Council President Mr. Martin called the June 22, 2020 meeting to order at 7:37 PM. Our meeting is being conducted through ZOOM due to the COVID-19 virus.  Council members were also present in council chambers for the meeting.  The roll was called with the following members present: Mrs. Drake, Mr. Ferguson, Mr. Gant, Mr. Locke, Mrs. Miller, Ms. Riffle, and Mr. Shutts present.  Also present was Mayor Lorentz, Safety Service Director Mrs. Hoblitzell, City Auditor Miss Pittenger, City Law Director Mr. Webster, City Treasurer Mrs. Copeland and Council Clerk Mrs. Meredith.

Council President Mr. Martin asked that everyone please rise for the Prayer and remain standing for the Pledge of Allegiance.  Mayor Lorentz gave the invocation and led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Ms. Riffle made a motion to accept the minutes of June 8, 2020 meeting as presented and by-pass the reading.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.  President of Council Mr. Martin announced that minutes were accepted as presented.

Reports of City Officials:

Mayor Lorentz reported the Belpre Tree Commission and city just received their plaque and flag celebrating 24 years as Tree City U.S.A.  We also dedicated two trees in our parks for families that donated monies for such.

Our Economic Development group will resume meeting this Thursday.  The attendance however is still limited to 10 until the virus is under control.

Our Police Officers were involved in one of the biggest if not the biggest drug bust in Washington County.  Some 10.5 pounds were confiscated along with $40,000 in cash and vehicles.  As Sheriff Mincks stated we have graduated from grams to kilos very quickly.  If you see something say something.

Our Fountain just East of Howe’s Grove was victim to someone adding dye or food coloring to it.  It is quite possibly ruined or stained forever.  I asked the Chamber to use their Hugh email list offering a $500 reward for the arrest and conviction of the fool that committed this act.

Today Karen Waller, Jesse Roush, the SSD and I met with representative Jay Edwards to discuss economic development, jobs and site availability in our city.  Jay is adamant about the development opportunities in our area, job retention and expansion.

The Governor as I understand is going to make a statement later this week which will allow a modified Homecoming.  The Alumni is also going ahead with plans to hold the ice Cream Social on July 11 here in Howe’s Grove Park.

Chief Terry Williams is here tonight to offer a report to council on department activities and or needs.  Chief Williams presented his report before council with a copy of his report on file in Council Chambers.  Ms. Riffle thanked the chief and his department for everything they have done.  President of Council Mr. Martin recognized the Police Department on the drug bust.

Safety-Service Director Mrs. Hoblitzell reported that the tree the Mayor put the Band-Aid on, fell down.  It held where the Band-Aid was put, but the other trunk broke off and it had to be taken down.  It now holds petunias and sweet potato vines in its stump.

The commissioners have received approval for the installation of the 8” meter at the pit across from the Church of Christ.  Hopefully this will solve the meter reading issue.

Chemour’s filtered the tanks at the C-8 building. Levels were increasing.

The city received their 24th “Tree City Award” at the tree commission meeting on June 9th.  The wetland project was put on hold due to COVID-19.  We will begin working on it again in August.

Rumpke has started delivering trash and recycle cans to the residents and dumpsters to the businesses.  There are flyers on the back table.

I have started to work on the gas and electric aggregation.

Kathy Davis is sending car wash information to the new businesses.  Car washes cannot be held at any business that does not have the proper drainage for car washing.

The restrooms in Howes Grove Park have been reroofed and the shelter roof has been fixed.

The sewer plant has been busy cleaning.

Mrs. Drake made a motion to accept the water and sewer tap fees as requested by the Safety-Service Director.  The water fees will be raised by $100 and the sewer tap fee that is at $250 will raise to $1,000.  Ms. Riffle agreed that we need them however she feels that we are moving quickly and need time to study.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye except Ms. Riffle whom voted nay.

Mrs. Hoblitzell addressed Fee Schedule changes for garage sales from $3 to $5.  Also addressed was water turn on for home inspections and flushing line.  The fee is set for $35.  The fee for water itself is $30.  Also we are unable to open the restrooms at the park as we have no staff to clean them every hour.  If someone rents the shelter they can put a $30 deposit for key to the restroom and receive their deposit back once the key is returned.  Mrs. Drake said that the garage sale increase was amended back in 2018 but Mr. Cross never enforced it.  There are two garage sale sign forms, one on line and one at the front desk in the Administration Office.  Neither of them have been updated. Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that the forms would be updated.  Mr. Ferguson clarified the amount of time that the restrooms have to be cleaned.  He was informed it was every four hours.

