Council President Mr. Martin called the September 28, 2020 meeting to order at 7:40 PM. If you aren’t a member of council please mute your computer so it will cut down the background noise. Due to COVID-19 our council meetings are being conducted through ZOOM. 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 Law Director Mr. Webster, and Clerk of Council Mrs. Meredith. Absent from the September 28th, 2020 meeting was City Auditor Miss Pittenger and City Treasurer Mrs. Copeland.
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.
Mr. Ferguson made a motion to accept the minutes of September 14, 2020 as presented and by-pass the reading. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye. Motion carried.
Reports of City Officials:
Mayor Lorentz stated that hopefully all of Council noticed the new state flags at Civitan Park. The Belpre Rotary purchased them again this year for our city.
The Cross-Country meet went well at Civitan. Two of our Belpre boys placed one and two. There is one more event coming later next month on the same course.
The interviews are complete and Ms. Tina Fuller will be our newest dispatcher. Tina starts Monday for training.
Our storm water training for city employees and administration is complete.
The bid opening for Drag Strip road was Tuesday and in our favor. Hopefully with the cushion between our grant estimate and completion our match should be less than expected.
The rollout for our economic development study was cancelled due to our presenter being exposed to the virus. We have rescheduled for October 9th same time same place.
Trick or Treat will be on October 31st from 6 to 7:30. The parameters for conduct are on our Facebook page and the website. The one thing to remember is social distancing and avoid congregating for parties etc.
Thanks to Mr. Martin and Mr. Gant for attending the awards presentation to our police officers. You understand more of what they do when you hear the reason for some of the certificates and ribbons for service. Belpre is blessed with good officers of the highest moral character.
Congratulations to the Belpre Varsity Golf Team on their First Place Finish in the Hocking Golf Championship Match. First Team All TVC Connor Copeland, Jacob Smeeks, Jacob Ferrier and Matt Deem. Connor is the son of our treasurer Linda Copeland.
The Chamber of Commerce is assisting Ohio Health with bringing a mobile Mammogram unit to Belpre. As of now it will be at the Sr. Center Parking lot. When a definite time is set it will be on our website as well as Facebook. I believe this to be a free service.
Safety-Service Director Mrs. Hoblitzell reported the Annual Soil & Water training was given on September 15th & September 21st to employees.
Training for the dispatch software finished up on September 17
Tim Gant and I finished up the EMS specs for bidding. I am currently waiting for Tim to give me his final blessing.
Mike Davis with Burgess and Niple, Denzil and I were asked to meet the plant manager at Orion on the 17th. They are requesting more water and sewer and want a cost to do so. They are looking into paying for the upgrades themselves.
The bid opening for Drag Strip was this past Tuesday. Bob Lane’s Welding got the bid. The road will be ready to be driven on by Thanksgiving. The bid came in about $20,000 less than was estimated.
I am starting to work on the budget for next year. Should be putting numbers together starting Thursday. I am requesting that Mr. Ferguson start scheduling finance committee meetings so that council is ready to pass the budget by the first meeting in December. I do not wish to pass a temporary budget this year. The mayor, the auditor and I will be working hard to make this happen.
City Auditor Miss Pittenger was absent. No report was given in her absence.
City Law Director had no report.
City Treasurer Mrs. Copeland had no report.
Communications and Petitions:
Mr. Martin assigned to Mrs. Miller’s Rules committee 121.01 Rules of Council regarding regular meetings.
Report of Standing Committee:
Mr. Ferguson Finance/Audit Committee announced that he had also attended the Police Award Ceremony. On October 12th, 2020 at 6:30 PM I would like to call a committee meeting for the purpose of reviewing and starting on the 2021 Budget process. I will attend a meeting regarding the 3rd Quarter Projections Thursday morning. Also I would like to discuss capping the cost of employee expenses.
Mr. Gant, Police and Fire Committee reported that on September 21, 2020 I had a meeting with Connie Hoblitzell on the final draft of the bids for the ambulance service for the City of Belpre.
