Council President Mr. Martin called the January 27, 2020 meeting to order at 7:30PM. The roll was called with the following members present: Mr. Gant, Mr. Locke, Ms. Miller, Ms. Riffle and Mr. Shutts present. Also present was Mayor Lorentz, Safety Service Director Ms. Hoblitzell, City Auditor Miss Pittenger, City Law Director Mr. Webster, City Treasurer Ms. Copeland, and Council Clerk Mrs. Meredith. Absent from the January 27, 2020 meeting was Mr. Ferguson.
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 Troop 117 from Lubeck led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ms. Riffle made a motion to accept the minutes of January 13, 2020 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 that since our last meeting I have met with Hi-School students trying to find Census workers for our city. During this exercise I have found a couple adults that may apply. The kick-off for us is Thursday at 10 am in the Sr. Center. Census representatives, Karen Waller from the chamber, myself and others from the county will be there. All of council is welcome and asked to attend if possible.
We continue to work on sewer issues that need extra attention as well as the list of summer activities within our city. A new meter is being installed for the county line to assure readings for the county and charges coming back to the city are correct.
Smiles on the Boulevard is now open. The Chamber of commerce held a ribbon cutting on the 17th and thanked Dr. Hawkins for her keeping her business in Belpre as well as providing a wonderful facility to our downtown.
Hopefully you have noticed the traffic light at the Peddler’s Junction Plaza is now flashing during the late evenings and at night. We are doing a test to make sure this area stays safe and remove a nuisance if not needed.
Much time has been spent providing council a clear budget to consider. I would again ask that council approves the funds to bring the waste water plant back to full staff and to approve funds for the economic development plan approved in October.
We continue to press toward a resolution to our AFSCME Contract differences. Our attorney just Friday spoke with us and returned the last series of questions to be answered. We are awaiting a reply.
Safety-Service Director, Ms. Hoblitzell stated that her report would be about the same as the Mayor’s therefore she had no report.
City Auditor Miss Pittenger stated that she has two reports this evening. Her first report was the Utility Adjustment Report for the month of December. As you can see the Adjustment Report is back to normal but will go back up again. We had to make a Washington County Commissioner adjustment and it looks like we will have 2 more adjustments according to the mayor. I also have with me tonight the Budget Compliance form that I use for the audit. It shows payroll, expenses broken down to each fund. If anyone has any questions please feel free to contact my office. Mr. President I asked that council approves the December Utility Adjustment Report. Ms. Riffle made a motion to accept the Utility Adjustment Report as presented. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
City Law Director Mr. Webster presented his Summary of the City of Belpre 2019 Criminal Cases that were opened by his office.
We have opened the criminal files by one charge – totaling 171 cases. He noted that there are numerous files with more than one charge. Each charge is addressed separately by the Prosecutor.
Mr. Webster stated that if any one has any questions please call him to discuss.
Mr. Webster also stated that he had received a report from Kim Martin showing that there were a total of 298 waivers.
My office will also be working very hard this year to get all Master sets of contracts. This is my goal for this year.
City Treasurer Ms. Copeland reported that a copy of the December 2019 Treasurer’s Report and the Year to Date for 2019 is before you this evening. Copies appear on-line, copies at the back table and signed copies have been given to the clerk. I ask that these two reports be approved by council this evening. Mr. Gant made a motion to accept the (2) Treasurer’s Report as presented. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Communications and Petitions: –
Council President Mr. Martin welcomed Troop 117 from Lubeck to our meeting this evening.
I would also like to thank Leslie for getting plaques for the rest of council.
I have also reviewed and initialed the November and December 2019 Bank Reconciliations.
Report of Standing Committee:
Mr. Ferguson Finance/ Audit Committee was absent, Mr. Gant reported that Finance/Audit Committee met prior to this evenings meeting for the purpose of discussing the Humane Society Contract, Touch on the 2020 Appropriations and Credit Card Policy for the City of Belpre. Mr. Gant called a Finance/Audit committee meeting for February 3, 2020 at 6PM for the purpose of furthering the discussion on the budget.
Mr. Gant, Police and Fire Committee announced on January 22, 2020 I had a committee meeting with council on two different subjects: The first meeting was in regards to the Impound lot.
