Blog

State awards $150,000 grant to Thirty-One Gifts

By SCOTT RAWDON

ThisWeek Community News – April 30, 2012

A state grant is making the trip to work safer for a Johnstown company’s employees.

State Sen. Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) announced Monday, April 23, the state had awarded a $150,000 Roadwork Development Grant to Johnstown’s Thirty-One Gifts, a direct seller of embroidered handbags and other home and gift items.

In 2009 and 2010, the company invested $5.4 million in building, infrastructure and land improvements. It also created 75 new full-time jobs at the Johnstown business park as part of an expansion project.

“I want to commend Thirty-One Gifts for choosing to invest in Johnstown and bringing new jobs to the community,” Schaffer said in a news release. “The modifications to U.S. 62 made possible by this grant will benefit Thirty-One Gifts as well as nearby businesses by allowing traffic to flow more freely, and I am happy that these dollars will be used to improve our community and local businesses.”

According to the release, the project includes adding a right-turn lane along U.S. Route 62 as well as the installation of a traffic signal at Route 62 and Commerce Drive. These improvements will allow a safer entry and exit of vehicles into the business park and decrease traffic congestion.

Thirty-One Gifts has committed to funding the balance of the roadwork improvement costs.

“This is great news,” Johnstown Village Manager Jim Lenner said.

He said the Roadwork Development Grant was a collaborative effort by Thirty-One Gifts, the village of Johnstown, ODOT and the Ohio

Department of Development to bring the infrastructure upgrade from planning to reality.

“The village is excited to continue our outstanding relationships with our local businesses to assist in any way possible to keep or create jobs in Johnstown,” he said.

“This is for a project that should’ve happened a long time ago,” said Megan Gordon, director of economic development for Thirty-One Gifts.

She said the company has been paying for a person to direct traffic at the Route 62 and Commerce Drive intersection. The grant will help to pay for an automated signal that will help all businesses in the park, Gordon said.

“That intersection is dangerous,” she said. “We didn’t feel it’s safe.”

She said Thirty-One Gifts agreed to monitor the intersection until funding was available for the traffic light and other upgrades.
Gordon said her company would like to expand operations in the Johnstown business park, but not until several infrastructure issues are addressed, beginning with the intersection.

“Right now, this is step one. It has to be safe,” she said, adding the village of Johnstown has worked diligently to help Thirty-One Gifts improve the business park.

“The village has been an amazing partner. We’ve been working on this together,” said Gordon. “We’ll get it done.”

Share

MP3 Downloads Now Available at Licking County Library

More and more libraries are offering ebooks and audiobooks for download, but the availability of digital content for music is still limited. Licking County Library now provides the Freegal music service, a portal through which library patrons can download (and keep!) up to three songs a week.

Here’s how: Go to the library’s website at www.lickingcountylibrary.info and click on the Freegal button (located on the left under the blue toolbar). On the freegal page that appears, enter your library card number with no spaces and your pin. You’re in!

Freegal currently offers tracks from the Sony record label. The MP3s work on any kind of player, including iPod, and are compatible with both PC and Mac. Songs downloaded from Freegal will remain in your computer until you choose to delete them.

Taken from the Newark Advocate – May 1, 2012

http://www.newarkadvocate.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=PluckPersona&U=1c18de3615854789a7ae4fe88f97b49d&plckPersonaPage=BlogViewPost&plckUserId=1c18de3615854789a7ae4fe88f97b49d&plckPostId=Blog%3a1c18de3615854789a7ae4fe88f97b49dPost%3ad2944e81-1357-4c61-8f33-75329026f0f0&plckController=PersonaBlog&plckScript=personaScript&plckElementId=personaDest&odyssey=mod|blogs

 

Share

Elm and Payne Street Improvement Bid Request

Sealed bids for “Elm and Payne Street Improvements” will be received by The Village of Johnstown, 599 S. Main St., Johnstown, Ohio, 43031, until 11:00 a.m. (local time),  May 23, 2012, and at that time publicly opened and read.

The work consists of pavement resurfacing, spot full-depth pavement replacement, and installation of new storm sewer.  The Engineer’s Estimate for this work is $120,000.  The Project is to be completed within 60 calendar days from the date of award of the contract.

