ADA — Ada Council rang in the New Year last week with topics covering the gamut of: finances, policing, village works, committee assignments… And did you hear Ada was recently named the 79th safest municipality in the U.S.? (No small thing given there are, count ‘em: 19,522 municipalities in the entire country!)

The recent ranking came from “Safe-Wise,” which is an organization that tracks “centralized national crime and safety trends.” Police Chief Michael Harnishfeger, who is designer of the “SAFER Program” in Ada, said he was tremendously pleased with the ranking.

Ada Fiscal Officer Patty Navin reported that she was tremendously pleased with how things were aligning for fiscal 2021 in the village. In a follow up interview, she said her department had been quite thorough in going over line items with each department, doing extensive cost analysis, and such.

The village will be working with $6.9 million for 2021. And Mayor Dave Retterer noted that Ada, despite the pandemic, and so on, is still operating in the black currently.

While there was no formal legislation, during an organizational meeting, committee assignments for 2021 were voted on.

Bob Simmons will be council president for another year, and he will also chair the Personnel Committee. Terry Keiser will head up Building & Grounds. Sheila Coressel will be in charge of Streets & Alleys again. The Utilities Committee will be headed up by Linda Mason. New councilmember Noah Ristau will be in charge of the Finance Committee. Jeff Oestreich will head up the Safety Committee.

Village Administrative Assistant Angela Polachek said she had recently met with Ken Lauria. (The two are teaming up to upgrade the village tech systems.) Ms. Polachek said that while a lion’s share of this initial work was accomplished in 2020, there will be ongoing tech upgrades going forward in regard to updating both hardware and software.

She added that the tech-field is constantly changing and it’s essential for the village to stay in step with that these days. And speaking of tech-upgrades…

Ada Police Chief Michael Harnishfeger reported that the new body camera and police cruiser cameras are not only online, but he has revised the Department’s policy regarding these.

He explained the old cameras were manually activated by the officers. However, the new ones are on and recording constantly. (Officers are able to manually “bookmark” the recording when they, say, arrive at a scene – for future reference.)

What’s more, the old cameras required officers to manually download the recording at the end of a shift into a computer. With the new cameras (it was a $24,000 purchase), the cameras merely need to be put into a “docking station” and they download the recording of the shift automatically.

Council approved the policy changes in regard to the new camera dynamics.