By Margie Wuebker
NEW BREMEN -- Village councilors Tuesday night accepted bids for the Lock One rehabilitation project.
Jutte Excavating of Fort Recovery will serve as general contractor for the project that will restore the historic Miami and Erie Canal lock to its 1910 prominence.
The Mercer County firm submitted a base bid of $831,532.90 with a $10,000 alternate bid for pond lining to improve water quality.
Village Administrator Wayne York noted the base bid came in $180,000 under the engineer's estimate. He said the Fort Recovery firm has a proven track record, which includes work at and around Lock 14 in Auglaize County.
Other contractors submitting bids included Brumbaugh Construction of Arcanum, $866,597, and The Righter Company of Columbus, $1,233,748. The village has received $350,000 toward the purchase with 80 percent coming from an Ohio Department of Transportation Enhancement Grant and 20 percent local match from the New Bremen Historic Society. The village is funding the remaining costs.
York noted dredging is not part of the rehabilitation project and will cost an additional $50,000 to $55,000. He added draining of the canal in that area will provide an ideal time to remove approximately 21Ú2 feet of muck from the bottom.
In response to questions, York said fish will be moved to the pond at the Bunker Hill Industrial Park for the duration.
Parking areas and landscaping will be addressed in the spring of 2007, providing time for excavated ground to settle.
Village officials knew the bill for Ohio Bureau of Workman's Compensation rates would be coming and it finally did with a hefty $50,000 increase per year.
The rate has increased dramatically in the wake of an Oct. 1, 2003, explosion that killed two New Bremen-German Township firefighters and injured several others. The explosion occurred at Hoge Lumber in New Knoxville.
"This is an awful slow pipeline for what we knew was coming," York said. "And these new rates will be with us for two years."
Councilors approved transfers from the income tax fund to cover the increase as well as street, parks and recreation and swimming pool expenses.
Local resident Bill Woehrmyer made his annual visit to complain about the condition of several properties. Among the problems he cited were tires laying in a yard, tall weeds, long grass, junk vehicles and the use of house wrap instead of siding.
York, who also serves as property maintenance officer in the village, explained notices are sent to violators by registered mail giving them five days to cut grass and 30 days to conform to junk removal.
"This has been going on for years," Woehrmyer said. "There are two habitual offenders -- one who lives near me and the other who lives next door to my son."
New Bremen Police Chief Doug Harrod said some residents will not sign for a registered letter because they know what it contains. Others, like a property owner who resides in Columbiana County, cannot be located.
York indicated he and Harrod will be working together to identify problem locations and get those situations remedied.
In other action, councilors:
¥ Learned the village and the New Bremen Parks Department have received a bronze award in the Healthy Ohioans program. The award will be given Aug. 4 in Columbus.
¥ Changed meeting times to 7 p.m. from January through March and 6:30 p.m. for the remainder of the year.
¥ Passed a resolution opposing the proposed Tax Expenditure Legislation (TEL) amendment. York called the measure, which limits spending increases to 3.5 percent plus a population growth factor, "a wolf in sheep's clothing."
¥ Learned opening of the tennis and basketball courts has been delayed several weeks. Rain has delayed the work.
¥ Approved beer permits for the New Bremen Firemen's Picnic and the Bremenfest.