Student President of Council Mr. Daugherty called the Regular Meeting of the Council of the City of Belpre, Ohio, to order at 7:30 p.m. The roll was called with the following members present: Mr. Bayne, Ms. Abdella; Miss. Matheny, Mr. Locke; Mr. Church, Mrs. Drake; Mr. Wells, Mr. Gant; Miss. Johnson, Mrs. Miller; Miss Lamp, Ms. Riffle; Mr. Feich and Mr. Shutts present. Also present was Mayor Baker, Mayor Lorentz; Safety-Service Director Mr. Varner, Safety Service Director Ms. Hoblitzell; City Auditor Mr. Smith, City Auditor Miss Pittenger; City Law Director Mr. Carter, City Law Director Mr. Webster; City Treasurer Mr. Lowe, City Treasurer Ms. Carpenter, Council Clerk Mr. Clem and Council Clerk Mrs. Meredith. Absent from the December 9, 2019 meeting was Council person Ms. Abdella.
Mr. Daugherty asked that everyone please rise for the Prayer and remain standing for the Pledge of Allegiance. Mr. Baker gave the invocation.
Mr. Wells made a motion to accept the minutes of November 25, 2019 as presented and by-pass the reading. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Reports of City Officials:
Mayor Baker presented the report prepared by Mayor Lorentz. His report is as follows: On November 27th I along with four council members sat in on an Auditors Exit Conference. Although it is a clean audit we do have issues to resolve.
Our negotiations with the AFSCME union are not going as well as expected. We are at impasse and heading for fact finding. As we get closer I will try and communicate with council the issues. As I understand we will re-start on the 17th after Mayor’s Court.
The S.D. and I will meet with our insurance carrier on the 11th to discuss better insurance options for our AFSCME Group.
Civitan Club Christmas Dinner was held on Monday December 2nd. Hopefully council appreciates all that this group has done for our city in the past and still today.
Thank You to the Lion’s Club and Holiday Lights as they kicked off the Christmas season with our annual parade. The weather was less than favorable but all had a good time.
The WWW will meet here in Council Chambers on December 18th. This group aids us in funding and prioritizing projects on our highways in the county and surrounding counties.
Many thanks to the Belpre Rotary Club for providing lunch and speaker today. Commissioner Ritter had a very good speech for all in attendance today.
Our Senior Director and I chose a new paint job for the Senior Center, an ice machine and a new sign for the front of our building in our levy request. All were approved.
One of our churches is involved in locating a drug rehab facility for this area. As details come up I will communicate to council.
School Superintendent Jeff Greenley was to be with us tonight but was called away. Mr. Greenley has asked for 30 minutes of our time at our January 13th meeting to explain his plan for our schools.
As this is the last meeting of 2019 I would like to thank council for their service over the past two years. For the ones returning, may 2020 be the best year ever for our Belpre, City. Merry Christmas and a Happy New year to all.
Safety-Service Director Mr. Varner, Ms. Hoblitzell reported that she met with Andy Kuhn with the Port Authority to go over and learn about Belpre’s Economic Development Strategic Plan.
We are still in negotiations with the ASFCME and going to mediation on the 17th.
Met with the pastor of the Celebration Center and his wife. They have some great ideas and goal of bringing a drug rehabilitation center to our county and would like to eventually make their gym into a teen center and disaster shelter for the City of Belpre. If you would like to see what they have done for rehab in other areas, please google Hope Center in Dixon Tennessee.
Met with Burgess and Niple and an Orion representative to go over plans to upgrade the life station at the Orion plant site. Came up with a plan that will cost a lot less to fix than originally thought.
City Auditor Mr. Lowe/Miss Pittenger reported that the November adjustment report has been posted on line and copies are on the back table. This report includes an $180,000 credit for the Washington County Commissioners sewer line account. I am asking for council’s approval of the adjustment report. Mr. Feich made a motion to accept the November Adjustment Report as presented. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
City Law Director Mr. Carter had no report. Mr. Webster announced that there has been a request from Kimble on an increase based on a new tax for diesel fuel and gas. I will be responding to that request as I’m working with the Mayor and Safety-Service Director. This will not be effective until January 1, 2020. We will be looking at new bids from all vendors as Kimble’s contract will be up.
Mr. Webster also announced that he was in contact with Gary Hunter from the Ohio Municipal League regarding the election process by the Council for the 1st Ward Council position and the President of Council. Just to refresh your memory Bill Locke was chosen to fill the position as 1st Ward Council person filling the position of Josh Campbell and Larry Martin was chosen by the Central Committee to fill the position of Council President that was vacated by Will Neff. These terms expire on December 31st, 2019. Therefore their service ends at that time. The question becomes as to what happens to those two positions as of January 1, 2020. In regards to the President of Council there was no candidate and no write-in and no candidate for any of the parties. Mr. Campbell’s name was still on the ballot and there were votes cast for him. The issue becomes is he in the same position as President of Council meaning because he was no longer a resident of the City of Belpre. He is no longer an elector in the City of Belpre and is not eligible to receive votes for the particular race. Mr. Hunter and I had a long conversation and have agreed that the 1st Ward Council position and the President of Council position will be filled by an election process by the council after they are sworn in January 1st, 2020. The new council will elect those positions and we can decide the order in which to do them however I believe we should begin with the 1st Ward Council position so we have that person sworn in so that person is eligible to vote. The President of Council can be sworn in any time after the 1st Ward Council person is sworn in. There is one other unresolved issue and that was since Mr. Campbell received votes was he certified or not certified by the Board of Elections. If he was certified we will have to do a de-certification through the Board of Elections. I met with the Prosecuting Attorney also this afternoon of Washington County and she is going to determine if he was certified or not after the election. After we know that we will go through the necessary process of de-certification. The 1st Ward Council person and the President of Council will have to be done any time after the swearing in on January 1, 2020. It can be the same day or it can be at another time. If you go that route you will have to first elect a President Pro-tem and then President of Council.