City Auditor Miss Pittenger reported that company representing the Ohio Auditor of State spent 4 days in the City last week working with the Auditors office, Mayor, SSD, and police department to get our 2019 audit wrapped up.  Due to travel restrictions and our building being closed for 2 months they were not able to get here earlier in the year.  I have applied for and was approved for an extension on our filing deadline.  The deadline of June 30th has been extended to July 31, 2020.  There are a couple of items that the auditor’s found.  I laughed because every year there seems to be a couple of things they find.  However these are ways we learn and find out how to do things differently.

It seems that more and more utility customers are using Payment Service Network since we closed the building and that form of payment has continued to grow.

Council President Mr. Martin asked Miss Pittenger to forward her report to the clerk as he wasn’t sure her recorder would pick up her report.

City Law Director Mr. Webster reported that it has been a very busy time for legislation.  Not only am I the Law Director for the City of Belpre but have been part of the legal advisor for the Health District.  We have had three confirmed cases in the City of Marietta.  We have been working with the superintendents of Washington County regarding opening of school in the fall.  There are a lot of issues to work through as to abide by all health rules not only in the schools but also busing.  This is our second meeting we had where we are trying to determine health rules when schools reopen.  We are in hopes to have schools open 5 days a week.  We have discussed busing issues with seating on buses.  It has been recommended that family members sit together.  We will hold our next meeting on July 6th, 2020 for further discussion.  I will let you know at the next meeting as the plans for school.  It is our feeling that the Ohio Department of Health will basically give the Local Health Departments the go ahead to move forward.  This is why we are working so closely together.

Mrs. Miller expressed her opinion about the ZOOM meetings and how unfair it is to the citizens of Belpre when they have questions pertaining to the meetings.

City Treasurer Mrs. Copeland had no report.

Mrs. Drake made a motion to accept the fee schedule as presented by the Safety-Service Director and be adopted accordingly.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Communications and Petitions:

President of Council Mr. Martin assigned Changes to the Zoning Ordinance to Mrs. Miller at the last meeting.  Mr. Martin removed the assignment from the Rules Committee and placed the changes to the Zoning Ordinance in Planning and Zoning Committee, Mr. Locke, Chairman.

Mrs. Miller stated that she agreed with the change.  Mrs. Miller stated that we have so much spot zoning within the city and how do you determine the areas.  I feel this needs done however I think it needs to be looked at accordingly.

Report of Standing Committee: 

Mr. Ferguson Finance/ Audit Committee reported that the Finance/Audit Committee met prior to this evenings meeting at 6:30 PM via ZOOM to review the credit card purchasing usage policy for the city.  The only change that we recommend was to add the Police Chief to the ordinance and add $5,000 on page 2, I would like to hold until the changes are made and have the clerk add to the next meeting of council

Mr. Gant, Police and Fire Committee had no report.

Ms. Riffle Streets, Sidewalks and Storm Sewer had no report.  Ms. Riffle stated that she had a question for Mr. Webster regarding Ordinance #4, 2020 that was passed on April 14th, 2020 regarding A RESOLUTION ENACTED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BELPRE, WASHINGTON COUNTY, OHIO, HEREINAFTER REFERRED TO AS THE LOCAL PUBLIC AGENCY (LPA). According to Ms. Riffle the verb age is pretty much the same.  Mr. Webster stated that she was correct and it would be withdrawn from the agenda this evening.

Ms. Riffle called a committee meeting for June 29, 2020 at 7:00 PM for the purpose of discussing Junk Cars.  The meeting will be held in these chambers.

Mrs. Drake Utilities Committee reported that her committee met prior to this evenings meeting at 7PM for the purpose of discussing the Backwater Valve. Mrs. Drake called for another meeting on June 30, 2020 at 7PM for the purpose of furthering her discussion on the backwater valve and at 7:30 PM water.

Mr. Shutts, Parks and Recreation Committee had no report.

Mr. Locke asked about the tape on the bleachers at the ballpark.  Will that tape come off then also?  Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that yes it would.

