City of Fremont
The City newsletter will cover what is happening in our community.
Police / Fire / Parks / Recreation / Water / Streets
THE CITY OF EST . 1849
FROM THE DESK OF THE MAYOR Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday and Season’s Greetings! Regardless of the salutation, I can only hope that everyone has a fun and safe holiday. It’s a spectacular time of year to spend with family and friends. Be sure to make your way downtown to join in on all of this season’s festivities. A calendar of events can be found on the city’s website at www.fremontohio.org. As we prepare to say goodbye to 2019, we also look forward to the excitement a new year brings. I love the holidays but with a new year comes renewed energy. I know that with the continued collaboration and efforts of so many people in our community, great things will happen. I hope you are as excited as I am for 2020 here in the City of Fremont!
Daniel R. Sanchez Mayor
02 / City of Fremont Newsletter / December 2019 CITY NEWSLETTER
The City of Fremont Contact Us
Follow Us www.facebook.com/fremontoh/ www.instagram.com/fremont43420/ www.twitter.com/fremont43420
Phone: 419.334.5900 Fax: 419.334.8434 Address: 323 South Front Street Fremont, Ohio 43420
WATER TREATMENT PLANT
This project is part of the continuing effort to replace and upgrade equipment at the plant. The first major upgrade to the plant...
The Street Department is in full swing of our annual leaf collection. In preparation for this time of year, we typically go through each machine....
Thanks Battery Hawk, Station
to the generosity of Crown along with Hal & Diane Fremont’s Central Fire was able to renovate...
UTILITIES BILLING DEPARTMENT
The Fremont Police Department recently updated its policy manual with legally defensible, continuously updated policies from Lexipol...
The Auditor’s Office maintains the financial records for the City which includes, but is not limited to, the central collection of all...
Available NOW! – Starting with the December statement, customers now have the ability to receive E-statements as well as pay their bill...
08-09 RECREATION DEPARTMENT
10 WATER RECLAMATION CENTER
How to Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing. When temperatures plummet, the risk of your pipes freezing and bursting skyrockets. In fact, burst pipes ...
Fremont’s Zoning Department has been working to identify structures that are a blight to neighborhoods around the city. A site visit will be...
City Tree Trimming and Removal. Dead trees reported on streets, parks, playgrounds or other public spaces will be inspected and..
End Of Construction Season Is Near! There are still several improvement projects near the stages of completion throughout Fremont...
If you pay someone to prepare your tax return, choose that preparer wisely. Taxpayers are legally responsible for what’s on their tax...
04 / City of Fremont Newsletter / December 2019
WATER TREATMENT PLANT 1113 S. Tiffin St., Fremont, OH 43420 Tel : 419.332.3581 Equipment upgrade This project is part of the continuing effort to replace and upgrade equipment at the plant. The first major upgrade to the plant was in 1995. The second upgrade in 2005 was completed to increase the treatment capacity of the plant. Parts of the plant have been in service since 1995. There are a number of parameters that are monitored to assure that the finished water is meeting all EPA regulations. One of the parameters used is turbidity. The following is a definition of turbidity from the EPA. Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness of water. It is used to indicate water quality and filtration effectiveness (such as whether disease-causing organisms are present). Higher turbidity levels are often associated with higher levels of disease-causing microorganisms such as viruses, parasites and some bacteria. These organisms can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches. Taken from the USEPA website. Turbidity is measured by an instrument called a turbidimeter. Turbidity is measured in nephelometric turbidity units (NTU). The EPA has regulated the amount of turbidity allowed in the finished water. The regulation states that:
â€œTurbidity levels of representative samples of filtered water shall be less than or equal to 0.3 NTU in at least ninety-five percent of the samples analyzed each month.â€? The Water Treatment plant has 16 filters that are constructed with 24 inches of activated carbon and 12 inches of filter sand. The activated carbon helps with taste and odor control and the removal of organic contaminants. The filters are continuously monitored for turbidity. The lower the turbidity number, the better. Filtration of the water takes place after coagulation, flocculation and sedimentation. It is the final step in water treatment before disinfection. Monitoring the turbidity of the water
leaving the filters allows us to monitor the filter performance and insures that they are performing as needed. Each filter is backwashed every 80 to 100 hours and then returned to service for another filter cycle. Normal filter turbidities at the water plant after filtration average 0.05 NTU, well below the required 0.3 NTU. It was decided to replace the older turbidimeters with new units because parts for the older units were no longer available. The older units were not being manufactured anymore. This upgrade allows for the use of new technology which will be more accurate and hopefully will be easier to maintain.
