The Regular Meeting of the Council of the City of Belpre, Ohio was called to order by Council President Mr. Neff at 7:30 p.m. Mr. Neff called the roll with the following members present: Ms. Abdella, Mr. Gilbert, Mr. Martin, Mrs. Miller, Mr. Newberry and Mr. Robinson present. Also present were Mayor Lorentz, Safety-Service Director Mr. Ferguson, City Law Director Mr. Webster, Treasurer Miss Martin and Clerk of Council Mrs. Meredith. Absent from the January 27, 2014 meeting was City Auditor Miss Pittenger and Council person Mrs. Marshall.
At this time, Mr. Neff asked that everyone please stand for the prayer and remain standing for the Pledge of Allegiance. The invocation was given by Mayor Lorentz.
A motion was made by Ms. Abdella to accept the minutes of January 27, 2014 as presented and by-pass the reading. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Mr. Neff neglected to entertain a motion for President Pro-Tem in the upcoming term. Mr. Robinson nominated Mr. Martin as Council President Pro-Tem. Mr. Martin was asked to bow his head while a voice vote was conducted. Mr. Neff called for the vote. All members voted aye. Mr. Martin was appointed Council President Pro-tem for the upcoming term.
Reports of City Officials
Mayor Lorentz’s Report:
Since our last meeting we have concluded interviews for a fulltime dispatcher. With the input of dispatchers, Chief Clevenger and I made the decision to offer employment to Amanda Baker.
On January 17 I met with DuPont Representatives about installing Osprey Platforms near the boat ramp. Our hope is that they will nest where our citizens and visitors can view from the Hardees overlook or the park. DuPont is also contacting the schools to build interest in their taking notes and adding the experience to the classroom.
On the 18th, I assisted the Holiday Lights Committee with teardown efforts of our light displays. Please make sure to thank these hard working men and women for their efforts in making our Christmas season special, and our city beautiful.
Thursday January 23rd was a busy day with Congressman Johnson presenting a flag to our veterans at 11AM, then returning at 4PM for the Economic Development Town Talk. This exercise with the Chamber was very successful and very well attended. Both our elected officials and business owners were very pleased. Congressman Johnson, Representative Debbie Phillips, and Senator Lou Gentile were in attendance along with representatives from our larger employers.
Mr. Ferguson, Mike Betz, and I met with Buckeye Hills, Burgess and Niple, The Port Authority, along with the business reps north of our city. We are trying to find funding to extend our sewer line to Blue Knob Road to assist these folks. With some of the grant people in the room at this meeting we now know that progress will be slow and hard to accomplish. Money is getting harder to find without the plan in place for new jobs or expansion. Belpre is in the position to not only help in job retention but, also strengthen this area for future development. This project may also lend funding for us to repair our north line that is in jeopardy.
On January 25th, I attended the Awards Dinner for the Bill Weinrich recognition for this past year. This year’s recipients were as follows. From Belpre Rotary – Larry Arnold, Belpre Woman’s Club – Sandy Fuller, Historical Society – Mary Deem, Belpre Area Ministries – Sandy Pickrell, Belpre Lions Club – Marvin Sams, Belpre Senior Citizens – Bernice Burd.
Ms. Abdella asked about the birds in the park and would they make the mess that the others do. According to the Mayor and Mrs. Miller they would not. These are upper class birds.
Mr. Neff stated that the Clerk tried to get my attention regarding who would cover her position in her absence for the upcoming term. Mr. Neff appointed Ms. Abdella for that role.
Safety Service Director Mr. Ferguson reported that Ms. Pittenger called him and said that she had just returned from a trip and the temperature in her home was 44 degrees. She will not be attending this evenings meeting. I received a letter from the US Department of Agriculture addressed to Lewis Vaughn. This was approximately 18 years ago since Mr. Vaughn was Mayor. I now see why we are going with electronic communication so that things get updated in a timelier manner. I would like for the President of Council to assign the Flood Plane Ordinance tonight to committee. In regards to EPA Regulations, I set in on a sewer line meeting the other day and they are talking about wanting to redo fire hydrants due to lead in the hydrants. They want to make this mandatory to make them lead fee. We are not allowed to fix our lines with brass. We recently received $5,358 in scrap materials. By making the change our water will be much safer. I also wanted to address the GIS Aerial Imaging. Tonight we have Roger Wright with us to discuss Digitized County Auditors Mapping. We would be moving from a 1 ft. photo to 6 ft. photo. The map would have many uses. It would be used to develop parcels, property lines, used for zoning, dispatch and all new growth within the city. The cost to the City of Belpre would be $8,000. We would like to know ASAP if the city wants to go to this type of mapping.
City Auditor Miss Pittenger was absent. No report was given in her absence.