On Sept. 22, 2020 went to an awards banquet for the police officers that has gone above and beyond the call of duty. We can be very proud of the great job our officers do.
I had a meeting with Sgt. Mike Stump about the Cities nuisance ordinances. I showed him one that I had finished to give to Mr. Webster and he showed me the one that he had researched. There is a lot of information already in our city ordinances but also of other cities that we will be going over.
I talked to Miss. Pittenger about the impound lot , we have already collected 4,667.50 fees 667.50 more than what we had expected and this has been a difficult year for our police officers with COVID and all the restrictions , so again thanks to our police dept. for doing a great job and the years not over .
Ms. Riffle Streets, Sidewalks and Storm Sewer had no report. Ms. Riffle stated that she would like to carry over junk cars to 2021. Mrs. Hoblitzell informed Ms. Riffle that they are looking at adding monitor’s to Council Chambers so that 10 members of council can meet in session. Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that the administration will have to sit in the Conference Room for the meetings in order to abide with the State.
Mrs. Drake Utilities Committee reported that two public hearings were held on September 28, 2020, with one at 4:30 p.m. and one at 6:30 p.m. for discussion of the SOPEC (Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council) electricity aggregation program.
The 4:30 p.m. meeting had five people in attendance: Mayor Lorentz, Luke Sulfridge the representative for the company and Safety Service Director Connie Hoblitzell, and two local residents.
The 6:30 p.m. meeting had three in attendance: Mayor Lorentz, Luke Sulfridge, and councilperson Judy Drake.
This information was carried forward to the council meeting at 7:30 p.m.
At this time I would like to make a motion to add to tonight’s agenda for first reading AN ORDINANCE APPROVING THE PLAN OF OPERATION AND GOVERNANCE FOR THE SOPEC ELECTRICITY AGGREGATION PROGRAM, FOR THE PURPOSE OF JOINTLY ESTABLISHING AND IMPLEMENTING AN ELECTRICITY AGGREGATION PROGRAM AND DECLARING AND EMERGENCY and AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE CITY TO ENTER INTO THE SOUTH EAST OHIO PUBLIC ENERGY COUNCIL (“SOPEC”) AND THE EXECUTION AND DELIVERY OF THE AGREEMENT ESTABLISHING SOPEC AND APPROVING THE BY LAWS OF SOPEC, AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY. After much discussion it was decided to withdraw the motion on the two pieces of legislation in order for council to have the time to review the legislation. Mrs. Drake called a Special Utilities Committee meeting for Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 3PM to move forward with the voting of the two pieces of legislation.
Mr. Shutts, Parks and Recreation Committee announced that he was not in favor of the involvement emphasizing the opposition of racism at high school athletic events.
Mr. Locke Planning and Zoning Committee had no report. Mr. Locke did say that he would be meeting with Mrs. Hoblitzell regarding proposed changes for C3 zoning.
Mr. Locke Economic Development Committee had no report as the meeting he was going to attend was cancelled.
Mrs. Miller Rules Committee had no report
Persons Appearing Before Council – Agenda items only. None
There was no unfinished business.
There was no new business that came before this council this evening.
PERSONS APPEARING BEFORE COUNCIL:
Jesse Wonycott 802 Main Street asked whether or not a meeting regarding zoning changes was opened to the Public. She was informed by Ms. Hoblitzell that it was not.
Joy Durnell, 602 Stone Road operator of Bundle of Joy stated that she had received a letter to remove fence that was touching property on Beauseux Street. She was told to contact the Safety-Service Director regarding the letter she received. Mrs. Hoblitzell in turn would forward the letter along to Mr. Webster for review.
Steve McDougle 125 ½ Walnut Street thanked Mrs. Hoblitzell for getting the holes patched in alley near his home. Mr. McDougle also asked for clarification regarding the Nuisance Ordinance.
Ms. Riffle addressed council in regards to legislation that had been assigned to previous council and her feelings on the issue. She requested that junk cars that is on her committee assignments be carried over until next year.
Mrs. Miller agreed with Ms. Riffle’s feelings.
Mr. Ferguson made a motion to adjourn at 8:43 PM. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.