711 S. Front St., Fremont, OH 43420 Tel: 419.332.0696 The Street Department is in full swing of our annual leaf collection. In preparation for this time of year, we typically go through each machine mechanically; servicing them and repairing any worn parts. This year we had to completely rebuild the articulating arms on both of our leaf machines and had to send one back to the manufacturer to install and synchronize a new clutch. Both machines were tested and ready to go. Unfortunately, this year we got a late start due to the snowstorm that passed through our area on November 11th. As our trucks were prepared for leaf collection to begin, we quickly had to return them to operational plow trucks to get streets cleared for safe passing. Leaf season typically takes about six weeks to complete two rounds of the City; weather permitting. Crews started in the Northwest and Northeast sections of town this year and will work their way to the southernmost edge of the city before starting their second sweep.
Maire Park and a few other neighboring streets recently received a street and stop sign upgrade. Residents worked hard raising funds to purchase the new signs for the Birchard Historic Neighborhood Association initiative. The signs have a decorative black fluted pole with trim edging around the stop sign and scrolled arms that hold the street signs. There were a total of thirteen signs replaced. Additionally, all signs on Garrison Street, from Bidwell Avenue up to High Street, were also upgraded due to the recent improvement project that is currently underway. Hot mixing to patch water and sewer excavations has wrapped up for the year while crack sealing is being completed on all perimeter cuts of excavations. This helps prevent moisture from penetrating the edge of the repair throughout the winter months which is a vital step in extending the life of the asphalt.
06 / City of Fremont Newsletter / December 2019
FIRE DEPARTMENT 1145 W. State St., Fremont, OH 43420 Tel : 419.332.4131 Thanks to the generosity of Crown Battery along with Hal & Diane Hawk, Fremontâ€™s Central Fire Station was able to renovate what was once a janitorâ€™s closet into a shower facility and restroom for female employees. Originally built in 1974, Central Fire was lacking a female shower facility and is now able to not only accommodate future female firefighters, but also the Sandusky County Paramedics stationed here in providing a safe and sanitary environment to decontaminate from any hazards they have been exposed to.
POLICE DEPARTMENT 1141 W. State St., Fremont, OH 43420 Tel : 419.332.6464 The Fremont Police Department recently updated its policy manual with legally defensible, continuously updated policies from Lexipol. Fremont can feel confident that our officers are following best practice guidelines. The new policies enhance personnel accountability, reduce liability, and protect the city of Fremont. The Fremont Police Department is continuing its involvement in the city. Officers remain active in the community and have recently enjoyed the Candy with Cops trick or treating with the community at Birchard Park and the Trunk or Treat event at the Rec Center. We look forward to our continued involvement and improvement of community relations.
323 S. Front St., Fremont, OH 43420 419.334.3867
The Auditor’s Office maintains the financial records for the City which includes, but is not limited to, the central collection of all revenues, the issuing of non-payroll checks to vendors for goods and services received, the payroll function for all City employees, and maintaining the City’s general ledger and cash fund balances. Detailed financial reports are prepared for City Council monthly and are available for the public on the City’s website, www.fremontohio.org/departments/finance/. A summarized schedule of financial activity for the City’s major operating funds are listed below: CASH BALANCES REPORT – SEPTEMBER 2019 Balance
Year to Date
Year to Date
201 Municipal Income Tax
211 Public Recreation
222 Street Maintenance
510 Water Operating
570 Sewer Operating
UTILITIES BILLING DEPARTMENT 323 S. Front St., Fremont, OH 43420 Tel: 419.334.8966 Available NOW! – Starting with the December statement, customers now have the ability to receive E-statements as well as pay their bill online or over the phone. Pay By Phone – 833.440.8684 and follow prompts. E-Statements 1. Go to https://smartbillcorp.com/OA/frmLogin.aspx?ws=fremont 2. Click Sign Up 3. Enter your account number and your name EXACTLY as it appears on your statement 4. You will then be prompted to create a username and password 5. Make changes to statement delivery under the “Preferences” tab Online Bill Pay 1. Go to https://client.pointandpay.net/web/fremontutilitiesoh 2. Enter your Account Number and Amount you wish to pay (you will need to have your account number and amount you wish to pay as you will not be able to look this up) For questions, please call the Utility Billing Office during normal office hours Monday through Friday 8:30 am - 4:30 pm.