Contract documents may be examined at the Village, or at the office of the consulting engineer, W.E. Stilson Consulting Group,355 East Campus View Blvd., Suite 250,Columbus,Ohio43235, or at Central Ohio Builders Exchange,1175 Dublin Road,Columbus,Ohio, or at the Columbus Dodge Reports,1175 Dublin Road,Columbus,Ohio.

Contract documents may be obtained from W.E. Stilson Consulting Group,355 East Campus View Blvd., Suite 250(Phone 614-847-4670).  Orders for Contract Documents which are to be delivered by parcel post or other carriers will not be accepted after five days prior to the bid date.

Each set of Contract Documents shall consist of Project specifications and plans.

There is a nonrefundable charge of $40.00 for each set of Contract Documents.

Each bidder is required to furnish with its proposal a Bid Guaranty in accordance with Section 153.54 of the Ohio Revised Code.  Bid security furnished in Bond form shall be issued by a Surety Company or Corporation licensed in the State of Ohio to provide said surety.

Each proposal must contain the full name of the party or parties submitting the proposal and all persons interested therein.  Each bidder must submit evidence of its experiences on projects of similar size and complexity.

It is the Bidders responsibility to comply with the prevailing wage rates and threshold amounts on Public Improvements inLicking County,Ohioas determined by the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services.

The Village reserves the right to accept or reject any or all bids, to waive any informalities in the bidding; and to enter into a contract with the bidder whom, in their opinion, offers the lowest responsive and responsible bid.

Each bidder must insure that all employees and applicants for employment are not discriminated against because of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

Share

Johnstown will welcome circus to town May 13

ThisWeek Community Newspapers – February 17, 2012

By SCOTT RAWDON 

Johnstown Village Council member Chris Speck confirmed for The Independent Feb. 16 that the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus will perform for Johnstown May 13, with shows at 2:30 and 4 p.m.

“I’m pretty excited about all this,” he said. “It’s been a long time since the circus has been in town, if ever.”

He said tickets will go on sale about a month prior to the show and will be available at most Johnstown businesses. They will cost $6 for children, $9 for adults and he believes that children under 2 will be admitted for free.

There will be a tent-raising at 10 a.m. the day of the show.

Downtown Johnstown Inc., is sponsoring the event, Speck said.

“They came to us,” he said. Speck said the Hugo, Okla.-based circus contacted Downtown Johnstown, looking for an organization to bring it to town. A Culpepper & Merriweather spokesperson said the circus will send an “advance clown” to Johnstown a week or two ahead of May 13 just to make sure everyone remembers the circus is coming.

According to the Culpepper & Merriweather website, the circus features all sorts of animal acts and performers, including performing camels, a high wire act, a dog and pony revue, several trapeze and unicycle performers, and, of course, clowns.

The Culpepper & Merriweather Circus had very humble beginnings, the website relates.

In 1985, Robert Johnson, Jim Hebert and Curtis Cainan started a small show. The three alternated announcing, performing and selling concessions during each performance for the first year. They didn’t sell tickets, instead relying on donations received from passing a hat.

Oblivious to everyone in the business who told them they could never succeed, they were able to gradually add employees, equipment and animals over the years, the site states.

The Culpepper & Merriweather Circus was based in Queen Creek, Ariz., until 2001, when new ownership moved its base of operations to Hugo, deep in the Red River Valley. Hugo is known as “Circus City, USA” for a good reason. The Culpepper & Merriweather Circus is the 20th circus to call Hugo home since 1941, and the fourth active circus currently operating from the seat of Choctaw County.

Speck pointed out that Downtown Johnstown Inc., with more than 50 members, offers other entertainment to Johnstown as well. The organization sponsors the fourth annual Cupola Classic Cruise-in Sept. 9, which Speck anticipates to feature roughly 200 cars. The organization also sponsors the “Third Saturday” concert series, a farmers market, an outdoor ice skating rink, and a Labor Day flea market, among other activities.

“We’re the group to get it done, to make Johnstown all that it can be,” Speck said. “We’re always looking for more events, as well.”

He added that Downtown Johnstown is also looking for new members and ideas for activities. The group meets the first Tuesday of each month.

“It’s a good time,” he said.

