Council President Mr. Neff called the Regular Meeting of the Council of the City of Belpre, Ohio, to order at 7:30p.m. The roll was called with the following members present: Ms. Abdella, Mr. Campbell, Mrs. Drake, Mr. Gant, Mrs. Miller, Mrs. Riffle and Mr. Shutts present. Also present was Mayor Lorentz, Safety-Service Director Mr. Cross, City Auditor Miss Pittenger, City Law Director Mr. Webster and Treasurer Mr. Smith. Absent from the January 08, 2018 meeting was Clerk of Council Mrs. Meredith.
Mr. Neff asked that everyone please rise for the Prayer and remain standing for the Pledge of Allegiance. Mr. Neff gave the invocation.
Ms. Abdella made a motion to accept the minutes of December 11, 2017 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 announced to council, on your desk tonight is a list of students that will be here during the next council meeting for government day. Please be available for the day if possible, as they will be shadowing us for most of the day. It is hard to have them all with just a few of us here during the day.
The contract for the O’Neill Center is on Mr. Webster’s desk tonight with just a minor increase for 2018.
On the 4th of January I met with the Marietta Service Director, Dr. Brocket and the Marietta Health Board to discuss the option of us contracting with them in lieu of Athens. With the state heading toward all health boards being accredited it may make sense for us to consolidate within the county. Our board meets this Friday with the powers that be from Marietta and I then can communicate back to council should there be any changes.
On Thursday I also met with a fire inspector to discuss some of the issues in our city. Some of our commercial buildings and small businesses are lacking in some areas of safety. As I review our ordinances and state requirements I may need council approval for changes.
The Civil Service Board and I have started the process of advertising for an officer for the police department. This is a lengthy process and may take two or three months to complete. We also got word an employee in the street department is planning to retire in May.
The Service Director and I have started gathering information to qualify for grants to repair and pave Rich Miller St. this year and I am also looking for funding to accomplish a water line project on the west end of town.
Council and all who hold office, you should have received notice to file your Ethics Disclosure forms. This is something you do not want to forget.
There is a Bio on your desk for your review regarding a Professional Grant Writer. Mayor Lorentz stated that he would like to discuss with council the idea of contracting with a professional grant writer as a way of getting access to more types of grant funding for city programs and projects.
Safety-Service Director Mr. Cross reported that he has been in contact with the West Virginia Department of Highways and the Ohio Department of Transportation is working together to resolve lighting issue on the free bridge. We are also looking on drafting legislation for Drag strip Road. The engineers are working on this and hopefully we will be ready sometime this month.
Miss Pittenger announced that she would present the End of Year Report in February. There will already be enough confusion at the next meeting so I will do my report the first meeting in February.
City Law Director Mr. Webster reported that he would present his Criminal Cases that have been handled by the Law Director’s Office and what is pending in Municipal Court at the next meeting of council. Also The Law Director’s Office has prepared the following pieces of legislation to be assigned by the President of Council. They are as follows: Senior Center Contract, Manpower, Part-Time Sanitarian, Pool Contract will automatically renew and the Prisoners Contract. We will try to address the issues regarding the Prisoners Contract once again. The issues are addressed with the Prosecuting Attorney every time I see him.
City Treasurer Mr. Smith had no report.
Communications and Petitions:
Mr. Neff assigned the following to the Finance/Audit committee:
- AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING AUTHORIZED MANPOWER FOR CALENDAR YEAR 2018
- A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TO EXECUTE A CONTRACT WITH THE ATHENS CITY-COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT FOR A PART-TIME SANITARIAN.
- A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE SAFETY-SERVICE DIRECTOR TO EXECUTE AN AGREEMENT FOR MANAGEMENT OF THE BELPRE SENIOR CENTER.
Mr. Neff also reminded council that they must fill out the Ohio Ethics Form by May 15th, 2018. The form can be found on-line. Also the Ohio Municipal League is offering some on line training on the Sunshine Law.
Mr. Neff stated that he would like to see all four of the newly elected officials take part in the Sunshine Law Training. Those who will be taking the training will be Mr. Campbell, Mr. Shutts, Mr. Gant and Mrs. Riffle.
Report of Standing Committee:
Ms. Abdella Finance Audit Committee reported that her committee would have committee meetings at 6 PM on January 17 and 23rd to begin discussions of permanent appropriations and other issues involved in the city’s annual budget. We will be looking at how the revenues match up with the expenses of the city. The Finance committee will also hold a meeting at 7 PM on January 22 as part of the Student Government Day when students from Belpre High School shadow the city’s department heads and city officials to discuss the Senior Center Contract. The regular meeting of council will begin at 7:30 PM.
Mrs. Miller, Police and Fire Committee stated that we have a lot to work on this upcoming year.
Mr. Neff went over the committee assignments from last term of council that still need addressed.
Mr. Campbell, Streets, Sidewalk and Storm Sewer had no report.
Mr. Gant Utilities Committee had no report.
Mr. Shutts, Parks and Recreation Committee had no report.
Mrs. Drake Planning and Zoning Committee had no report.
Mrs. Drake, Economic Development Committee had no report.
Mr. Shutts, Rules Committee had no report.
Persons Appearing Before Council – Agenda items only. None
Unfinished Business: – None
New Business – None
Persons Appearing Before Council:
Penny Green 702 Donna Drive addressed council regarding problems with decreasing water pressure over the last couple of months. It happened sudden and we don’t know what the problem is. Safety-Service Director Mr. Cross said the city is aware of the problem and is looking at ways to address it. He said at least one main line in that area was installed in the 1960’s and may need to be replaced.
Mark Eaton also addressed the water pressure issue. Pastor Easton brought pictures so that council could see the amount of pressure. He stated that we had no pressure today and stated that the problem is a major issue.
Mr. Heft a former resident of Mead Street stated that he doesn’t ever remember the water line being replaced from 1970 to 2005.
Mr. Campbell asked Mr. Cross if we have any way of notifying residents when we have a problem. According to Mr. Cross there is a means of communication.
Mr. Gant addressed the water line issue with council.
Mrs. Drake stated that the area being discussed is not in the corporation limits of Belpre.
Karen Locke 726Tuttle Street asked if the Committee Meetings is open meetings. According to Council all meetings are open.
Miss Pittenger addressed Fund #218 regarding Deposits of EMS Levy Funds. Mr. Neff assigned to Finance/Audit Committee. Ms. Abdella stated that she wanted to by-pass committee and add to the agenda of January 22, 2018.
Ms. Abdella made a motion to adjourn at 8:15PM. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.