08 / City of Fremont Newsletter / December 2019
RECREATION DEPARTMENT 600 St. Joseph St., Fremont, OH 43420 Tel : 419.334.5906
E T A SK
Trunk or Trea
Trunk or Treat Title Sponsor
10 / City of Fremont Newsletter / December 2019
WATER RECLAMATION CENTER
1019 Sand Rd., Fremont, OH 43420 Tel : 419.334.3876
NEW PLANT Most people may not realize that before 1950 there was no wastewater treatment facility for the City of Fremont. Sewers were first installed in Fremont in the late 1800s and flowed directly to the Sandusky River. This was not an ideal situation and as the areaâ€™s population grew people became concerned with the health and environmental effects of this practice. In the late 1940s, two main interceptor sewers were installed that flowed to a newly constructed treatment facility designed for an average flow of 3.5 million gallons per day (MGD) which was comprised of basic treatment technologies. Advancements in treatment technologies and a growing population prompted an upgrade to the facility in 1964 that doubled the treatment capacity to 7 MGD. The next major upgrade occurred in 1988 when tertiary sand filters were added to the treatment process and the flow capacity was increased to 9.32 MGD. The most recent project was completed in 2017 and was prompted by the requirement to reduce combined sewer overflows to the Sandusky River and the
fact that many of the original structures were no longer adequate to meet the needs of the community. The current capacity of the facility is 24 MGD. The staff at the Water Reclamation Facility welcomes guests, both individuals as well as groups. If you or your organization would like a tour of the facility please call 419-334-3876 to schedule a visit. Staff at the FWRC are responsible for the operation and maintenance of the Cityâ€™s floodwall system. Recent activity of floodwall maintenance has included repair and replacement of riprap, mowing, reseeding bare areas and removing logs from in-channel structures and the friction channel.
Two new employees started at the Fremont Water Reclamation Center (FWRC) this summer, replacing employees who recently retired. The two new employees are Brian McQuistion and Travis Rodriguez. Both individuals are welcome additions to the staff at the FWRC and will be great assets to the operation of the City.
WATER / SEWER MAINTENANCE 1111 Oak Harbor Rd., Fremont, OH 43420 Tel : 419.332.3181 How to Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing When temperatures plummet, the risk of your pipes freezing and bursting skyrockets. In fact, burst pipes are one of the most common causes of property damage during frigid weather and can cause thousands in water damage—easily $5,000 or more, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety. The pipes most at risk are those in unheated interior spaces such as basements, attics, and garages. But even pipes running through cabinets or exterior walls can freeze. The good news is there are some simple things you can do to keep your water running and your house dry. Once the temperature starts dropping outside, you should take measures inside to keep your pipes warm and water running. Some of the steps experts recommend may go against your better instincts of conserving water and heat, but the extra expense is nothing compared with a hefty repair bill. Here’s what to do: • Keep garage doors closed, especially if there are water supply lines in the garage. • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing, especially if your sinks are on an exterior wall. (If you have small children, be sure to remove any harmful cleaners and household chemicals.) • Let the cold water drip from a faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe—even at a trickle—helps prevent pipes from freezing. • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature during day and night. Again, during a cold snap is not the time to set back the thermostat at night to save a few bucks on your heating bill. • If you plan to be away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F. For the long term, add insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher tem-
peratures in those areas. And to prevent drafts, seal cracks and openings around windows, doors, and at sill plates, where the house rests on its foundation. How to Thaw Frozen Pipes If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, you may well have a frozen pipe. “If you suspect the pipes are frozen, be careful when thawing them out because if the pipe has already burst, the water will come flowing out and flood your home,” says John Galeotafiore, who oversees Consumer Reports’ testing of home products and power gear. If a pipe has broken, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve, which is usually at the water meter or where the main line enters the house. If the water is still running and no pipes have burst, you can take the following steps. (Of course, if you suspect a more serious problem, call a plumber.) • Turn on the faucet. As you heat the frozen pipe and the ice plug begins to melt, you want the water to be able to flow