Speck said Downtown Johnstown’s goal is make the village a destination point.

“You don’t have to go into Columbus to have a good time,” he said.

Share

Sign Up for Village News

If you would like to receive information regarding Village activities or news updates, please sign up via Constant Contact. http://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/d.jsp?llr=65qkjijab&p=oi&m=1109453521885

Share

Open Position – Finance Director

The Village of Johnstown is accepting applications for a full time finance director. Job duties include but are not limited to the following: Advanced administrative and managerial work directing fiscal activities for the Village. Work involves overseeing collection, custody, and disbursement of public funds, payroll, and income tax; maintaining municipal accounting records; managing and providing advice on investments; assisting in all bond issues; and participating in budget development.

Candidates must possess a bachelor’s degree in accounting, public finance, business administration or related field and five to ten years of progressively responsible experience in finance, accounting and auditing including supervisory experience; or any equivalent combination of training and experience. A Certified Public Accountant is preferred.

This is a day-shift position working Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm. Salary depends on qualifications. Benefits include health insurance, life insurance, paid vacation, paid sick leave, and PERS retirement plan.

Applications including resume and cover letter will be accepted until noon on April 20, 2012. Apply in person at the Village of Johnstown Administration Office located at 599 South Main Street, Johnstown, Ohio 43031.

For additional information or a copy of the complete job description contact Jim Lenner, Village Manager at (740) 967- 3177 or jlenner@villageofjohnstown.org.

The Village of Johnstown is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Internal and External Notice Will Run Concurrently until April 20th, 2012

Share

Lenner: Educated workforce drives economic development

By JENNA GANT
ThisWeek Community NewspapersFriday March 23, 2012 5:52 PM

Two Johnstown village officials who attended an Economics-Education Summit in Columbus earlier in the month presented their findings to village council on March 20.

David Keck, president of Johnstown Village Council, and Jim Lenner, village manager, talked about how they learned how education can drive economic development in the area.

“The big thing I took from it was having a valuable workforce,” Lenner said. “Companies aren’t going to want to come into a community if there are no workers to staff their needs.”

To obtain a viable workforce, Lenner said, local schools have to provide the necessary training for those potential employers.

“A lot of times it’s companies saying ‘We’re coming. We need a program in association with a vocational school or secondary school to get our workers trained within six months,’” Lenner said.

“A lot of communities work with organizations such as C-TEC (Career and Technology Education Centers) or Ohio State University-Newark, or the vocational schools to build programs that funnel trained workers into that company,” he said.

Keck said there are 9,600 open jobs in Ohio right now, but residents across the state are not trained for the positions that are available.

He said the village is currently putting together a commercial packet for businesses looking to build in Johnstown.

“We want to make sure we include some things in there that represent some of the points that were brought up, like about logistics and about training and about the education opportunities near here,” Keck said.

“We have a good public schools system and on top of that we’re within easy driving range of dozens of schools that do all sorts of things,” he said.

Keck said it’s all about promotion — which is why he said the commercial packet is a great first step.

“If we promote the schools that are near us, then that means they will be more likely to provide the kinds of things that the community needs to draw these kinds of businesses in, and that just helps the residents and helps the village financially,” he said.

One problem, Lenner said, is with businesses that require drug testing. He said a lot of potential employees fail the test.

“The career tech schools are saying kids will progress through something until they need a drug test and they skip to another major if they don’t have to have a drug test,” Lenner said. “They said it’s a huge problem in education and economic development.”

Both Lenner and Keck agree that with Ohio being with in 600 miles of 61 percent of the manufacturing in the United States and Canada, Johnstown needs to be ready to provide opportunities to help the local community thrive during difficult economic times.

Share

Chamber hires economic development director

by Seth Roy

Newark Advocate

NEWARK — Licking County’s diverse population and business climate were key factors in Dan Evers applying for the Chamber of Commerce’s new economic development director position.

“From a business development perspective, there are a myriad of aspects that are favorable,” Evers said. “The beauty of the diversity — the needs of one community are different from another’s.”

Monday, Chamber President Cheri Hottinger announced that Evers had been hired for the new role, which will play an integral part in the public-private partnership of the Grow Licking County Community Improvement Corporation.