Mr. Locke asked how these people will be chosen for the position. Mr. Wester informed Mr. Locke that it would be up to the new council to decide. I can’t speak for that council. You may want to have an Organizational meeting to decide what that process is going to be. If anyone in the public is interested in those position please contact Mr. Martin or the Mayor.
Ms. Riffle asked if there had been a time established for the 1st. Mayor Lorentz stated the time would be 8 am.
City Treasurer Mr. Lowe/Ms. Carpenter reported that the Treasurer’s Report has been posted on the cities website and copies at the back table. A signed copy has been given to the clerk. I would like a motion for council approval of the Treasurer’s Report. Miss Johnson 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: – None
Report of Standing Committee:
Mr. Bayne/Ms. Abdella Finance/ Audit Committee had no report.
Miss Johnson/Mrs. Miller, Police and Fire Committee had no report. Miss Johnson announced that Mrs. Miller would have a report on golf carts and the police department at the next meeting.
Miss Matheny/Mr. Locke Streets, Sidewalks and Storm Sewer had no report.
Mr. Wells/Mr. Gant Utilities Committee had no report.
Mr. Feich/Mr. Shutts, Parks and Recreation Committee had no report. Mr. Feich asked the Mayor when a Parks and Recreation Commission committee would be appointed. Mayor Lorentz stated that he was working on it. Mr. Feich asked what kind of time frame. Mayor Lorentz stated as soon as we get it done. According to Mr. Feich and Mr. Shutts it needed to be done before the first of the year. Mayor Lorentz stated that it wouldn’t be done. Mr. Shutts stated that it needed done before the first of the year. A new pool contract would be signed by the first of the year if there are no discrepancies. Mr. Feich read from the code book that the assignment of a Parks and recreation Commission must be in place by January 1, 2020.
Mr. Webster stated that the contract could be opened and re-negotiated.
Mr. Church/Mrs. Drake Planning and Zoning and Economic Development Committee.
Mr. President, Council members: Mrs. Drake will be attending the White House Conference in Washington D.C., on December 12th. This is being held for elected municipal women officials across the United States. Government Department heads related to various areas of municipalities will be present to answer questions and concerns for cities and villages of all sizes to assist communities.
Council members if you have any questions or concerns you would like answers to email them to Mrs. Drake and she will present them at the conference. Mrs. Drake has presently received questions to be asked from outside our community and from within. You may ask questions or concerns regarding infrastructure, housing, trafficking, homeless, drug issues for community, water issues, any need or improvement for community, and the list goes on.
Miss Lamp/Ms. Riffle, Rules Committee had no report.
Persons Appearing Before Council – Agenda items only. None
Unfinished Business: –
Mr. Bayne/Mrs. Drake brought before council for second reading TEMPORARY APPROPRIATION ORDINANCE FOR CALENDAR AND FISCAL YEAR 2020. Mr. Bayne stated that this legislation has an updated attachment. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Mr. Bayne/Mrs. Drake made a motion to suspend the rule of council on three different days to allow for the third reading TEMPORARY APPROPRIATION ORDINANCE FOR CALENDAR AND FISCAL YEAR 2020. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Mr. Bayne/Mrs. Drake brought before council for third reading TEMPORARY APPROPRIATION ORDINANCE FOR CALENDAR AND FISCAL YEAR 2020. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Mr. Bayne/Mrs. Drake moved this be Ordinance 16, 2018-2019 and duly passed. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Miss Matheny/Mr. Locke brought before council for third reading A BRIDGE INSPECTION AGREEMENT WITH THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Miss Matheny/Mr. Locke moved this be Resolution 31, 2018-2019 and duly passed. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Miss Matheny/Mr., Locke reported that several residents of lower Florence Street have contacted Mr. Locke concerning feral cats, several residents are feeding them, thereby causing odors from their waste & fears of being bitten (1 resident was bitten by a feral cat). Currently I don’t believe there is an ordinance concerning this situation. We have had similar issues in recent past about feral cat feeding at our Civitan Club ballfield dugouts. I suggest when we return next year we undertake solving this issue.
PERSONS APPEARING BEFORE COUNCIL:
Greg Bo 211 Locust Street addressed council regarding dissolving city government, excess taxes, wife charged with a crime that involved their autistic child, fining citizens for accidents in order to make money for the city, bullying people regarding utility access, city and property taxes.
James Booth a resident of Lowell addressed council as he is running for County Commissioner. He spoke briefly to council regarding why he thinks he is a good candidate for County Commissioner.
Ms. Riffle asked Mr. Webster if we have figured out the fire truck issue regarding the penalty. According to Mr. Webster we do not owe a penalty. I sent them a letter stating that it was paid in full prior to the receipt of the truck.
Mr. Daugherty told Mr. Bo that he could take up the issue of his water bill with the Safety-Service Director. We appreciate your concerns.
Mr. Feich addressed the Zoning Districts on the city website. According to Ms. Pittenger the zoning map is not a good quality and she did the best that she could. Mr. Webster asked for clarification. Mr. Locke stated that Ward 2 and Ward 3 were the same map.
Miss Matheny made a motion to excuse Ms. Abdella from this evenings meeting. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Wayne Towner with the news asked the students to stay after the adjournment for a photo for the paper.
Charlie Brown Christmas aired on this day in 1965.
Mrs. Drake commended the students on a great job this evening.
Mr. Webster suggested that the class get a field trip the 1st or 3rd Tuesday to see how a real Mayor’s Court operated.