WINTERSVILLE - Christmas cheer is alive and well throughout the village, from residents to businesses to council members.
The winners of the annual holiday lighting contest were announced at Thursday's meeting.
"Thank you to all of the residents for participating and making the village look very festive and appealing," Mayor Bob Gale said. "It is always a tough decision for us to choose these winners. But I am happy to say that this year all of the council members came back with a different winner. I was very amazed by that, and I appreciate all of the support."
WINNERS — The winners of Wintersville’s annual holiday lighting contest were announced at Thursday’s Village Council meeting. The winners include the Almonte family, the Bove family, the Maurer family, the Branigan family, the Maul family, the Walker family and the Porco family. Mayor Bob Gale presented the winners with plaques and the gift of money. — Jess Looman
The winners of the contest include the Almontes at 198 Rex Ave., mayor's choice award; the Bove family at 200 Stardust Drive, Councilman Jason Mattern's choice; Maurer family, 226 Meadowbrook, Councilman Bob Merriman's choice; Branigan family, 324 Woodridge Drive, Councilman Tom Bottorf's choice; Maul family, 317 Meadowbrook, Councilwoman Phyllis Foreman's choice; Walker family, 136 Tera Manor, Councilman Ralph Parissi's choice; and Porco family, 141 N. Avalon Drive, Councilman Robbie Martin's choice.
Council members then approved an end-of-the-year bonus for both full-time and part-time village employees.
"Full-time employees will receive a $500 bonus, while the part-time employees will receive $250," said Village Administrator Walt Ziemba. "This totals around $13,000."
"We worked long and hard looking at this budget and unfortunately we did not have enough money to offer our employees raises this year," Gale added. "Based on unforeseen money, we are thankfully able to offer these bonuses. However, we unfortunately will not be able to give raises in 2014 either. We will reconsider this at the end of next year for the 2015 budget."
Gale then announced the village offices will close at noon Tuesday and be closed Wednesday in observance of Christmas. Wednesday's sanitation will be collected on Thursday. The village offices also will be closed on Jan. 1 in observance of New Year's Day, with sanitation collected on Jan. 2.
In other matters:
Wintersville county court Judge Michael Bednar will swear in recently re-elected council members Mattern, Merriman, Martin and Parissi at noon on Dec. 31 at the municipal building.
Council unanimously approved the minutes from the Dec. 5 meeting.
Second and third reading were approved for the 2014 fiscal budget.
Approved $25 gift cards for Ziemba to present to employees at the Christmas Eve luncheon scheduled Tuesday.
Ziemba told council members the waste water treatment plant update is still under construction. Phase II is still awaiting EPA approval, and Ziemba hopes the project will go to bid after the first of the year. Village workers also are gathering data and information for Phase III of the project.
The next council meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Jan. 2 at the municipal building.