Council President Will Neff called the Regular Meeting of the Council of the City of Belpre, Ohio, to order at 7:30 p.m. The roll was called with the following members present: Ms. Abdella, Mr. Colvin, Mrs. Drake, Mrs. Marshall, and Mrs. Miller present.  Also present was Mayor Lorentz, Safety-Service Director Mr. Cross, City Auditor Miss Pittenger, City Law Director Mr. Webster and Clerk of Council Mrs. Meredith.  Absent from the February 13, 2017 meeting was Treasurer Mrs. Kincaid, Councilpersons Mrs. Sinnett and Mr. Turrill.

Mr. Neff asked that everyone please rise for the Prayer and remain standing for the Pledge of Allegiance. Mrs. Marshall gave the invocation.

Ms. Abdella made a motion to accept the minutes of January 23, 2017 meeting as presented and by-pass the reading.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Reports of City Officials:

Mayor Lorentz reported the Police Department, Porterfield Baptist Church, Boy Scout Troop 91, and Street Smart from Franklin County presented their drug intervention program on Tuesday evening. Our problem with drugs is growing by monumental numbers. On your desk tonight is a report given by our chief just for most of January.

Applications are in for the testing from our Civil Service Board. The test date is February 27th for, dispatch, Police officer, and laborer. The board reports that 36 people have applied for our three possible positions.

Preliminary interviews were conducted to acquire EMS coverage for our city. The committee consisting of Mrs. Sinnett, Mrs. Miller, and Ms. Abdella along with the Service Director and myself conducted these interviews.

Chief Williams and I met with the area law enforcement agencies and commissioners to talk with the group tasked with implementing Next Generation 911. This project will start this month and take some 90 days to complete.

In May our Electrical Aggregation Contract runs out with Volunteer Energy. Mr. Cross and I are meeting with the electrical groups that offer this service. So far the rates are comparable to what we started with in 2013. If possible we may renew the gas at the same time to lessen the confusion.

The Economic Development Team has contracted with O.U. to assist the city with a plan for not only Future development but also, the future. Some of you may be asked to be one of the interviewees. Topics of concern may be infrastructure, utilities and or services. If asked please carve out a few minutes to help make this exercise a success.

January 28th I did attend the senior recognition luncheon sponsored by the Lion’s Club. A very good meal was served and program. February 9th we attended the Chamber quarterly luncheon and meeting. Belpre was represented this past weekend at the United Way fundraiser, Men that Cook in Marietta. My dessert went over well, as did Mr. Webster’s chili but a Snicker Doodle won. Go Figure

March 24th, Mr. Cross and I will meet with CSX to decide if we need better (or mechanical) warning devices at Pomeroy Pike Crossing. Hopefully you all have noticed the new stop signs at all crossing that do not have a mechanical warning device.

Over the past couple weeks I have received numerous complaints about people feeding the geese in the parks and leaving food at the ball fields for stray cats. This is creating a problem with groundhogs and skunks being attracted to the leftovers. Steps are being taken to curb this activity. We are in the process of hiring a trapper to assist us with varmint removal. If you are feeding the waterfowl, you will be fined. If you are creating a nuisance or litter feeding cats, you will be fined.

During our Government Day Council meeting council asked for a report from The Sr. Center. With us tonight is Becky Hennen from the O’Neill and I will let her report on the activities at our center.

Becky Hennen reported that the attendance at the Belpre Senior Center for 2016 has risen.  The total number of clients rose from 327 in 2015 to 405 in 2016.  The number of visits went from 16, 758 in 2015 to 21, 242 in 2016.

The average lunchtime attendance for Tuesdays and Thursdays is around 60 clients.  The cost to the seniors in 2016 was $3 per meal with an increase to $4 December 1st.  The increase was necessary to help cover cost of the food and cooks.  This lunchtime provides not only a hot nutritious meal, but also with programs that are designed to keep our seniors staying “HIP”, Healthy, Independent and Productive.  The fellowship is also a big part of the seniors staying Healthy.

The Christmas Dinner was a busy time for us with 130 meals being served to the seniors.  The meals were provided by a local couple as a “thank you” to the Belpre Senior Center for all that the center provides to the seniors of the Belpre Area.

