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Ortwein returns as Freistatt chairman

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Freistatt Village Board of Trustees elected Mike Ortwein as its chairman for another year at its April meeting.

Ortwein and his daughter, Rose, took the oath of office to serve a two-year term as the board reorganized. Rose Ortwein was the only official candidate. Mike Ortwein was re-elected by write-in ballot with three more votes than his daughter received.

Both were sworn in by Clerk Deborah Schoen.

As mayor, Mike Ortwein served as chairman for the meeting and extended thanks to outgoing board member Ryan Buchmeuller for his two years on the board.

Membership on the Freistatt Community Development Corporation Board also had to be determined. Under the corporation bylaws, the village board's chairman serves automatically. Trustee Delpha Bowling agreed to serve in the second slot reserved for board members, succeeding Bob Brandt. Mike Ortwein said he hoped Joyce Ness, the community representative, would agree to serve for another year.

A community clean-up day was discussed. Several board members planned to take down the Christmas sign, cut low branches around the building and get rid of brush collected on city property. "No Parking" signs will also be placed to help keep cars off sidewalks.

Schoen reported Pamela Payne, president of the Missouri League of Postmasters, had invited representatives from Congress to a reception on April 19 in Jefferson City. The meeting offered a last chance to push for saving local post offices prior to the end of the May 15 freeze on closing post offices.

"I see [Postmaster] Jane [Mattlage] busy all the time," Schoen said. "Business there is hopping. I think there is good reason to keep [the Freistatt Post Office] open, which we stated in our letters."

Board members reviewed quotes from six suppliers of fireproof office safes in looking for a more secure way to store village records. Schoen said maps of streets and the water system presented the biggest problem. Board members asked Schoen to explore storing the maps digitally so that an engineering company could reproduce them in case the originals were lost. Action was delayed until the proper sized safe could be determined.

Department reports

During March, village utilities generated $6,327.06 in water and sewer sales. Schoen reported that with the close of the first quarter in 2012, the water and sewer funds showed a positive balance, thanks to the adjustment of rates in 2011.

One new resident moving to town and the change in a rental occupant brought in two new utility deposits. In addition, new water and sewer taps for the Lawrence County Youth Fair on the Freistatt Lions' Ernte Fest grounds added another $500.

Calculations for sewer rates based on readings from the beginning of the year were nearly complete and would appear on the April billing, Schoen said. She did not anticipate major changes in revenue in 2012.

Water operator Alan Obermann reported city wells pumped 299,600 gallons in March, Water lines were flushed twice.

Wastewater operator Donald Robertson said a leak at the lift station had been fixed. The water level on the wastewater lagoon dropped to under four feet, where Robertson wanted to keep it.

Board members discussed property maintenance ordinance violations that are pending in Lawrence County Circuit Court. A trial over a case with landowner Randy Davidson is pending for June 1.

The board will next meet on May 10.

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