She cited his previous experience working in economic development at the township, city and county level as making Evers uniquely qualified for the position.

“We’re just really excited to have Dan,” Hottinger said. “We’re not starting from square one. He is hungry for the job.”

Grow Licking County is a partnership between the county, Hebron, Heath, Pataskala, Johnstown, New Albany, the Chamber, the Port Authority and a variety of businesses.

Evers said the collaboration between the various governments and businesses is exciting and means the focus of economic development needs to be in celebrating the different areas of the county.

Licking County can attract both big and small companies.

“We’re not just hunting elephants,” Evers said, “because of the diversity of the community, because of the assets that are in place and how they orient.”

The governments involved have pledged or paid $10,000 each, and the CIC’s budget includes money from various private businesses.

Evers officially is hired by the Chamber of Commerce, and will fulfill the chamber’s role to provide economic development services with the CIC, Hottinger said.

Before being hired by the Chamber, Evers was a finalist for the village administrator position in Hebron. Mayor Clifford Mason was impressed with his preparedness for earlier interviews.

“He knew a lot about Hebron, but he had done his homework about Licking County, as well,” Mason said.

Evers’ hiring means Grow Licking County can start moving forward in other areas. The group met for the second time Monday, and approved finance and marketing plans.

Next, the group needs to finalize its operational agreement.

The next Grow Licking County meeting will be at 9 a.m. on April 16 at Mid-Ohio Development’s Newark office, 33 W. Main St.

Seth Roy can be reached at (740) 328-8547 orsroy@newarkadvocate.com.

Share

Johnstown upgrading website to entice more businesses

By JENNA GANT
ThisWeek Community Newspapers

The village of Johnstown is looking to overhaul its website as part of an attempt to lure more businesses to the village.

Village Manager Jim Lenner said he recently talked to a developer at On-Target Design to discuss creating a new website.

Lenner said the revamped website would attract more businesses looking to find a new home.

“When companies come looking at properties in the village or any municipality, the first thing they do is look at the website,” Lenner said. “They want to see the appearance of the village, and that’s the first time they have a view of what the village is all about.

“So I think having a clean, crisp website is important for the image of the village when people or companies are looking to come here,” he said.

The new website would incorporate more photos and use social media to connect with companies and residents, Lenner said. Village employees are in the process of revising the content, he said, while the developer drafts the website design.

Lenner said the village’s council minutes, agendas, and other matters of official record are currently all paper documents.

Administrative assistant Lisa Rawson is digitizing all of the paperwork from 2008 to the present to put on the new website, he said.

Lenner said interested businesses would easily be able to find information about Johnstown, and that’s important for when businesses look for a new location.

“If a company is looking at the industrial park, they will count you out as soon as they can,” Lenner said. “If you give them all the information they need on your website, you’ll be in the running as the site selection process progresses.”

Lenner said he would like to see more companies come to Johnstown, specifically to the Industrial Park.

On Nov. 15, village council approved $25,000 for planning and engineering costs for a second entrance at the park. On Jan. 17, council approved a resolution for the village to enter into an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The agreement means ODOT will add a new traffic light at the intersection of U.S. Route 62 and Commerce Boulevard and widen both streets, adding a right-turn lane to improve traffic flow.

ODOT also plans to add a traffic light at the intersection of U.S. 62 and Sportsman Club Road, as well as put in turning lanes at the intersection and realign the two roads.

With this construction, ODOT is requesting that the village construct a roadway connecting Phillips Drive to Sportsman Club Road.

Reconstructing the Industrial Park and the website, Lenner said, would be the start of bringing in more companies to Johnstown.

Once Lenner finalizes the content within the next two weeks, he believes it will take about three months for prospective businesses and residents to see the final product.

Share

2012 State of Village Address

Good evening everyone. Tonight is a very special occasion. Tonight marks the first State of the Village address in which you will hear of our accomplishments in 2011 and what we have set out to do in 2012 and beyond.

As our residents already know, the Village of Johnstown is a great place to call home. We enjoy the proximity of the State capital but are still considered a rural community. Our geographic location will face great pressure from the Columbus region over the next ten years. As evidence, from 2000 to 2010, the Village grew from 3,440 to 4,632 or 25%. City status is on the horizon for our Village in 2020. We must start preparing now for services that will be offered in the future.