Mr. Locke Planning and Zoning Committee had no report.  I would like to call a Planning and Zoning Committee meeting for July 7, 2020 at 7PM in Council Chambers to discuss possible zoning changes.

Mr. Locke Economic Development Committee had no report.

Mrs. Miller Rules Committee had no report.

Ms. Riffle asked Mrs. Miller when she was going to call a meeting regarding meal cap.  Mrs. Miller was unaware of her assignment.  President of Council Mr. Martin to talk with Mrs. Miller after the meeting.

Persons Appearing Before Council – Agenda items only.

William Cassidy 824 Belrock Avenue, Belpre, Ohio addressed council regarding sewer and water on the West Side.  What is the scope of the west side sewer system improvements and the water system improvements?  Mr. Webster stated that if you look at the emergency provision what happens is the funding and grant request must be in place by the 1st of July.  If it is an emergency it takes effect immediately and if it is not an emergency it takes effect 30 days after passage.  We found out by Mrs. Davis that these have to be in place by the 1st of July.  Mayor Lorentz told Mr. Cassidy that across from the Church of Christ when we have rain events we can handle the problems to that point but after that it gives us backup water.  We are looking at extending the lines to Beach Drive due to development.

Mr. Locke stated that it will help the new facility being built on Washington Boulevard.  According to the Mayor it will help.  It will help with the strange odor travelling on Washington Boulevard to Farson Street.

Ms. Riffle asked if we have any cost projections on the Sewer and Water System Improvements.  According to the Safety-Service Director there is none at this time.  Ms. Riffle pointed out that the residents of Beach Drive are not within the city limits of Belpre.

Mrs. Drake asked if we are accessing people if they do tie in.  According to Mrs. Hoblitzell we would be.

Mrs. Drake asked how we would be paying the loan back.  We are just getting the paperwork in place before July 1, 2020.

Mr. Ferguson explained to Mr. Cassidy that the Sewage Plant can handle all the sewage coming in but the line can’t handle all the excess sewage.

Mr. Locke asked if we get paid for what comes through that valve.  Mayor Lorentz stated that we do get paid.  Mayor Lorentz also stated that this is why he wanted another meter.

Ms. Riffle asked if the Sewer System and Water System legislation could pass for 1st reading this evening.  She was informed by the Mayor that it had to go all three readings.

Mrs. Drake told Ms. Riffle that Burgess and Niples stated that it had to be passed by July 1st, 2020.  Ms. Riffle stated that she understands that but why is it that we have been working with this for 12 years and suddenly it has to be passed in all three readings.  This bothers me.  Mayor Lorentz stated that it was sent to them mid-week.

Mr. Locke restated the need for water and sewer improvement in the west end along with paving of Washington Boulevard with all the cuts for the lines.

Mrs. Miller informed Mayor Lorentz that she was advised by an elected official that when the levy was passed out at Warren there was something to offset the cost.  I don’t know but maybe you can check into this.

Mr. Webster addressed the Cares Act with Mr. Ferguson.  Mr. Webster is to pull the Cares Act for second reading under Unfinished Business and do the two pieces of legislation that we have before us this evening.

President of Council Mr. Martin stated that he understands Ms. Riffles feeling about getting legislation and passing it on three readings.  It is not fair to council nor the citizens.

Unfinished Business:

Mr. Ferguson brought before council for third reading AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING AUTHORIZED MANPOWER FOR CALENDAR YEAR 2020.  Mr. Ferguson stated that everyone should have the attachment dated June 22, 2020.  Discussion followed.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye except for Ms. Riffle whom voted nay.

Mr. Ferguson moved this be Ordinance #6, 2020-2021 and duly passed.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye except Ms. Riffle whom voted nay.

Mr. Ferguson brought before council for second reading A RESOLUTION SUPPLEMENTING YEAR 2020 APPROPRIATIONS.  Discussion followed regarding removing $10,000 from the police department.  The bottom line should be $243,050. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.  This will lie over until the next meeting of council.