through. Running water through the pipe, as cold as it is, will help melt ice in the pipe. • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, or a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. As tempting as it may be, do not use a blowtorch, a kerosene or propane heater, a charcoal stove, or any device with an open flame; the high heat can damage the pipes or even start a fire. • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. Check all other faucets in your home to see whether you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too. • Call a licensed plumber if you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe. References: Farrell, Mary H.J. (2019) How to Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing [Article]. https://www.consumerreports.org/home-maintenance-repairs/how-to-keep-pipes-from-freezing/
12 / City of Fremont Newsletter / December 2019
1111 Tiffin St., Fremont, OH 43420 Parks will clean up all or part of a curbTel : 419.332.5286 side (city) tree that is damaged as a reCity Tree Trimming and Removal sult of a weather-related activity or othDead trees reported on streets, parks, er causes. If a fallen branch or tree is playgrounds or other public spaces blocking pedestrian or traffic right–of– will be inspected and, if appropri- way, call and leave a message for the ate, removed. As part of the city‘s Parks department or Police Dispatch. tree removal program, work is prioritized to address the highest risk When to Report a Condition conditions first. Parks makes every • A tree branch or limb is effort to preserve and protect trees cracked, will fall, or has fallen in the public right-of-way until their down. health or condition warrants remov• A tree trunk has split. al. Parks does not remove healthy • A tree is leaning, uprooted, or trees due to infrastructure conflicts has fallen down. with sewer lines or sidewalk concrete. • A tree is alive but is in poor or declining condition. All stumps remaining from tree removal operations performed by Parks The City does not perform work are recorded for removal at a later on trees located on private properdate. We currently have a backlog of ty. You should consult with a certitrees and stumps awaiting remov- fied arborist or tree trimming seral and appreciate your patience. vice prior to performing an work and have appropriate means of disTo report a dead tree, or check the posal. The city will only remove small limbs status of your request, you can con- and brush from a private property during tact the parks department during nor- its annual scheduled curbside pick-up mal business hours Monday – Friday. which usually takes place in September.
City crews recently removed, filled and seeded twenty (22) stumps on the east side of town and thirty (30) on the west side. Upon completion of stump removal, crews will be out trimming and removing trees all across town. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year City Parks Superintendent Steve Stotz says crews worked diligently through the unusually cold temps and early snowfall to transform downtown in time for the November 29th tree lighting ceremony and Santa’s first appearance at the Holly Jolly Parade on December 6th. Crews also worked to decorate the light poles along State St. hanging lighted decorations, garland, and wreaths. The majority of the lights and decorations will remain up past New Year’s Day.
ZONING DEPARTMENT Fremont’s Zoning Department has been working to identify structures that are a blight to neighborhoods around the city. A site visit will be conducted at each property in question to determine what the areas of concern are. These structures are normally unsightly, attract criminal activity, and are a threat to public safety. Ideally, the ultimate goal of the city is to work with the various property owners to recognize that these structures are unsafe and a nuisance and to develop a plan of action, with a timeline, to restore them or tear them down. By, demolishing “blighted” structures it will make neighborhoods more attractive and could increase homeownership and encourage reinvestment. Since June, the city has worked with two different property owners who obtained compliance by tearing down the houses, ultimately improving the neighborhood. Part Seventeen – Exterior Maintenance Code, Chapter 1703.01 Purpose, states “The purpose of the Exterior Maintenance Code is to promote and protect the public health, safety, and welfare of our community by adopting minimal standards for the exterior maintenance for buildings, structures, and premises”. Chapter 1701.03 – General Requirements and Chapter 1505 – Public Nuisance explains what is required for these properties to stay in compliance and what repercussions will follow if they do not. Despite the terms of a contract with the occupant or another third party, it is ultimately the responsibly of the property owner. Prior to 2012, the city utilized Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars to remove dilapidated and vacant residential structures that once where a nuisance to the neighborhoods in the city.