We all know the financial impacts families are dealing with. Industry is shrinking, jobs are being lost. However, our Village is fortunate to have companies such as Tech International which has operated in Johnstown for 73 years, Atrium, Star Pizza Box, Mohawk Carpet and Thirty-One Gifts as well as the Kroger Company. Compared to the Columbus region, our Village has one of the lowest income tax rates at 1%. Given the economic climate so many other municipalities are facing, our Village has been relatively shielded from the devastating impacts.

2011 revenues were up slightly compared to 2010 even with the loss in the estate tax and the reduction in the Local Government fund distribution from the State. Village Council passed a conservative budget for 2012 as we continue to monitor State funding sources and look for other revenue sources as well as possible operational expense reductions.

The Village overall debt was reduced in 2011 by more than 900 K in 2011 and by the end of 2012 total debt will be approx. 6.5 million.   As the debt load is reduced the money available for Capital Improvements should increase.

Our Finance department lead the refinancing of 1.3 million of water debt that saved $160,000 in interest payments and did not extend the life of the loan nor increase our payments.

In 2012, the Village staff has put together a projected 5 year budget which will be utilized moving forward to determine the revenue needs and/or possible cuts in service if necessary for the Village to maintain a positive General Fund balance

We continue to look for additional funding sources and the Police Department recently formed a non-profit organization to help with obtaining grants for equipment and supplies for the Police Department.

In 2011, as in every year, the safety of our residents was critical. Our Police Officers patrolled over 160,000 miles through our Village. They conducted over 4,500 investigative reports, made 2,000 traffic stops and made 194 misdemeanor arrests. We continue to use continuing education to keep our officers up to date on tactics and information to assist in their duties. In 2011, our officers had 705 hours of training in addition to the over 800 hours in training for our K-9 and officer. For 2012 the safety of our citizens comprises 46.3% of our General Fund operating budget.

To better prepare for our future, the Planning and Zoning Commission initiated many zoning text amendments. Our zoning ordinance is used as a tool to guide where development occurs and what type of development is appropriate. Zoning amendments that were approved in 2011 included new landscaping standards which can be seen at the Huntington Bank, signage, design review criteria (which is exhibited in the new Huntington Bank and remodeled Lash Chevrolet), litter and weed cleanup, and fencing.

The Planning & Zoning Commission also initiated a comprehensive review of the 2005 Strategic Plan. Updating this plan will help guide development in the next 5-20 years. The last large project in 2011 was the adoption of development regulations. These development regulations list the criteria in which developers must adhere to ensure quality developments for our residents.

One setback in 2011 was the denial of the Village’s application for $400,000 in façade renovation money from the State of Ohio Department of Development. Many people worked diligently in creating a great application that unfortunately was not approved.

Last year was very busy for the Service Department which includes the water plant, wastewater plan and street crews. Many needed projects were completed; some of which we have seen an immediate positive financial impact. The Village worked with the Granville Milling Company to install a new, 12” waterline out US 62 an additional 1,200 feet to service their new facility.

We replaced an aged 8” water line north on SR 37 along the Leafy Dell Condo’s which increased water pressure to seven homes and fire protection to that area of the Village.

We rebuilt three water filters at the water plant in 2011 and will rebuild another 2 this year. We inspected our water tower and painted the interior as general maintenance of the tower. The Service Department also purchased two new generators for our sanitary lift stations.

You may have noticed the streets around the Village are cleaner thanks to a new street sweeping program implemented in 2011. We have received many compliments and will expand the program in 2012. We also implemented a tree trimming program to prevent over grown trees in the neighborhoods such as Concord Crossing and Leafy Dell. This helps to keep our equipment in proper working order.

Knowing the Ohio Department of Transportation was upgrading our US62/SR37 intersection, the Village abandoned our waterline on S. Main Street and moved it to the rear of the buildings. Known as the Post Office Alley project, we installed new water, sewer and storm sewer lines as well as new asphalt. This project also upgraded the waterline that feeds the west side of S. Main Street. The cooperation of the property owners to donate the needed right-of-way made this project happen; the Village would not have been able to purchase the property.

