Council President Protem Ms. Riffle called the January 25, 2021 meeting to order at 7:36 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 January 25th, 2021 meeting was City Auditor Miss Pittenger and City Treasurer Mrs. Copeland.
Council President Protem Ms. Riffle asked that everyone please rise for the Prayer and remain standing for the Pledge of Allegiance. Mr. Gant gave the invocation and led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.
A motion was made by Mrs. Drake to by-pass the reading of the January 11, 2021 minutes and accept as presented. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Reports of City Officials:
Mayor Lorentz reported that on January 12th, the Recreation Commission and the Recreation Committee of council met to discuss the agreement between the City and our High School Baseball group. Thanks to all who attended and Ms. Drake for chairing the meeting.
The S.D. and I attended the Chamber Breakfast on the 14th. It looks like we have a hardworking and interested board this year. All seem committed to our city and its success.
Both the S.D. and I were able to assist a few with getting registered for the vaccine. If you have not received it or, have not registered I suggest you do soon.
On Wednesday we met with the Sheriff’s Department to discuss some changes in our dispatch area, and mutual aid areas for our EMS folks is changing a little due to changes at Little Hocking.
Interviews have started for a Police Dispatcher. Chief Williams, the Service Director and I interviewed Wednesday and Friday looking for a qualified candidate to hire.
With complaints coming in from the residents in the area of Barclay and Elm Street I have contacted the Department of Commerce to inspect. Hopefully, we will have a recommendation for improvements soon.
The County Commissioners are working on a plan to correct issues with the county sewer line. In lieu of running a camera through the entire line, they are contracting to install a Scada system to help find issues with flow. At some point we may need to tweak our agreement to allow time for install.
Do not forget to file your paperwork with the Ethics Commission.
I met with the Board of the Senior Center and we are going to open the Senior Center next Monday on a limited bases.
Safety-Service Director Mrs. Hoblitzell announced that construction at the Orion lift station is still going on. We have run into a couple of problems, but they have been solved. We are being told there is a collapse in the line running between Orion & the next lift station. We will have to take necessary action to repair.
Word has it there are a few businesses interested in the property @ Drag Strip Road and State Route 7. One is for a saltwater injection well & one for a trucking business. We have to look at zoning as the front properties are C-2 and the rest of the property is an R-1. We cannot have anything that will affect Drag Strip’s Slipping problem. I am asking council to look at the ordinances and add rules for saltwater injection wells.
I talked with Nancy Miller, President of the Belpre Area Chamber of Commerce. They are changing up the Belpre Homecoming this year. They want to incorporate a beach party theme to attract boaters and others who are getting bored with the festival. This will be the Chamber’s last year to host this event. They are creating a company to take over the 2022 festival.
The walk up window installation starts tomorrow. When complete, citizens will be able to pay water bills at that window.
You will see the new picnic tables popping up little by little across town. These picnic tables are able to be sanitized, unlike the old ones that were falling apart. The tables are orange and black, we wanted to bring some of the school colors to the city.
I had a couple of contractors stop by today to look at installing the spare generator for the police department. The current generator is ancient. The last time the power went off, the generator did not start and they were without power.
City Auditor Miss Pittenger was absent. No report was given in her absence.
City Law Director Mr. Webster had no report
City Treasurer Mrs. Copeland was absent. No report was given in her absence.
Communications and Petitions: None
Report of Standing Committee:
Mr. Ferguson Finance/Audit Committee had no report. Mr. Ferguson asked Mrs. Hoblitzell if the legislation for the COVID account is something she was going to forward to Tom when the time comes. Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that the money does not go into the COVID money account. This is stimulus money and not Cares Act money. Ms. Riffle asked if it was regulated. According to Mrs. Hoblitzell it is not regulated at all.
Mr. Gant, Police and Fire Committee announced that the police chief sent him the Law Enforcement Trust Fund Report. I have forwarded to all members of council and I ask that council review and give their blessings.
Ms. Riffle Streets, Sidewalks and Storm Sewer had no report. Ms. Riffle stated that Dominion has moved out and has finished that part of the line. In the spring are they going to fix the patch of road between Rockland and Mary that needs fixed? According to Ms. Hoblitzell they would fix it in the spring. They are working at the Orion site now. According to the mayor they are going to have to open Mary Street one more time. They are expecting completion date to be sometime in April or May.
