Council President Protem Ms. Riffle called the November 9, 2020 meeting to order at 7:45 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, City Treasurer Mrs. Copeland and Clerk of Council Mrs. Meredith. Absent from the November 9, 2020 meeting was President of Council Mr. Martin and City Auditor Miss Pittenger.
Council President Protem Ms. Riffle asked that everyone please rise for the Prayer and remain standing for the Pledge of Allegiance. Mrs. Drake gave the invocation and led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.
A motion was made by Mr. Locke to by-pass the reading of the October 12, 2020 minutes and accept as presented. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
A motion was made by Mrs. Drake to by-pass the reading of the October 26, 2020 minutes and accept as presented. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Reports of City Officials:
Mayor Lorentz announced that AEP asked that I write a letter of support for HB-13. This new bill is for Broad Band coverage including our area. Senator Steve Wilson and State Rep Jay Edwards sponsored the bill. Copies of my letter was sent to Rep. Edwards and the state house.
A note from my office also went to the Civil Service Board requesting a test be given after the New Year’s Holidays. We need to test for Laborer II, Waste Water Operator 1, Dispatch and Police Officer. Our entire list has been depleted at this time. Advertising will start soon, and test date in January or early February. This will mainly be for a list to work from but, we do have an opening in dispatch and possibly a couple more in later on.
Trick or Treat went well according to our Police Chief. A special thank you to our reserve officers that responded to our plea for extra coverage.
Some road repair is either being done or is scheduled very shortly. Drag Strip is complete and open. Many thanks to Roger Wright County Engineer and Bob Lane and crew for their good work.
The Washington County Behavioral Health Board and others are writing letters of support for the Right path to be the new 2-1-1 Designee for Washington County. I was glad to write this on behalf of the Right Path and 2-1-1.
December 5th a group of small truck enthusiasts will be utilizing our parking area at the boat ramp for a chance to show off their equipment. They are aware of the lights being on and visitors travelling through. All should be good.
We have people that are interested in purchasing the old Golf Course property on the Blvd. Before I meet with them, I want to call a recreation meeting for Thursday at 3 pm to discuss the options or any concerns we may have.
This Friday is my Mayor’s Court Training so I will be available only by phone.
Mr. Jim Lenner was present for the ZOOM meeting and announced that he has put together a few task that Burton Planning could help with in Economic Development. I have sent a brief narrative to Mr. Locke for review. I’m here tonight to answer any questions or explain in detail what I have prepared for the Cares Act Fund.
Mr. Locke said that not many folks had received copies of the narrative. I would like to pass along to council and perhaps at the next meeting you could join us to discuss. It is a very comprehensive report. I think it can be done but it’s going to take a lot of work on our part.
Ms. Riffle stated that since its Cares monies we will need to get this done quickly.
Mr. Lenner will make sure he is available to help. Mr. Lenner stated that there are ways to insure money is there and available next year. As long as I’m free I will be available to you.
Ms. Riffle asked about the Broad Band and if it had to do with the survey around the County. According to Mayor Lorentz yes it does.
Ms. Riffle also asked about the Right Path 2-1-1 Designee for Washington County. According to Mayor Lorentz they would be answering phones and providing information.
Mr. Shutts asked about the size of the property on the Boulevard that they are going to sell. Mayor Lorentz stated that he wasn’t sure it was ever marked off.
Mr. Webster stated that the property had been leased with a renewal on it. In order to lease a part of it, it would have to go through the Port Authority and back to the lease.
Mayor Lorentz stated that if we were going to sell city ground on the Boulevard we would all need to make sure that is what we want to do. Once sold we won’t get it back.
Mrs. Drake asked if we sold the property would the roadway going back in to the park remain. According to Mayor Lorentz it would remain.
Safety-Service Director Mrs. Hoblitzell announced the following:
EMS Bid package will go out this weekend. It will appear in Saturday’s paper and be on Facebook. The deadline for the bids are due in February.
The street department continues stripping Washington Boulevard. I’m in hopes that the weather cooperates with us to get this done.
I stopped by the fire department this past week and was very upset as to how Pro-Care took care of our facility. We are in the process of trying to get that cleaned up. I was assured that it was in much better condition than it was left.
I attended a Storm Water Task Force Meeting on November 3rd, 2020. Mrs. Drake was also in attendance. Kathy Davis enlightened us on changes to some of the rules.
Boat docks will be removed on Thursday.
Pomeroy Pike has new blacktop between Depot Street, Campus Drive and Lee Street and also Washington Boulevard to Stone Road.
Drag Street has been paved and is now completed.
I have prepared the application for the Tree City USA Commission that is due on December 4th, 2020.
I have given Mr. Martin and Mr. Ferguson the 2021 Manpower Ordinance. I would like to have it assigned to Mr. Ferguson’s committee and passed by the last meeting in December.
City Auditor Miss Pittenger had no report as she was absent from the meeting.
City Law Director Mr. Webster reported that we continue working with the folks in Washington County regarding the sewer meter at the west end of the city as well as an issue with a spill and odor. The county has increased the chemical to resolve the odor. We still have and odor and will keep after the issue.
We are working with Warren High School with the new estimates of the amount of sewage that will be put into the system. We will be able to plan from what we have been receiving in the past.
City Treasurer Mrs. Copeland had no report.
Communications and Petitions:
Ms. Riffle assigned to Finance/Audit Committee the following: AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING AUTHORIZED MANPOWER FOR CALENDAR YEAR 2021.