Before our meeting I talked to several people about information that we already have. Ms. Hoblitzell had the fees that would be charged. Chief Williams had the paperwork on how to claim the vehicle that would be impounded to be picked up and what information the person would need for the police department to release the vehicle to them. We also identified through Belpre Code 303.08 and Ohio Revised Code 4513.60 what vehicles would be taken to Belpre’s impound lot and which would be taken to the towing companies’ lot. Miss Pittenger told me about Niles, Ohio that has had their own impound lot for 4 years. I contacted them and they were very informative about sharing all the information that they had. I also talked to one of the local towing companies to get their input and invited them to the meeting. After the meeting I think most of the question and concerns that they had were answered. I will get with Mr. Webster and find out what if any more information we need to get so we will know if we need another committee meeting or we can finalize it and bring it to a vote.
The second topic was the Firefighters Dependency Fund. Mr. Webster notified me that two of the names on the document has to be voted on by the Belpre City Council. The two volunteer persons need to be from the Legislative part of the city. We had three people volunteer so we need to have a voice vote to pick the two that will be on the Board. I hope and pray they never meet throughout the year. I have already talked to Chief Cronin about the fire department and what I can do to help keep it the best in the area.
The police chief gave me a year-end report for 2019. They had a total of 7,552 calls: Police calls 5,719, Fire 182, EMS 1,551 and sewer call 100. Also 911 hang ups was up dramatically from 27 in 2018 to 78 in 2019 that is 51 extra calls. They have a lot of special projects that they do throughout the year. One important project is the drug box in the police department. They collected over 250 pounds of drugs and were able to destroy. Another one is that Belpre High School allowed the police department to bring the drug dog to check the school two different times and no drugs were found either time. I think in this day and age that is remarkable. That says a lot about our schools, our students, and our administration. The police department received the Platinum Award again this year by the AAA. This is based on what the police department does in the community. They have received this award the past five years.
I also was able to attend the Census meeting on January 13, 2020.
Mr. Martin asked for a voice vote for the Fire Department Dependency Fund. There were three volunteers and one person dropped out leaving only two. The two volunteers are Mr. Gant and Ms. Riffle. These two volunteers will represent the city on this committee for 1 year. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Mr. Gant made a motion to add to the agenda for first reading: AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A CITY-OWNED IMPOUND LOT AND AUTHORIZING THE SAFETY-SERVICE DIRECTOR TO ESTABLISH THE ADMINISTRATIVE AND STORAGE FEES TO BE CHARGED PRIOR TO RELEASE OF A VEHICLE FROM THE CITY-OWNED IMPOUND LOT. Ms. Miller stated that she objected placing this on the agenda as she has not seen a copy. Mr. Martin stated that this is just for the first reading. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Mr. Gant informed the President of Council that he had a copy of Belpre Code 303.08 and the Ohio Revised Code 4513.60. He presented Ms. Miller with copies of the code.
Ms. Riffle Streets, Sidewalks and Storm Sewer had no report. Ms. Riffle called a committee meeting for February 6, 2020 at 6PM for the purpose of discussing junk cars.
Utilities Committee no report.
Mr. Shutts, Parks and Recreation Committee reported that he has had several conversations regarding Belpre Little League. Mr. Shutts called a committee meeting for January 29, 2020 at 6PM for the purpose of discussing Little League.
Mr. Locke Planning and Zoning Committee had no report.
Mr. Locke Economic Development Committee had no report.
Ms. Miller Rules Committee reported that we have a lot of outdated ordinances. There was an incident that we had an unconstitutional ordinance back in the 70’s. Ms. Miller stated that she would be working on this.
Persons Appearing Before Council – Agenda items only. None
Unfinished Business: – None
NEW BUSINESS: –
Mr. Gant brought before council for first reading AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A CITY-OWNED IMPOUND LOT AND AUTHORIZING THE SAFETY-SERVICE DIRECTOR TO ESTABLISH THE ADMINISTRATIVE AND STORAGE FEES TO BE CHARGED PRIOR TO RELEASE OF A VEHICLE FROM THE CITY-OWNED IMPOUND LOT. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye. This will lie over until the next meeting of council.
PERSONS APPEARING BEFORE COUNCIL:
Terry Gilbert 2416 Norris Avenue appeared before council asking what the status of golf carts were in the City of Belpre. Mr. Gilbert was told that we have a new council and that it had not yet been reassigned to committee.
Bill Locke asked the Mayor about the valve that was being put in at the West end of town. Mayor Lorentz stated that it was being put in by the commissioners. Has the smell issue been taken care of yet? According to the Mayor it has not. Mr. Locke reported that he has had some complaints about it.
Ms. Riffle made a motion to adjourn. The motion was withdrawn.
Mr. Gant made a motion to excuse Mr. Ferguson from this evenings meeting due to sickness. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Ms. Riffle made a motion to adjourn at 8:08PM. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.