Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
By Shelley Grieshop
Police force to add volunteers
  ST. HENRY - The village is increasing its police department with a new auxiliary force.
Council members on Monday night unanimously approved an ordinance establishing the volunteer auxiliary unit to counter a recent increase in burglaries and phone calls from concerned citizens. The ordinance was passed as an emergency - following a 15-minute executive session - after council members voted to waive the three-reading rule.
According to the ordinance, no more than four officers will be on the auxiliary force. Candidates must be certified graduates of the police academy and will work under the supervision of Police Chief Bob Garman.
Garman and Patrolman Dan Hartings are the only full-time officers employed by the village. Two other policemen serve as paid part-time officers.
The chief previously told council members that residents are quicker to report suspicious activity following an unsolved double homicide in rural Fort Recovery in late November. He also noted additional staffing was necessary to cover hours/days when officers take vacations or other days off.
A timeframe was not given to interview and hire auxiliary force members.
In other business, council members approved third and final reading of an ordinance setting the 2012 budget at approximately $3,196,850. Third reading of that ordinance was tabled at a January meeting when members were debating whether to hire additional police officers or establish the volunteer force.
The village's cash balance as of Jan. 31 is $1,199,778.
Council members also:
• Agreed to write a letter to Ohio House Rep. Jim Buchy, R-Greenville, and state Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina, in opposition of pending House Bill 50. The legislation reportedly makes it tougher to annex properties to municipalities.
• Welcomed Scott Bruns who spoke about his desire to be elected in March as county commissioner.
• Learned most of the outside work is complete on the new amphitheater in South Park. Railings are being ordered this week and inside painting is continuing, according to village administrator Ron Gelhaus.
Electrical work and flooring are scheduled, and plumbing is next on the list, he added.
• Learned a new franchise agreement is being drafted with Dayton Power & Light. The previous agreement was for 15 years; the new one is for five years but will include a two-year retro-active clause thereafter.
• Learned several new street banners will be purchased for the upcoming St. Patrick's Day parade on March 18 and the village's 175th anniversary celebration in July.
• Received a thank-you card from Chickasaw officials for the use of St. Henry's leaf vacuum in October. Chickasaw's vacuum was not operable.
• Learned the village's website remains under construction and should be operational within the next month. A website for the village's 175th anniversary also is in the works and will be linked to the town's website.
"I think this will be a great place for information," Gelhaus said.
• Held an executive session to discuss a possible land acquisition but took no action.
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