Report of Standing Committee:
Mr. Ferguson Finance/Audit Committee had no report. Mr. Ferguson called a committee meeting for Monday November 23, 2020 at 7PM for the purpose of discussing Capping City Employee Expenses and hiring for a temporary seasonal position at the park. Mr. Ferguson made a motion to by-pass committee and add to tonight’s agenda for first reading AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING AUTHORIZED MANPOWER FOR CALENDAR YEAR 2021. Discussion followed. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Mr. Gant, Police and Fire Committee reported that on Monday November the 9th at 7PM I had a short council meeting about the Nuisance Ordinance for the City of Belpre. I had asked Police Chief Williams and or Sargent Stump to come to the meeting. I had also asked Jessie Wonycott who has some rental property in the City of Belpre to please be there because she is also interested in helping the City of Belpre and the police department with the nuisance problem. Tom Webster is also going to contact the Chief to find out exactly what he wants in the ordinance.
I went to Dunham Fire Department for a meeting on a District EMS Organization. I sent all the council members a copy of the minutes.
Ms. Riffle Streets, Sidewalks and Storm Sewer had no report. Ms. Riffle did thank the street department for placing lines on city streets. Ms. Riffle wanted to express her appreciation to Dominion Gas for clean-up of the sidewalks where they had been working. Also she informed the citizens if you see some workers in your area walking around don’t be alarmed. Every three years Dominion Gas is required to do a gas leak monitoring in the City of Belpre. Once the monitoring has been completed they will present a report to the city. It will probably be reported in a couple of months.
Mrs. Drake Utilities Committee had no report.
Mr. Shutts, Parks and Recreation Committee had no report.
Mr. Locke Planning and Zoning Committee had no report.
Mr. Locke Economic Development Committee had no report. Mr. Locke did call a committee meeting for November 23, 2020 at 6:15 PM. for the purpose of discussing Burton Planning. Mr. Jim Lenner will be present for the meeting. Information will be shared with all members of council.
Mrs. Miller asked if the meeting would be held in council chambers. She was informed that it would be.
Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that if the State goes red on Wednesday the city building would be closed.
Mrs. Miller Rules Committee had no report. Mrs. Miller stated that she didn’t get notice of the meeting in council chambers. Also she stated that changes on council time had been addressed. This will be talked about at a later time as it was assigned again.
Persons Appearing Before Council – Agenda items only. None
Mr. Ferguson brought before council for second reading ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ORDINANCE FOR CALENDAR AND FISCAL YEAR 2021. Mr. Ferguson stated that there was a $1,200 difference. This is for a clothing allowance that was in the contract for the police department. Exhibit A should now reflect $7,745,938.87. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye. This will lie over until the next meeting of council.
Mr. Ferguson brought before council for first reading AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING AUTHORIZED MANPOWER FOR CALENDAR YEAR 2021. Mr. Ferguson stated that there was one vacancy in the street department and they would be hiring for a temporary seasonal worker at the park. The manpower changes would go from 38 to 40. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye. This will lie over until the next meeting of council.
Ms. Riffle recognized Belpre City School Cross Country Team. They qualified for State this year. I would like to recognize Jen Wells, Coach, Eli Fullerton and Blake Rogers.
Veterans Day is this week. I would like to say thank you to all Veterans. We appreciate you.
Ms. Riffle asked about the Cares Act and if anything had been decided. According to Mr. Ferguson a shower Installation was mentioned for Station II.
PERSONS APPEARING BEFORE COUNCIL:
Mrs. Drake asked if it is possible to get lines painted on Washington Boulevard before we have a freak accident that we will be liable for. According to Ms. Riffle and Mrs. Hoblitzell they are doing it now.
Mrs. Drake asked if there is any way we can have an ice skating rink for the winter months. Ms. Riffle said we could look into that. Mayor Lorentz stated that would also depend on the COVID situation.
We have had two studies done within the city in the last few years at a tune of over $50,000. I’m wondering if we are going to work on a plan or are we going to talk about it some more.
Mr. Locke stated being new to this that in his opinion the biggest thing that is holding us back is that this council is older and we need a change. Younger folks would have more enthusiasm to move forward. Mr. Locke said we need to get out of the 60’s and move forward. I don’t know if it’s going to change but I’m excited about the possibilities.
Mr. Shutts stated that yes we need Pickle Ball. He also stated that we were working on kayaking at the park. The gentleman talked to us but then he never showed back up.
Mr. Webster stated that plans have to be addressed about the infrastructure.
Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that what Jim is talking about is bringing the city back after COVID.
Mr. Lenner stated that yes in a sense. We can create a Community Wide Plan.
Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that The Burton Study should be conducted in a committee meeting and not in regular council meeting.
Jess Wonycott 805 Main Street asked Mr. Gant if he has set another meeting for the Nuisance Ordinance. According to Mr. Gant he has not. Mrs. Wonycott asked if there is a way she could get a copy of the narrative that Mr. Lenner sent Mr. Locke. Mrs. Wonycott is to get in contact with Mr. Locke about getting a copy.
William Cassidy 824 Belrock Avenue addressed council in regards to the committee meetings that have been called for November 23, 2020. He was informed about Mr. Locke’s meeting to discuss Burton Planning at 6:15 and Mr. Ferguson’s meeting to discuss capping employee expenses and hiring for a temporary seasonal position at the park at 7PM.