Mr. Ferguson made a motion to remove A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE CITY OF BELPRE, OHIO TO EXPEND FUNDS TO COVER COSTS OF THE CITY OF BELPRE, OHIO CONSISTENT WITH REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 5001 OF THE CARES ACT from tonight’s agenda.    A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

NEW BUSINESS: 

Ms. Riffle made a motion to remove A RESOLUTION ENACTED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BELPRE, WASHINGTON COUNTY, OHIO, HEREINAFTER REFERRED TO AS THE LOCAL PUBLIC AGENCY (LPA).  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Mr. Ferguson brought before council for first reading A RESOLUTION ADOPTING THE TAX BUDGET FOR THE YEAR 2021.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Mr. Ferguson moved to suspend the rule of council on three different days to allow for the second reading of A RESOLUTION ADOPTING THE TAX BUDGET FOR THE YEAR 2021.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Mr. Ferguson brought before council for second reading A RESOLUTION ADOPTING THE TAX BUDGET FOR THE YEAR 2021.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.  This will lie over until the next meeting of council.

Mrs. Drake brought before council for first reading A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TO APPLY FOR, ACCEPT, AND ENTER INTO A COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT FOR PLANNING OF THE WEST SIDE SEWER SYSTEM IMPROVEMENTS PROJECT BETWEEN THE CITY OF BELPRE AND THE OHIO WATER DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye except Ms. Riffle whom voted nay.

Mrs. Drake moved to suspend the rule of council on three different days to allow for the second and third readings of A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TO APPLY FOR, ACCEPT, AND ENTER INTO A COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT FOR PLANNING OF THE WEST SIDE SEWER SYSTEM IMPROVEMENTS PROJECT BETWEEN THE CITY OF BELPRE AND THE OHIO WATER DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye except Ms. Riffle whom voted nay.

Mrs. Drake brought before council for second and third readings A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TO APPLY FOR, ACCEPT, AND ENTER INTO A COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT FOR PLANNING OF THE WEST SIDE SEWER SYSTEM IMPROVEMENTS PROJECT BETWEEN THE CITY OF BELPRE AND THE OHIO WATER DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye except Ms. Riffle whom voted nay.

Mrs. Drake moved this be Resolution #5, 2020-2021 and duly passed.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye except Ms. Riffle whom voted nay.

Mrs. Drake brought before council for first reading A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TO APPLY FOR, ACCEPT, AND ENTER INTO A COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT FOR PLANNING OF THE WEST WATER SYSTEM IMPROVEMENTS PROJECT BETWEEN THE CITY OF BELPRE AND THE OHIO WATER DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye except Ms. Riffle whom voted nay.

Mrs. Drake moved to suspend the rule of council on three different days to allow for the second and third readings of A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TO APPLY FOR, ACCEPT, AND ENTER INTO A COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT FOR PLANNING OF THE WEST WATER SYSTEM IMPROVEMENTS PROJECT BETWEEN THE CITY OF BELPRE AND THE OHIO WATER DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye except Ms. Riffle whom voted nay.

Mrs. Drake brought before council for the second and third readings A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TO APPLY FOR, ACCEPT, AND ENTER INTO A COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT FOR PLANNING OF THE WEST WATER SYSTEM IMPROVEMENTS PROJECT BETWEEN THE CITY OF BELPRE AND THE OHIO WATER DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye except Ms. Riffle whom voted nay.

Mrs. Drake moved this be Resolution #6, 2020-2021 and duly passed.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye except Ms. Riffle whom voted nay.

Mr. Ferguson brought before council for first reading A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE AUDITOR OF THE CITY OF BELPRE, OHIO TO ESTABLISH A SPECIAL REVENUE FEDERAL GRANT CORONAVIRUS RELIEF FUND PURSUANT TO OHIO HOUSE BILL 481 AS AUTHORIZED UNDER OHIO REVISED CODE SECTION 5705.09.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Mr. Ferguson moved to suspend the rule of council on three different days to allow for the second and third readings of A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE AUDITOR OF THE CITY OF BELPRE, OHIO TO ESTABLISH A SPECIAL REVENUE FEDERAL GRANT CORONAVIRUS RELIEF FUND PURSUANT TO OHIO HOUSE BILL 481 AS AUTHORIZED UNDER OHIO REVISED CODE SECTION 5705.09.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Mr. Ferguson brought before council for the second and third readings A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE AUDITOR OF THE CITY OF BELPRE, OHIO TO ESTABLISH A SPECIAL REVENUE FEDERAL GRANT CORONAVIRUS RELIEF FUND PURSUANT TO OHIO HOUSE BILL 481 AS AUTHORIZED UNDER OHIO REVISED CODE SECTION 5705.09.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye

Mr. Ferguson moved this be Resolution 7, 2020-2021 and duly passed.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Mr. Ferguson brought before council for first reading A RESOLUTION AFFIRMING THAT ALL FUNDS RECEIVED FROM THE WASHINGTON COUNTY CORONAVIRUS RELIEF DISTRIBUTION FUND PURSUANT TO H.B. 481 BE EXPENDED AS DESCRIBED IN THE CARES ACT IN 42 U.S.C.601(d).  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Mr. Ferguson moved to suspend the rule of council on three different days to allow for the second and third readings of A RESOLUTION AFFIRMING THAT ALL FUNDS RECEIVED FROM THE WASHINGTON COUNTY CORONAVIRUS RELIEF DISTRIBUTION FUND PURSUANT TO H.B. 481 BE EXPENDED AS DESCRIBED IN THE CARES ACT IN 42 U.S.C.601(d).  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Mr. Ferguson brought before council for second and third readings A RESOLUTION AFFIRMING THAT ALL FUNDS RECEIVED FROM THE WASHINGTON COUNTY CORONAVIRUS RELIEF DISTRIBUTION FUND PURSUANT TO H.B. 481 BE EXPENDED AS DESCRIBED IN THE CARES ACT IN 42 U.S.C.601(d).    A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Mr. Ferguson moved this be Resolution #8, 2020-2021 and duly passed.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

PERSONS APPEARING BEFORE COUNCIL: 

Mr. William Cassidy 824 Belrock Avenue, Belpre thanked council and the Safety-Service Director for the accommodations this evening.  I would like for future meetings you find a way to make this work better.  I would also like to thank the Belpre Police Chief on the drug bust.  We certainly need to be funding our police officers for public safety.  I know we are changing trash companies and it has been hard to get information.  It is my understanding that we get one can, one recycle can and three additional bags.  Can my three additional bags go in my own cans and be picked up?  This would have been so much better had it been communicated.

 

Mayor Lorentz stated that whatever you put out last week do the same this week.  The extra bags can go in your own personal cans.

Mrs. Drake stated that the media hasn’t been very cooperative in putting out information however it can be found on the cities website.

Mr. Ferguson asked if there would be a price change on trash pick-up.  According to Mrs. Hoblitzell it would be $2.20.

President of Council Mr. Martin stated that going forward we won’t have council meetings in the chamber unless things change.

Mrs. Jackie Cassidy 824 Belrock Avenue addressed everyone that has helped with Beautify Belpre and their contributions.

Mrs. Drake asked how we will handle committee meetings.  Mr. Martin stated the same.

Mrs. Miller asked why everyone was here this evening and not on ZOOM.  Mrs. Miller stated that she was never informed.  Mrs. Miller was informed that information did go out.

Mr. Locke asked when the Senior Center will open.  Mayor Lorentz stated that it was up to the governor.

Mr. Locke asked if we have any projection on the sewer and water project.  It could be as much as a half of a million dollars.  This will be a combination of loans and grants.

Ms. Riffle addressed council about getting left out of things such as important meetings that she would like to be involved in.  I think it is wrong because we can’t answer questions that we are asked.  I feel that I am not doing the job that I was elected to do.

Jesse Wonycott 805 Main Belpre, Ohio thanked Mrs. Drake for responding to her email and Mrs. Hoblitzell for the bids.  The trash was a fiasco.  Not that it was a bad thing it could have been communicated better.  How do I get the agenda, minutes, etc?  Ms. Wonycott was informed that it is posted on the cities website.

Ms. Riffle stated that this was her point.  We are getting legislation at the last minute and we aren’t fulfilling our roles as council members.

Mayor Lorentz addressed Jay Edwards meeting.  According to the Mayor he was invited by Mr. Edwards.  Ms. Riffle asked the Mayor why he couldn’t have asked for others to attend.

Mr. Webster informed council that it was okay to vent but when was the last time they went to the Mayor and SSD to ask questions.  There is a process between the administration and council.  There is a lack of communication.  We should be able to talk to each other and work together.

ADJOURN:

Mr. Gant made a motion to adjourn at 9:36PM.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.