firefighter’s Association completed several fund-raising activities. Through these activities we purchased a Hurst Strong-Arm Rescue Tool for the new engine, a powered hose rolling tool for large diameter hose, and a small John boat for flood water rescues. The department received a grant from the Coshocton Foundation of $5,939.21 to purchase Milwaukee cordless tools for the new engine. We also received multiple other smaller donations too numerous to list.

I would like to thank Deputy Chief Hill and the Janusian Club for their continued fire prevention outreach in the Ridgewood Schools. Instructional pamphlets and donated smoke detectors can allow the residents time to escape a burning structure.

We would also like to thank the citizens for their continued support of the department through our fundraising activities and levy support. None of this would be possible without you. Thank you for helping us protect you!

Village Administrator Tammy Hicks completed her first year with the village having completed many objectives. It was a productive year overall. Highlights of completed projects are as follows:

Sewer projects completed with ARPA funds: Indian Circle/Seventh Street Rear – Cost of $35,000; 401 W. Fifth St. – removing residential sanitary sewer lateral from high school lift station – cost of $23,500.

Street Department: Leaf boxes collected- 61; salt used- 25 tons; 16 crosswalks repainted using thermoplastic paint that will last longer than latex paint – cost of $5,020; replaced sidewalks on Russell Avenue at a cost of $30,933; resurfaced two sections of alleys with asphalt behind Main Street and behind Russell Avenue, at a cost of $34,000; repaired several catch basins throughout the village, added three new French drains; two at Fifth Street and Plainfield Road, and one at Fair and Fourth streets; tree limbs and yard debris cleaned up at Waterworks Park; paving completed through the OPWC on portions of Fourth and Gay streets. The village was fortunate enough to have three summer employees through Job and Family Services, and also to hire a new permanent street department employee.

There were 15 building permits issued for the year, totaling $817.70. There were two sewer tap permits issued for the year, totaling $1,200. Issued invoices for $1,800 for mowing lawns that were in violation of the weed and grass ordinance. Began making repairs on the street garage exterior, including painting. Hired a contractor for roof repair and inside repairs. Issued 22 preliminary citations for violations of code compliance. Thirty letters for pool fence violations. The ordinance committee has decided to revisit the ordinance regarding swimming pools. Forty-one letters for smoke test violations were issued because of smoke testing. Most have been corrected. A follow-up on the remaining is planned for this year.

The overall goal for 2023 is to be better than last year, to make as many improvements throughout the village Infrastructure as possible. There are many projects planned. First, for the 2023 year, the focus will be on the two major grants and completing those projects. The Oak Street storm sewer system project has been trimmed down and will be completed in phases due to rising costs in materials. It will be going out for bid this month and awarded in February. The neighborhood revitalization grant projects are also going out for bid. The sewer outfall project is still yet to go out for bid due to unforeseen circumstances that arose last year. This  project is expected to be ready to bid at the end of June.

Major issues were discovered in 2022 and will need to be addressed in 2023. Breaches exist in the sewer infrastructure at three different locations in the village and must be repaired or replaced. Options for pipe lining are being considered, which is much more cost effective, but the village must find funds to complete this project. There is also a sanitary line on the east end of town that must be moved. Plans are underway for this project, which needs to be completed as soon as possible. Grant options are being researched for funding.

Columbia Gas is completing its main line and service line replacement on the east side of the village. Work has begun.

Lastly, several street department projects will be completed as well. Sidewalk replacement will continue this year, with the goal being to finish Russell Avenue. Alley paving will be complete on at least one section. Curb repairs also will be identified and completed. New crosswalk striping with thermoplastic paint will be added throughout the village. New street name signs and traffic signs will be installed by the street department. The street garage repair and remodel will be completed. Paving through OPWC includes portions on Kirk Street and Center Street.

A major focus will be on code compliance this year and getting properties cleaned up through communicating with residents and trying to find a sustainable solution for those who continue to violate the property codes. The goal is to address every property that has violations.

With commitment and dedication to continuous improvement, all projects will be completed.

From the sanitary sewer system Nathan Gress has obtained his Class 2 license and is now the Village of West Lafayette’s back up operator of record. The wastewater treatment plant treated 58 million gallons of raw sewage and sludge was belt pressed, and 263 wet tons of sludge was land applied in 2022. The revenue from treating waste from septic haulers in 2022 was $5,074.50.

At the wastewater treatment plant sludge digester valves were replaced. A new control panel was installed at the rotary screen. Heat trace lines around the clarifiers were fixed. An infrared thermal scan was done by Hielscher Clarke on all electrical equipment, very few deficiencies were found and corrected. New VEGA radar meters were installed to track flows into and out of the plant.

The forced main system that runs from Pearl Valley Cheese to Fresno was jetted to maintain flow. Pearl Valley Cheese’s lift station also had improvements made to its backup system.

Smoke testing was performed throughout the village of West Lafayette Sanitary System. Very few deficiencies were found and corrected to reduce the infiltration of rainwater being treated at the wastewater treatment plant.

Thank you to the village council for their efforts throughout the year. A special thank you to all those unnamed village employees for your dedication and effort for the village.

A very special thank you to the community revitalization committee headed up by council member Brittany Howell and members Jessie Tubbs, Andrea Schweitzer Smith, Kim Yoder, Matt Anderson, and Lori Cabot, ordinary citizens who stepped to the challenge, thinking outside the box and coming up with outstanding suggestions for improvement.

A thank you to the fine citizens of the Village of West Lafayette for making this a great place to live. We will continue with our efforts to be transparent with live streaming of council meetings and continue making Ohio’s online check book available on our web site.

As we end 2022 and step into 2023 the challenges remain but so does the tenacity to see it though.

Respectfully Submitted,

Stephen R. Bordenkircher


Village of West Lafayette, Ohio

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