323 S. Front St., Fremont, OH 43420 Tel: 419.334.8963
ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT 323 S. Front St., Fremont, OH 43420 Tel: 419.334.8963 End Of Construction Season Is Near! There are still several improvement projects near the stages of completion throughout Fremont. We understand that construction traffic has been an inconvenience and we appreciate your patience. To keep everyone safe, please be sure to follow all traffic signage and to drive slowly through construction zones. The Cedar Street Water Tower refurbishment has been completed. This project consisted of the repair and repainting of the exterior of the structure and the interior of the bowl. New mixing equipment which helps maintain water quality was also installed as part of this project. In addition to work directly on the tower, new communications equipment is being installed to help our Emergency Responders better communicate. The Garrison Street project is moving along toward completion. The blocks from Bidwell Avenue west to Park Avenue are nearing completion with some minor restoration work remaining to be done. Water and Sewer work has largely been completed up to Monroe Street. The contractor will continue working through the winter months and will continue paving in sections as long
as the weather permits with the remaining pavement being completed in the spring. Thank you for your patience as this significant project nears completion. 2019 street resurfacing project at McKinley Parkway, S. Taft, and N. Taft Streets were all repaved as part of the 2019 Street Resurfacing project. The City had recently installed a new water line along the length of these streets which made them ideal candidates for resurfacing this year. West State & Front Street intersection improvements are underway. The primary focus of this project is to improve safety and traffic flow at this busy intersection by integrating the traffic lights with railroad signals. Improved site drainage and new curb and sidewalk were also large components of this project. The new signal poles have been delayed until January due to material availability and the work will be completed when they are received. Upcoming Projects to Begin in 2020 • Haynes Street Storm Sewer Improvements • West State Street Waterline Replacement • Rawson Avenue Reconstruction Project • 2020 Street Resurfacing
14 / City of Fremont Newsletter / December 2019
CITY TAX 323 S. Front St., Fremont, OH 43420 Tel : 419.334.8969 If you pay someone to prepare your tax return, choose that preparer wisely. Taxpayers are legally responsible for what’s on their tax return even if it is prepared by someone else. So, it is important to choose carefully when hiring an individual or firm to prepare your return. Most return preparers are professional, honest and provide excellent service to their clients. Here are a few points to keep in mind when someone else prepares your return:
Ask if they offer electronic filing. Any paid preparer who prepares and files more than 10 returns for clients must file the returns electronically, unless the client opts to file a paper return. Make sure your preparer offers e-file.
Check the person’s qualifications. New regulations require all paid tax return preparers to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). In addition to making sure they have a PTIN, ask if the preparer is affiliated with a professional organization and attends continuing education classes. The IRS is also phasing in a new test requirement to make sure those who are not an enrolled agent, CPA, or attorney have met minimal competency requirements. Those subject to the test will become a Registered Tax Return Preparer once they pass it.
Provide all records and receipts needed to prepare your return. Reputable preparers will request to see your records and receipts and will ask you multiple questions to determine your total income and your qualifications for expenses, deductions and other items. Do not use a preparer who is willing to electronically file your return before you receive your Form W-2 using your last pay stub. This is against IRS e-file rules.
Check the preparer’s history. Check to see if the preparer has a questionable history with the Better Business Bureau and check for any disciplinary actions and licensure status through the state boards of accountancy for certified public accountants; the state bar associations for attorneys; and the IRS Office of Enrollment for enrolled agent. Find out about their service fees. Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of your refund or those who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers. Also, always make sure any refund due is sent to you or deposited into an account in your name. Under no circumstances should all or part of your refund be directly deposited into a preparer’s bank account.
Make sure the tax preparer is accessible. Make sure you will be able to contact the tax preparer after the return has been filed, even after the April due date, in case questions arise.
Never sign a blank return. Avoid tax preparers that ask you to sign a blank tax form. Review the entire return before signing it. Before you sign your tax return, review it and ask questions. Make sure you understand everything and are comfortable with the accuracy of the return before you sign it. Make sure the preparer signs the form and includes his or her preparer tax identification number (PTIN). A paid preparer must sign the return and include his or her PTIN as required by law. Although the preparer signs the return, you are responsible for the accuracy of every item on your return. The preparer must also give you a copy of the return.