Council President Protem Ms. Riffle called the December 14, 2020 meeting to order at 7:35 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 Auditor Miss Pittenger, City Law Director Mr. Webster, City Treasurer Mrs. Copeland and Clerk of Council Mrs. Meredith.
Council President Mr. Martin 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. Ferguson to by-pass the reading of the November 23rd, 2020 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 the Safety-Service Director and I met with a couple that wants to add a business to Belpre that would enhance our parks and recreation area. If they decide to go forward, we will keep the council apprised of any developments.
Hopefully, you have also heard that the Shopping Plaza has changed ownership. The developer has some great ideas for this commercial site, and I feel sure that all of Belpre will benefit.
Mayor’s Court has resumed thanks to our clerk returning, Mr. Ferguson and the S.D. helping the process move along efficiently.
Our city building remains closed due to the virus being so prevalent in the state. So far this has worked well reducing the traffic inside the building and business continues. The county went to a red status on Thursday so, it will remain closed until we see improvements in the exposure rates.
Thanks to Ms. Hoblitzell, all emails for city employees are now the same and each department has access to a computer for timekeeping, ordering parts etc.
Safety-Service Director Mrs. Hoblitzell announced that the Civil Service Commission has posted civil service exams for Wastewater Plant Operator I, Laborer II, Patrolman and Dispatcher. It is also posted on the City’s website and Facebook page.
All new emails have been given to our employees except for the police department. It will be much easier to remember the emails. They are the employee’s first name, last name @city of Belpre.com. We had four or five different setups and now we have one!
I am happy that we are waiting to receive the Burton Planning report before we jump into another contract with a planner. Thank you, Bill, for your hard work on this.
We received insurance quotes from Schwendeman Insurance to see if we should try to get out of the small group insurance pool. I was very disappointed when learning it would not save us money to go that route.
The walk-up window has been started, concrete was poured last week and the window and roof should be installed this week.
I signed the agreement for the 3-year electric aggregation. The rate is $3.03.
City Auditor Miss Pittenger announced that the last three Utility Adjustment Reports are before you this evening needing approval by council. These reports are for September, October and November and they do appear on-line. Also Miss Pittenger announced that she has not changed her email address and it remains as firstname.lastname@example.org. She stated that email addresses were changed but she was not in favor of it because she didn’t want her name out on the website. At this time Mr. Ferguson made a motion to accept the Utility Adjustment Reports for September, October and November as presented. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
City Law Director Mr. Webster had no report.
City Treasurer Mrs. Copeland reported that a copy of the November Treasurers Report is on line and needs council approval. Mrs. Drake made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report as presented. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Communications and Petitions:
Ms. Riffle had no Communications or Petitions.
Mrs. Meredith asked Mr. Webster about the notification from the Department of Commerce regarding a notice to the Ohio CVS Stores LLC DBA CVS Pharmacy 2394. According to Mr. Webster we didn’t need to do anything unless we were requesting a hearing in which the form would have to be completed and returned to the Division of Liquor Control. Since nothing is being done a copy of the letter is on file in Council Chambers.
Ms. Riffle went over the Committee Assignments awaiting Council Action. The Manpower Ordinance was completed therefore it was removed. All other assignments were carried over to 2021.
Report of Standing Committee:
Mr. Ferguson Finance/Audit Committee had no report.
Mr. Gant, Police and Fire Committee had no report.
Ms. Riffle Streets, Sidewalks and Storm Sewer had no report. Ms. Riffle reminded everyone since winter is upon us to watch our roads for weather conditions. Ms. Riffle asked if the lines on Washington Boulevard would continue to be painted as long as weather permitted. She was informed that they would as long as the temperature is 60 degrees or above.
Mrs. Drake Utilities Committee announced that the Gas Aggregation has been signed. She stated that she was not sure of the sign-up date. She also stated that she had received a letter from Dominion with the assigned rate.
Mr. Shutts, Parks and Recreation Committee had no report.
Mr. Locke Planning and Zoning Committee and Economic Development.
Planning & Zoning & Economic Development
Meeting November 30, 2020 6:30 pm
Committee Chair; Bill Locke
Fellow Committee members
Also in attendance
Meeting was delayed till 6:57
Bill opened the meeting discussing the questionnaires sent out, listing by ranking the choices offered,
Responses were very similar
Most agreed Task #2 “Belpre Community Master Plan” was the best in all categories.
Discussions pertaining to Affordable Housing, Zoning, Business atmosphere, & Infrastructure were all stated as a necessity for Belpre to move forward.
Many questions were asked & responded to, mostly by Jim Lenner.
My committee recommends Task #2, and #3, #4 & #5, These tasks are interwoven and complement each other as a whole, Council will make the final decision, hopefully very quickly as we are hoping to use the recent ‘Covid funds’ to sponsor these actions.
My Thanks to everyone for donating their time & efforts in this, it isn’t easy to try to change the City you Love. But for the betterment of its citizens we need to.
On Tuesday December 1, 2020 I conferred with our Auditor Ms. Pittenger & Legal Counsel Mr. Webster as to whether or not the use of Covid funds for implementing all or any of the Tasks selected would be possible & Legal, both were in agreement the use of Covid funds for this would not be possible,
We will wait for the upcoming report by Burton to investigate our next actions.
Meeting concluded @ 8:08
Thanks, Bill Locke
Mr. Locke stated that Ms. Hoblitzell and himself has discussed the Burton Plan, the cost, completion, personal preferences and the use of COVID funds.
The remaining part of Mr. Locke’s report was deferred for time for Jeff Greenly, Superintendent for Belpre City Schools to talk about Pickle Ball. A presentation was presented by the students.
Mrs. Drake asked about how much was needed for materials for the setup. She was informed it would be between $8-10,000 for materials. She also asked if there were any Grants available. She was informed that there probably were grants available. She also asked if there was a time frame set. According to Mr. Greenly the time frame has not yet been set.
Mr. Webster stated that data was being collected on the two sets of tennis courts. They are awaiting details about the expense and layout of the courts.
Mrs. Drake asked for a copy of the collection of data.
Mr. Greenly stated that the Pickle Ball Court would be by the pool and not at the tennis courts.
Mrs. Miller Rules Committee had no report.
Persons Appearing Before Council – Agenda items only. None
Mr. Ferguson brought before council for third reading AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING AUTHORIZED MANPOWER FOR CALENDAR YEAR 2021. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Mr. Ferguson moved this be Ordinance #12, 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 APPROVING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CITY OF BELPRE PERSONNEL POLICY MANUAL. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye. This will lie over until the next meeting of council.
Ms. Riffle announced the following: Broadband questionnaire needs help, volunteers are needed at the Belpre Lights and also the next meeting of council would be January 11, 2021.
PERSONS APPEARING BEFORE COUNCIL:
Jess Wonycott 805 Main Street asked about the COVID monies and what they can and can’t be used for.
Also discussed were more options in the Burton Plan. There are a lot of regulations.
Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that some of the COVID monies would be used to cover wages for the SSD, Police Chief and the Patrolmen wages. There wages would go back to the general fund for next year.
Discussed also was commercial property available in the City of Belpre.
Members of Council wished everyone a Merry Christmas.
Mr. Gant made a motion to adjourn at 8:15 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