We installed a rotary fan press at the wastewater facility significantly reducing the number of man hours needed to dispose of the end product. The process which used to take two weeks has been cut to three days significantly reducing fuel, labor and material costs to the Village. Our crews now have more time to work on other projects thanks to the purchase of the press.

Over the next three years the Village is replacing all regulatory signs to meet the new ODOT regulation. There will be a phased approached over the next three years to meet the mandate set by the State. In an effort to reduce the price, we will be refacing non-essential signs while replacing the others.

The administration was also busy in 2011. In 2011 the Village was notified that funding for the Safe Routes to School money was on the verge of being pulled for various reasons. We were able to work with ODOT to ensure the $250,000 in construction dollars would remain in the Village. I am happy to report construction of our new sidewalks should start this summer.

We also worked with ODOT on a new signal at the US62 and Commerce Boulevard intersection. At no cost to the Village, a new signal and deceleration lanes should be operational by October of this year. After completion, traffic into and out of the business park will operate much safer.

The Village is also investigating the completion of Commerce Boulevard to Sportsmans Club Road. This $2.5 million dollar project will include a new road, water and sewer lines and open up an additional 180 acres to development. In fact, Village Council will discuss this very topic tonight after this address.

Earlier this year, the Village presented a proposal to the Village of Alexandria to supply water and sewer services. Since our water plant operates at less than 40%, we would have found more customers to purchase water. Unfortunately, the Village of Alexandria found it to be in their best interest to enter into an agreement with Southwest Licking Community Water and Sewer District for this service. In 2012 Johnstown will investigate extending lines to SR 310 on SR37 and along US 62 towards Duncan Plains. A collaborative effort between the Village, Monroe, Liberty, St. Albans and Jersey Townships, Licking County and property owners will lead to a prosperous northwest Licking County Region.

Our downtown infrastructure will get a facelift in 2012 with an ODOT grant for new sidewalks, pedestrian lighting and benches. Securing the two phase grant money in 2010 and 2011, the administration anticipates construction this summer. To save money, we have removed the trees along S. Main Street to the delight of many business owners.

The administration also started an overhaul of the Village website. Created in 2002, the current website lacks the technology needed to present a crisp, professional look that businesses often use to judge the viability of locating to a municipality. We also lack the ability to post agendas, public notices, minutes and other important documents for the residents. The new website will incorporate social media as another tool to connect with our residents and businesses.

Timing is everything and the Village reaped the benefits on a land purchase in 2011. The Village purchased 8 acres that adjoined the wastewater facility at Sheriff’s auction for only the amount of back taxes owned. Although there is no immediate plans for this property on Mink Street, securing this piece of ground at an extremely cheap price will allow options in the future.

The Village has joined other municipalities, Licking County, Port Authority and the Chamber of Commerce in creating a Community Improvement Corporation. This CIC will be the front door of economic development in the County and Johnstown. The Village will have a dedicated economic development professional that will market the County as a whole and sites specific to Johnstown.

With the outstanding direction of Village Council, 2012 will be just as exciting as 2011. The Village will continue to plan for public improvements, investigate financial scenarios, and provide excellent service delivery. We will continue to monitor changes at the State and Federal level as it would impact our residents. We will continue to be responsible with your tax dollars and ensure they are spent wisely and in the best interest of the entire Village. As residents of our wonderful Village, you should be proud of the team of administration, water and sewer plant operators, police officers, and street crews. Gone are the days of one person-one job. We train our officers to handle dispatching, our street crew to work at the wastewater plant, and our admin staff to handle water and sewer inquiries. In 2012 you can expect a high level of service from the Village employees. We will continue to move forward with a conservative financial approach without sacrificing essential services.

I am proud of our accomplishments in 2011 and look forward to the opportunities in 2012. Our staff has been very busy. I encourage our residents and business owners to become involved in the Village. I believe government should be good stewards of tax dollars and be responsive to the people. I hope you found the information contained in this address as helpful and insightful. On behalf of our Village Council and Staff, we appreciate your time tonight. 2012 will be an exciting time for the Village of Johnstown. Together we can all make sure Johnstown continues to be a desirable place to raise children, conduct business, and a place everyone enjoys. Thank you.

Share