Some of the major improvements our village saw this year included witnessing the end of the Phase X electrical distribution/recloser project. The Broad Street railroad enhancements were completed and much to the delight of residents, Monroe Street was finally resurfaced. A new electric truck, equipped with a snow plow, was purchased. Work continued to improve the aesthetics and usability of the parks with grills and picnic areas being added, and a new roof was installed on the Marsh Field shelter house. With the recent resignations of our police Captain and Sergeant, the Police Department was realigned, resulting in the new positon of Lieutenant being created and eliminating the Captain and Sergeants positions. Finally, in the last quarter of the year, work began on the Monroeville Solar Field located at the reservoir.
The safety of our employees and community continued to be forefront in our minds and decision- making. Employees finally got to use the new leaf vacuum, which was purchased through a BWC grant. This eliminated a great deal of lifting and back strain for our workers. The water division was able to purchase equipment to monitor for harmful algae bloom at the reservoir, and received a laptop computer for entering data from the monitor, again through a grant, this time from the EPA. In an effort to make our main intersection safer for emergency vehicles and our citizens, Council approved the installation of a pre-emptive system to alert/stop traffic when emergency vehicles are approaching. A weather apparatus was installed on the roof of the Administrative building and is closely monitored, as well.
Something that has not changed is our pride in our community and nation. In June, we participated in the Wall that Heals Event as it traveled through our village. It was an awesome sight to see our section of RTE 20 lined with patriotic faces excitedly waving flags! The community continued to gather and support our events like the Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs event sponsored by the Police Department, our Memorial Day parade and events in the park, and our Christmas in the Park event.
As always, the people who live and work here are our most important asset. Even in this category we saw much change. A new position of Administrative Specialist was created for the administrative offices, and the former Assistant Clerk title was changed to Administrative Assistant. These office employees have adapted well to a set of major changes of their own, as the overhaul in the State’s income tax laws was implemented for tax year 2016. Council regretfully accepted the resignations of two long-time employees who retired, and two more who moved on to other job opportunities. We also welcomed new faces to our group of qualified and talented employees. Thankfully, there will be no changes in the faces of our Council this year as all four members who were up for election retained their seats in the November election. Mayor Fries retained her position of Mayor, but as of December 30th had a change of her own and became Mayor Fries-Seip.
As we look forward to next year, our sesquicentennial year, I realize that there have been a lot of changes in the 150 years of Monroeville’s existence. Rest assured that changes will continue to happen….this is how we grow. I am excited about the upcoming year and how we will celebrate us, the Monroeville community, and continue to make Monroeville the impressive little village with the gigantic heart.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Melissa Fries-Seip is mayor of Monroeville.