City Law Director Mr. Webster reported that the Law Director’s Office received 7 Tax Bills this past week. One of these bills is taxable to the city for a parcel of land that we are renting for the batting cages. The other 6 is not. Properties that are exempt are the Fire Department on Farson Street, addition to the Sr. Citizens Building, two small pieces of property that were conveyed by the Mennick owners for the widening of Farson Street. We are working on the exemptions. The Municipal Court Report will be given at the next meeting.
Treasurer Miss Martin had no report.
Communications and Petitions:
Mr. Neff assigned the following legislation to committee.
1. A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TO EXECUTE A CONTRACT WITH THE ATHENS CITY-COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT FOR SERVICES OF A PART-TIME SANITARIAN– Finance/Audit Ms. Abdella.
2. ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ORDINANCE FOR CALENDAR & FISCAL YEAR 2014 – Finance/Audit Ms. Abdella
3. AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CODIFIED FLOOD DAMAGE REDUCTION ORDINANCE. – Planning and Zoning – Mr. Newberry
Also on my desk was a note that read upon checking the classification of a Probation Patrolman, I found some very out of date clothing and clearing dollars. I would recommend council revise this chapter to read as per the current UFCW for Police Contract.
Also received was a piece of correspondence from the National Church Residency.
Report of Standing Committee:
Ms. Abdella, Finance Audit Committee reported that her committee met prior to the council meeting this evening to discuss the 2014 Manpower Ordinance. Finding a couple of corrections, the Safety-Service Director will update the attachment and the Law Director will prepare the legislation.
Mr. Gilbert had no report for Police and Fire Committee.
Mr. Martin had no report for Streets, Sidewalks & Storm Sewer Committee.
Mr. Robinson had no report for the Utilities Committee.
Mrs. Marshall was absent. No report was given for the Parks and Recreation Committee.
Mr. Newberry had no report for Planning and Zoning Committee.
Mr. Newberry had no report for the Economic Development Committee. Mr. Newberry stated that there were several in attendance at the Town Talk Meeting.
Mr. Neff was in attendance. He was very impressed with the meeting.
Mrs. Miller reported that the Rules Committee met last Wednesday night to discuss Electronic Communication. She had talked with the Attorney General’s Office and found that we are not in any violation with the Sunshine Law by using the tablets. There is no communication between council and the administration by using these tablets. According to them they will update in March.
Persons Appearing Before Council – Agenda items only. None
Mr. Martin brought before council for second reading A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE SSD TO EXECUTE AN AGREEMENT FOR MANAGEMENT OF THE BELPRE SENIOR CENTER. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye. This will lie over until the next meeting of council.
Mr. Martin brought before council for second reading A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE SSD TO EXECUTE AN AGREEMENT WITH THE BLENNERHASSETT ISLAND HISTORICAL STATE PARK. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye. This will lie over until the next meeting of council.
Mr. Newberry brought before council for second reading A RESOLUTION EXPRESSING SUPPORT OF NAT’L CHURCH RESIDENCES APPLICATION FOR LOW-INCOME HOUSING TAX CREDITS. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye. This will lie over until the next meeting of council.
Mr. Newberry brought before council for second reading A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE SSD TO EXECUTE A CONTRACT WITH THE WASHINGTON SOIL & WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT. 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: none – Public Forum closed.
Mr. Martin asked the administration about the facility on Hill Street and if this was still going to happen. According to the administration it should begin sometime this spring. Mr. Martin asked if there was anything we needed to do on this street. According to the Mayor we are good to go.
Mr. Robinson asked about the RITA forms. According to council forms are available at the city building.
Ms. Abdella made a motion to excuse Mrs. Marshall from this evenings meeting. According to Mr. Neff, Mrs. Marshall had an excusable absence. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Ms. Abdella addressed the line exposure on Route 50. This was topic of conversation this last Thursday. If the project comes through this would relocate the portion of the line.
Mr. Ferguson wanted to be sure that everyone is on board for the GIS Mapping. Per Ms. Abdella the money could be allocated from all the different funds and this would be something useful for the city.
Mr. Webster addressed the Port Authority and what it is active in. The Port Authority is not only active in Economic and Community Development but also in the sewer line project. We are now looking at a 3.1 million dollar project. It allows for sewer line repairs and updates. The riverbank is subsiding and we need to take care of this issue. The project should benefit the city and other businesses. Mayor Lorentz stated that the City of Belpre will have no monies in this project.
Mr. Robinson asked about what we are going to do about the ice problem on the river. He had heard about a barge getting stuck on the river today.
Mr. Neff asked about Street Paving on Washington Boulevard and Main Street. The Mayor stated that this wouldn’t happen until 2017. We can try and fix some of these joints on Main Street.
Mr. Neff recognized Fire Chief Sinnett and what they had done for the children sleigh riding. The fire department lit the hillside and served hot chocolate.