RUTLAND — Rutland Mayor Tyler M. Eblin recently addressed several matters in the village during an interview with The Daily Sentinel.
Among the topics discussed were the hiring of a new fiscal officer, clerk of council and courts and marshal, as well as police protection, village revenue and a sink hole/surface ground collapse on Main Street (State Route 124).
Following interviews conducted last month from applicants for the fiscal officer position, Eblin explained that he was recommending that council approve the appointment of Susan Baker as fiscal officer and Tonya Miller-Edwards as clerk of council and courts, splitting the previous fiscal officer/clerk position among the two.
Council approved both appointments during Monday’s meeting.
Of separating the positions, Eblin explained that Baker, who serves in the same role for a number of villages in the area including Pomeroy and Middleport, will not be conducting regular office hours in the village. She has committed to working 15 to 20 hours per month for the village, focusing fully on the fiscal administration, rather than office hours.
Baker’s background allows her to bring approximately 16 years of experience to the position, as well as knowledge of laws and regulation which will be beneficial to the village.
Miller-Edwards will work 24-30 hours per month for the village, working as both the clerk for the mayor’s office and mayor’s court, as well as council.
“My proposal involving the change of departmental structure, to also be approved by the Council, allocates the Fiscal Officer 16 service hours monthly based on a flexible schedule and allocates the Clerk of Council and Courts 24 (four week months) to 30 (five week months) service hours monthly based on a routine schedule, a 17 percent decrease in compensated service hours from the current structure,” explained Eblin of the cost savings for the village with the positions.
Additionally, Eblin is covering office hours in the village which will vary month-to-month based on his full-time employment schedule. As the mayor is not currently a paid position in the village, while the administration works to recover from a financial deficit, Eblin stated that he must rely on his full-time employment in addition to his work in the village. For the month of February, office hours are planned on Monday and Tuesday, with updated hours to be posted on the Mayor Tyler M. Eblin and Village of Rutland Facebook pages.
In addition to the approval of the fiscal officer and clerk, during Monday’s meeting former councilwoman and fiscal officer Kimberly Willford was appointed to fill a vacant seat on council.
In speaking with the Sentinel, Eblin thanked Willford for the work she has done to help the village in the past year as the fiscal officer and clerk, working to help improve the financial situation of the village.
Eblin recently completed interviews with three candidates to serve as the next Village Marshal for the Rutland Police Department. He expects to make an appointment to the position in the near future, but until that is completed police protection will be resuming with the a part-time officer.
“The Village of Rutland will resume police protection this month. The reinstatement of law enforcement services comes after a unanimous vote of the Rutland Village Council to approve service hours, for which I am extremely grateful, paving the way for community patrols,” stated Eblin following Monday’s meeting.
He added that police protection in the village is funded through the end of the year by a levy and that the village will be looking to put the levy back on the ballot in the fall for continued funding of the department.
Eblin will be working with a “Ways and Means” committee to explore revenue generating opportunities for the village, including determining the best tax options and possible grant opportunities which would best serve the village and its residents.
Eblin has also made contact with two local attorneys regarding quotes for services as the village’s solicitor to provide legal council for the village.
Regarding a current street issue in the village, Eblin is reaching out to the Ohio Department of Transportation District 10 for possible assistance with a surface ground collapse/sink hole on Main Street (State Route 124) in the village.
As the village does not have a public works department or an engineer, Eblin explained that the assistance of an agency such as ODOT would be important in fixing the concerns. As the problem area is in the village limits it is not yet known what assistance may be available.
The letter which is being send to ODOT District 10 Deputy Director Darla Miller reads in part,
It is my understanding that the repairs to the foregoing issues are the responsibility of my municipality. Unfortunately, due to budget constraints, the Village of Rutland does not currently have the equipment, manpower or adequate funds necessary to fulfill such responsibilities. Moreover, the Village of Rutland does not have employed a professional civil engineer to thoroughly evaluate the issues and/or develop a repair plan which may effectively render a long term solution.
The Village of Rutland is seeking the generous assistance and cooperation of your district to aid in professionally evaluating the issues explained ahead of the preparation of an effective repair plan; in determining the associated costs; and in performing repair work which is determined necessary. Any and all financial assistance which the State of Ohio may be able to provide would also be greatly appreciated. Without the help of your district, the repaid of the issues explained in this letter would be essentially impossible, leading to further degradation of our municipality’s infrastructure and the jeopardization of the health and safety of our valued citizens.
I am hopeful that your district may render assistance to the Rutland community that is much necessitated by these issues. Any and all assistance which your district and the State of Ohio may provide will be sincerely appreciated.
It is unknown at this time what assistance may be available to the village.
Eblin stated he plans to post the minutes and important information at the village office, the Rutland Post Office and online for easier access by village residents. He also encouraged the public to attend meetings or stop by during office hours.
Rutland Village Council meets the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.