Safety-Service Director Mr. Cross presented Mr. Neff with legislation regarding the Orion Lift Station and asked that it be assigned to committee.  Mr. Cross stated that we did get the streetlights at the Belpre Bridge and other city streets fixed.  ODOT was responsible for fixing the electrical problem at the bridge.

City Auditor Miss Pittenger presented her 2016 Year End Report to Council.  Miss Pittenger presented the number of customers using PSN (Payment Service Network) a Month/Monthly Total Payments/Average Payments.  The monthly average for 2015 was 383 users and in 2016 were 816 users.  This is an increase of 46.9% since 2015.  We have 27% using online options.  People are asking everyday how they can sign up.  Miss Pittenger also gave an Income tax revenue breakdown.  In 2010 the Auditor’s Office collected $994,038.41 and in 2016 they collected $1,493,521.20.  2011 was when they aggressively began collecting past due accounts totaling $1,227,865.72.  In 2012 we began using RITA collecting a total of 1, 209,975.92 and in 2013 we started using Mayors Court for past due collections.  The total amount of revenue for 2013 was $1,318,179.56.  We will begin sending out letter to further collect late payments and for persons that just hasn’t filed their city income tax.

Miss Pittenger announced that she and Becky Hennen have been working to get a program in place for involvement from our seniors and our Elementary School children for the use of our Fit Trail at Civitan Park.

Before you this evening is the January Utility Adjustment Report that needs approval by council.  Copies appear on line and hard copies are on the back table for your review.  Ms. Abdella made a motion to accept the January Utility Report as presented.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Mr. Neff stated that he has signed the January Reconciliation Statement.

City Law Director Mr. Webster reported that he has been working the past two weeks on a lot of contracts for different groups.  Mr. Webster stated that the legislation that Mr. Cross spoke about has been budgeted and we need to advertise for bids on the improvements for the Orion Lift Station.  I have a letter ready to send to the Prosecutor’s Office and the County Commissioners in regards to the Prisoner Contract.  There is question about prisoners that have been arrested by Belpre Police Officers in pursuant to other offenses.  Questions are who should pay for these prisoners.

City Treasurer Mrs. Kincaid was absent.  No report was given in her absence.

Mr. Neff told council that Mrs. Kincaid was informed that the clerk needs copies of the January 2016 and November 2016 Cash Reports for file.

Communications and Petitions:

Mr. Neff announced that Council has received an invitation from The Rotary Club of Belpre inviting you to attend THE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION of THE INTERNATIONAL ROTARY FOUNDATION.  The key Note Speaker is Price Finley District Rotary Foundation Chair.  The event is February 21, 2017 at 6:30 in the evening at the Belpre Senior Citizens Building, 1614 Washington Boulevard, Belpre, Ohio.  Light Hors D’oeuvres and cake will be served.  You must RSVP to Shirley Brown by February 7, 2017 at 740-423-9574.

Mr. Neff announced that the ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ORDINANCE FOR CALENDAR AND FISCAL YEAR 2017 has been distributed to council.

Report of Standing Committee:

Finance Audit Committee Ms. Abdella reported that her committee met on February 1, 2017 to discuss the ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ORDINANCE FOR CALENDAR AND FISCAL YEAR 2017.  Ms. Abdella stated that this piece of legislation appears on tonight agenda for first reading.  Ms. Abdella called a Finance/Audit Committee meeting for February 27, 2017 at 7:15 PM for the purpose of reviewing a summarization of our current appropriations.

Mrs. Miller, Police and Fire Committee had no report.  However Mrs. Miller went over her committee assignments that had been assigned by the President of Council.  Mrs. Miller requested that Vaping that was assigned February 08, 2016 be removed from her list of assignments.  Mrs. Miller also stated that they would need to once again apply for a Grant for the Marc Radios.

Mr. Colvin, Streets, Sidewalk and Storm Sewer had no report.

Mrs. Marshall, Utilities Committee had no report.

Mrs. Sinnett, Parks and Recreation Committee was absent.  No report was given in her absence.

Mrs. Drake, Planning and Zoning Committee had no report.

