Bloomfield’s newly elected officials held their first council meeting Jan. 6. Shown are Councilmen Josh Husted, Jeffrie Anderson, Jake Bohi, Mayor Chris Miller, and Councilmen Don Walton and Earl Howard in the meeting room at the Bloomfield Public Library.

New mayor appoints new Annexation Committee

The Bloomfield City Council Thursday night gave newly-hired Director of Public Works Rusty Sands six months from Jan. 1 to establish residency within a 25-mile radius of Bloomfield.

The residency requirement is a stipulation of employment for the DPW to be able to properly supervise snow removal, electrical outages, and other emergencies relating to the public works department.

Sands said he is making every effort to purchase a home within the required radius and, in the meantime, he could stay at the power plant, shop, or with friends in the event of an emergency.

“I worked for the city in 2012 and I stayed here then,” he said. “I will be here during snow removal.”

 Councilman Don Walton suggested the city provide overnight housing for Sands with permission from the mayor.

Attorney Gayla Harrison suggested providing a room for Sands contingent upon Mayor Chris Miller declaring a snow emergency.

City Administrator Tomi Jo Day will be making the decision on how to handle overnight accommodations for other support people if necessary.

(See article profiling Sands on page 3A of this week’s Bloomfield Democrat.)

Councilman Don Walton asked the council to consider changing the membership of the Annexation Committee, which was determined by the previous council in December. The committee was set up to work with residents along the South Lake Fisher Road with the intent of annexing property that would allow a connection between the city and Lake Fisher, which is owned by the city. The annexation would allow the city to develop the area.

“The proper thing would be to leave the makeup of this committee to the new administration,” Walton said. “I’m not comfortable with prior city council members being on that committee.”

Mayor Pro Tem Darin Garrett appointed himself, Mayor Dan Wiegand, Councilman Scott Moore, Councilman Josh Husted, and Walton to the committee.

New Mayor Chris Miller recommended a committee consisting of himself, Walton, Husted, and Development Director Tammy Roberts in addition to one more member appointed in the coming weeks.

Speaking on behalf of residents along the South Lake Fisher Road during public comments, Jeff McClure said the residents see no need to meet with the committee. “No one is interested in meeting regarding annexation,” he said. “We moved out there for a reason. We like our lifestyle. I’ll listen, but we’re not interested in meeting.”

Day announced several new city employees during her report to the council. In addition to Sands, the city has hired Jared Frymoyer as a utility worker who will become gas certified but split his time among all utilities. Micah Elam has been hired as a laborer in the gas department.

Other workers in the utility department are Khaled Al-Khanfar, utility worker; Todd Schumaker, gas superintendent; Lane Fenter electric laborer; Kolt Hamburg, electric lineman apprentice; David Hall, electric lineman journeyman; Trent Mathews, wastewater laborer; Jeremy Walker, wastewater superintendent; Dean Bragg, water laborer; and Mark McFarland, water superintendent.

Adam Bridgman is the city’s mechanic and Lisa Hastings is the meter reader and a utilities worker.

Rob Davis is a parks and recreation employee and Taylor Sessions is the recreation director.

Office employees are Alisha Rook, accounts payable clerk; Kyle McClure and Rheanna Day, utility billing clerks; Tammy Roberts, community economic development director, and Sandy Jones, city clerk.

Day is serving as both City Administrator and finance director.

Day informed the council she has “penciled in” the first draft of the FY 2023 budget and will be working with Cindy Kendall of CKendall Consulting on finalizing the budget, which she hopes to finalize in mid-February.

Day mentioned several items she is considering during the budgeting process. One is grant funds for sidewalks on the north, west, and south sides of the square. Concrete sidewalks would cost $573,000 whereas the use of pavers would require $748,000.

“The cost of sidewalks on three sides of the square could be lowered to $129,000 with partial pavers and funds from two grants,” she said.

Day also wants to add a few blocks to the next streets project. “Rebecca Drive was pulled off the last street project, but it really needs to be done,” she said. “There are new homes coming in there.”

She also said there is one block near City Hall that needs asphalt overlay.

Day said there are 15-20 storm water intakes that need to be redone. She suggested using some of the COVID money, which will be arriving in July, and not taking this money out of the budget.

Day is also proposing the use of COVID funds to purchase a new mower, a new police car, and partially fund a brush truck for the fire department.

In other action, the council:

• heard a report from Police Chief Shawn Armstrong regarding applications for a new officer to replace an officer leaving Feb. 20.

• learned the fire department will be holding an ice rescue training session on Jan. 29 and a hazmat class on Feb. 22.

• learned from Main Street President Lexis Frymoyer that the organization now has 14 board members.

• Adam Bridgman reported city crews had the snow on the square cleared 30 minutes before the snow ordinance took effect on Jan. 8. “We did have 15 or 20 cars on the square to work around,” he said.

The meeting ended with Walton commending city workers for a “good job on snow removal.”

Mayor Miller, too, commended crews on snow removal.

He closed the meeting by saying, “I appreciate everyone who comes to meetings. I do answer my phone; call me if there are issues.”