Mrs. Drake Utilities Committee had no report.
Mr. Shutts, Parks and Recreation Committee announced that his report had been given in the Mayor’s Report in his first statement.
Mr. Locke Planning and Zoning Committee had no report. Mr. Locke called a Planning and Zoning committee meeting for February 8th, 2021 at 6:30 PM for the purpose of discussing golf carts in the City of Belpre and the possibility of changes to our commercial zoning. Information will be distributed to all members of council.
I also received information today from Kathy O’Donnell regarding the Cross-Country Invitational meet on Saturday, September 18th, 2021. It will begin at 9:45 a.m.
Mr. Locke Economic Development Committee had no report. Mr. Locke stated that he is still waiting on the Burton Plan report. When it gets here there will be a lot of work on that.
Mrs. Miller Rules Committee had no report.
Persons Appearing Before Council – Agenda items only. None
Mr. Ferguson brought before council for third reading A RESOLUTION APPROVING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CITY OF BELPRE PERSONNEL POLICY MANUAL. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Mr. Ferguson moved this be Resolution #18, 2020-2021 and duly passed. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Mr. Ferguson brought before council for second reading AN AMENDED ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING AUTHORIZED MANPOWER FOR CALENDAR YEAR 2021. Ms. Riffle asked Mr. Webster if we ever got the updated and approved amendment. According to Mr. Webster it is attached. Mr. Webster asked if she didn’t get the attachment. She told Mr. Webster that she honestly didn’t know. Mr. Webster told Ms. Riffle that if she didn’t get it to contact the office tomorrow and they would ship it out to her. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye. This will lie over until the next meeting of council.
NEW BUSINESS: none
PERSONS APPEARING BEFORE COUNCIL:
Mrs. Drake informed council that she received an email from a citizen complaining about Suddenlink. I did try to handle that. The city has no control over that. I have found that some citizens are paying extremely different rates for the same service. Mrs. Drake stated that this needs to be communicated with the citizens that they have other options.
Ms. Riffle stated that she thought when she was a kid that the city controlled who could come in.
Mrs. Miller stated that we gave them the right to come in but we didn’t control it. CAS Cable only comes down as far as Farson Street.
Mrs. Drake asked Mrs. Hoblitzell if she had a chance to review Ordinance 141 and 159 regarding public service, safety and recreation. Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that she had reviewed it and council needs to look at changing the recreation commission. It gives us both the same power and you can’t do that. I did take a look at the City of Marietta’s ordinance.
Mr. Cassidy 824 Belrock Avenue asked when the city building was going to reopen. Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that we do not know yet. If anyone has something they need to discuss with us they can call and make an appointment. Mr. Cassidy stated that if the Senior Citizens Building opens up I feel that the city building should be open also. This is just my own personal opinion. Mrs. Hoblitzell asked for his reasoning. Mr. Cassidy stated that he would like for it to be open for anything that the citizens might need to discuss. Mayor Lorentz stated that we are conducting all the business within the city. This is more- less for protection for the girls that work up front. If you are here during the day it is the most used restroom facility in the city because it is convenient. Once the window is opened for paying your water bills I will revisit whether or not to open the building. Mayor Lorentz stated that no one is being neglected. Mr. Cassidy also stated that he was reviewing the website on expenditures. The city building should be open. Discussion followed regarding paying fines at the police department. Mr. Cassidy was informed that they can buzz in. Per Mr. Locke you can make an appointment. Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that the phone numbers are on the front door.
Ms. Riffle asked the Mayor what was going in next to the Dollar Tree. She was informed that it was a Pizza Shop.
Ms. Riffle asked what the issue was on Barclay and Elm Street. She was informed it was in regards to trash and that the Department of Commerce had been contacted.
Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that later this week I will be meeting with folks regarding the Senior Contract and the 10 person max.
The question was asked when the Memorandum of Understanding would be signed.
Mrs. Drake to gather information for Dog Park.
Mr. Gant made a motion to adjourn at 8:08 PM. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
___________________________________________________________________________________ President of Council Protem Ms. Riffle
Clerk of Belpre City Council Kim Meredith