New Ripley mayor hits the ground running

Martha Jacob - Champion Media

RIPLEY, Ohio — Dallas Kratzer was elected Ripley Village Mayor on Dec. 10,and gracefully slid into the role on Jan. 1. He brings with him a background in law enforcement and leadership.

Mr. Kratzer was the sheriff of Clinton County for one full term from 1976 to 1981, but chose not to run for a second term. In the past he was a member of Ripley Village Council and decided he would like the opportunity to help make Ripley a better place for everyone and ran for the mayor’s seat.

“I am excited and proud to be mayor of Ripley,” Kratzer said. “I look forward to working with council on many ongoing projects and I campaigned that I would never give up on getting a grocery store back in this village, and that is my plan. I never say never.

“Once a store like our IGA Store closeds its doors for several years, it is really hard to bring it back. But I do plan on talking to the owner of that building as soon as I can. He is only one of a lot of people I’d like to have a one-on-one conversation with.”

Kratzer continued, “You know, I hear this, and I hear that about someone or some situation, but until I can discuss the options directly, I can’t truly say what can be done.”

Kratzer also said he has met with Ripley Police Chief Josh Miller on several occasions already and he feels he will be able to work well with Miller and they seem to have a good start.

“Having been in law enforcement in the past, I can see that officers today face different challenges than I did,” Kratzer said. “When I was a sheriff, anyone I dealt with, I pretty much had the expectation that the person was not carrying a gun. But today’s officers operate with the expectation that the person is carrying a gun.”

He then talked about his plans for the future.

“I want it known that whatever I decide to do, it will be, only for the good of Ripley. I would also like to see the majority of our key people in the village have their residence in Ripley.”

Kratzer said he plans on running council meetings a little differently than they have been run in the past. For example, he said, specific topics being discussed will not run on and on during the meetings.

“Most issues will be decided within a committee then brought to full council for a vote,” Kratzer said. “Committee chair’s will make a recommendation to council, then be opened up for discussion and a vote.

“There is a book called Ohio Village Officer’s Handbook that spells out every possible phase of running a village like our little town. I would like to see each council member with a copy.”

Kratzer said he wants the village to stick to and use the Roberts Rules of Order which it approves each year. He also wants any and all visitors to the meeting to not only sign their names, but also the reason they want to speak at the meeting, that way council won’t be blind-sided and be better prepared to deal with an issue. Each guest will have a limit of five minutes, in most cases, to present their issue to council.

He said at each meeting on the agenda will be a specific time to discuss any old news still pending from back meetings.

“There will be no more kicking the can down the road, and no decision made on old issues,” Kratzer said. He said he plans on looking seriously into the village finances and get utility costs to the place they should be for a village the size of Ripley.

“The utility rates in our village should at least break even each month and that isn’t happening,” Mayor Kratzer said. “We have a dedicated water plant supervisor in Kerry Burns and he’s doing a wonderful job. He has his ideas on what’s needed and other people have their ideas. But until this village gets a study done on exactly what needs to be done, nothing is going to change.”

According to village fiscal officer Brooke Butcher, village administrator Travis Dotson is in the process of doing his own study for the village.

Kratzer went on to say he is very concerned over the dying downtown area of the village. He said even if its one building at a time, the downtown district must be revitalized.

“That river should be our gold mine, even if it’s just seasonal,” Kratzer said. “We have four amazing museums in our village, for a village our size, that’s a really big deal. We’re currently working on building a nice dock where people can come into our village from the river, but you can’t bring visitors into a town that every other building is empty and boarded up.”

Kratzer also said he believes the village needs a full time administrator, not a part-time administrator. The village should be run like a business. He said he is excited about his first meeting set for Tuesday, Jan. 14.

Martha Jacob

Champion Media