Tuesday, June 27th, 2017
Bremenfest organizers: Celebration's future clouded
By Jeff Elking
NEW BREMEN - The annual Bremenfest community festival could soon become a thing of the past.
Those were the concerns echoed by two festival officials at the regular village council meeting on Monday.
Committee member Rob Fleming and festival treasurer Andrew Roiberg attended Monday's meeting to discuss security concerns for transporting funds collected at the booths during the three-day event. Police chief Mike Skinner assured them officers are willing to help safely move money throughout the weekend.
General discussion about the upcoming festival then prompted Roiberg to comment, "I would be shocked if Bremenfest exists in three or four years."
He cited two reasons for this bleak forecast: volunteerism and the ability to make money at the event.
Fleming agreed saying the lack of "volunteerism will sink this festival."
"We cannot get people to join the committee to run this all weekend long," he continued. "If you could get the help in there, you could make it viable much longer. You may have to change the entire footprint of the festival. You may have to make some drastic changes."
Roiberg said hiring quality ride companies is very difficult.
"Their insurance fees keep rising, which makes it cost prohibitive for them to come here. They just don't make enough," he said.
The men also said the number of committee members has dropped from 11 last year to nine this year. Two members are able to help only on a limited basis, and the festival is not attracting enough people from outside of the village.
Council members urged those interested in helping to contact a member of this years' committee.
After meeting in executive session for 30 minutes, council members also gave first reading of an ordinance to increase the pay for elected officials starting with the next election cycle. The proposal would increase the mayor's salary from $6,500 to $10,000 per year and council members' from about $2,700-$3,000 yearly to $4,500. Officials said the amount of time they put into their respective positions continues to increase.
Village administrator Chris Dicke also provided an update on the new EMS/police building now under construction.
"By July Fourth, the basement masonry walls, the floor and the steel trusses should all be in place," she said.
The building is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 1.
Dicke also reported that plans are in place to resurface several streets, including parts of Plum, East South, Cherry, Kaman Circle, Kimberly Court, Schwieterman, Boesel, Walnut and North and South Maurer Place. The work, however, is contingent upon the village's receiving an Ohio Public Works grant. Also planned is sealing work on several of the village-owned parking lots, which will be done prior to Bremenfest.
Dicke said she would follow up with reminders to residents whose properties need some general clean-up.
Council members also,
• approved after third reading an ordinance to proceed with the sidewalk, gutter and driveway approaches on South Eastmoor Drive and East Front Street.
• passed an emergency measure to accept the 2017 insurance liability for the village through Public Entity Pool in the amount of $97,604. This is an increase of $3,000 from last year's fee due to the new Public Works and Electrical department buildings. The one-year contract runs from July 1 through June 30, 2018.
• tabled third reading of a lease agreement with NKTelco for land space near the south water tower. NKTelco would pay the village a total of $6,000 for the proposed 10-year lease.
• rejected a resolution to engineer the infrastructure for possible development at the site of the current elementary/middle school. Members agreed nothing needs to be done to the area until more specific plans are in place.
• Councilmen John Schwarz reported the fire departments' 1991 pumper truck had failed a recent test. The truck was pumping water at the rate of 1,800 gallons per minute. It needs to pump 2,000 per minute. Members directed Dicke to contact repair companies to find the root cause of the issue. The department has two other trucks with proper pumping ability.