Mrs. Drake, Economic Development Committee reported that the Economic Development Committee met January 30th with 15 in attendance.  Our State Representative Jay Edwards was present.

Bob Rauch is the chairman for the committee this year and he presided over the meeting.

Bob McCloy gave an update on the “Economic Development Strategic Plan”, and that Voinovich School at Ohio University will start conducting interviews in the near future.  They will contact the people direct to schedule appointments.  So, things are headed in the right direction to get a Plan for the City in place.

Kirk McCall gave a report on the January 3rd meeting with Washington State Community College representatives.  It is going to be most interesting to see what unfolds and to see when and where our community will see benefits of what will be offered.  Kirk will also be the representative to attend meetings and bring back pertinent information.

I, Judy Drake gave 11 questions to some of the attendees to bring back subject matters from 2016 to reflect on the status, workings, and directions of our community.

Janet Nelson from the Port Authority recorded the minutes.

Mr. Turrill, Rules Committee was absent.  No report was given in his absence.

Persons Appearing Before Council – Agenda items only.

Mark Eaton, Executive Director for the City Wide Initiative from Belpre Area Ministries spoke briefly to Council regarding the increasing drug abuse problem in our area.  Many churches have been praying and partnering with local officials to be a part of the solution.  Addiction rehabilitation programs are underway in the Mid-Ohio Valley and we are coordinating further efforts to help with treatment as well as crime reduction.

To assist the Belpre Police Department in stemming the ride of illegal drugs coming through the City, Belpre Area Ministries (BAM) has donated $1,000 toward the purchase of a K-9 Drug Detection Dog.  B.A.M. is asking churches, businesses, organizations and private citizens to make donations toward the cost of this dog for the City of Belpre.  Our goal is to raise a total of $10,000.  (With $1,000 already available we need to raise $9,000 more to accomplish our goal.)

Chief Terry Williams is appreciative and working cooperatively with our efforts and proper city officials in accordance with correct protocol.  We need to show enough support to the Belpre City Council to get their approval to initiate and maintain the program so that we can purchase the dog for the common good of the citizens of Belpre.

Pastor Eaton stated, “How we can help”.  If you are willing to make a donation toward the purchase of the Drug Detection Dog for the City of Belpre, please fill out the pledge section below and send it to the Belpre Area Ministries.  Pastor Eaton asked that you do not send any checks or cash at this time.  We are only collecting pledge information.

Unfinished Business:

Ms. Abdella brought before council for second reading A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE SAFETY SERVICE DIRECTOR TO EXECUTE AN AGREEMENT FOR MANAGEMENT OF THE BELPRE SENIOR CENTER.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.  This will lie over until the next meeting of council.

New Business:

Ms. Abdella brought before council for first reading ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ORDINANCE FOR CALENDAR AND FISCAL YEAR 2017.    Discussion followed.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.  This will lie over until the next meeting of council.

Ms. Abdella brought before council for first reading AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING AUTHORIZED MANPOWER FOR CALENDAR YEAR 2017.  Discussion followed.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.  This will lie over until the next meeting of council.

Ms. Abdella brought before council for first reading A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TO EXECUTE A CONTRACT WITH THE ATHENS CITY-COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT FOR SERVICES OF A PART TIME SANTARIAN.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.  This will lie over until the next meeting of council.

Mr. Neff asked for a motion to excuse Mrs. Sinnett and Mr. Turrill from this evenings meeting.  Both members of council called with a legitimate excuse.  Mr. Neff asked if council wanted to vote one at a time or for both of them at the same time.  Mrs. Miller made a motion to excuse Mrs. Sinnett and Mr. Turrill from this evenings meeting.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Persons Appearing Before Council: 

Mrs. Marshall announced that the Belpre Lions Club would be holding a Soup Bean and Corn Bread Dinner on Saturday February 18th, 2017.  Proceeds from the dinner will go the Belpre Police and Fire Departments.

Mr. Neff assigned the Orion Lift Station to the Finance/Audit Committee, Ms. Abdella Chairperson.

Adjourn:

Ms. Abdella made a motion to adjourn at 8:15 PM.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.