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. with Mr. Neff welcoming everyone to this evening’s meeting.  The roll was called with the following members present:  Ms. Abdella, Mr. Baker, Mrs. Marshall, Mr. Martin, Mr. Sinnett, and Mr. Wallace present.  Also present were Mayor Lorentz, City Auditor Miss Pittenger, City Law Director Mr. Webster, Treasurer Mr. McAfee and Clerk of Council Mrs. Meredith.  Absent from the February 27, 2012 meeting were Safety-Service Director Mr. Ferguson and Council person Mr. Robinson.

At this time, Mr. Neff asked that everyone please stand for the prayer and remain standing for the Pledge of Allegiance.  Mr. Neff gave the invocation.

Mr. Sinnett made a motion to accept the minutes of February 13, 2012 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 presented the below report before council:

The Belpre Area Chamber held its quarterly Chamber Luncheon on February 16th. It is amazing how many new business contacts were in attendance. Hopefully with the new buildings on Farson St. the Marcellus Shale and other things going on, we will see a growth in business throughout our city.

On Monday the 20th I spoke with an appraiser about the firehouse and land on Farson St. We are nearing completion time for the hospital and need to know the worth of our facility.

On Tuesday the 21st I was invited to meet with the US Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari in hopes of defending our MPO. In my opinion no thought was given to the threshold population being raised so drastically for smaller communities like ours. As he so cautiously explained, the new legislation offers us an option of retaining our MPO. You guessed it, all funding disappears and lands square on our shoulders.

Over the past few weeks I have had numerous calls about the Motel on the Boulevard. Most people are afraid of making an offer due to costs of disposal and demolition fees. One company gave me an estimate that is half of what has been quoted to me by developers. Maybe now an offer will surface and this area can be cleaned up. There has been three different parties inquire over the past week or two.

On Wednesday February 22nd I received a notice from the EPA stating that our sewer plant seems to be well in compliance. They did however mention the Scada System and oil leaks on the generator. Both need to be addressed and reported back to EPA.

Area contractors are starting to show up to bid on our CDBG project this year. As you remember we are again trying to address poor sidewalk conditions on city right-a ways. Some locations are on Washington Blvd. and others on Main St.

On Saturday February 25th our area residents and churches celebrated Black History Month with a luncheon and guest speaker. My wife and I were invited and truly enjoyed the afternoon.

This has not been the best of days for our equipment. One of our cruisers is in Marietta with what could be a bad engine. The new pickup we purchased for the water department is now in the body shop as a large truck backed over the front end. Thank goodness our meter reader was not injured.

Tonight we held a meeting prior to council to discuss with our small business owners the large increase in electric bills and what we could do to assist. This was our chance to have a knowledgeable speaker tonight to help us all understand where we are and what could be done to off-set such an economic deterrent. Until AEP and the PUCO make a decision we will not know what the local rates will be. My goal with tonight’s meeting is hopefully educational and will cause us to pay attention to future rulings and discussions on rates. It is a given that our rates will go up. Nobody knows how much.

As we go through this week let us remember Mr. Robinson and wife Clara, as her sister died late last week. Mr. Hines our former Auditor also lost his Mother-in-law last week.

Just a reminder for council, I will be absent for the next council meeting.

Carol McAfee of Pride Avenue addressed council regarding the sale of the motel on Washington Boulevard.  Mayor Lorentz stated that the property was to be sold on the Court House steps however there were no bidders.  The question also came up about the building having asbestos.  Mayor Lorentz stated that it was being checked out.

Safety-Service Director Mr. Ferguson was absent.

City Auditor Miss Pittenger reported that on February 8, 2012 the cost of residential utility deposits rates raised from $80 to $100.  This was due to the request of landlords.  The State Auditor’s are in and have begun their process.  They will be with us for about a week.  Seats are still available for the bus trip to Bob’s Market on March 31 if anyone is interested.  We are working with ODOT on a Gateway Grant for Belpre in Bloom.  ODOT will be here for a site visitation.  The RITA transition seems to be going very well.

City Law Director Mr. Webster reported that his office has drafted 2 pieces of legislation that are before you tonight.  These two pieces are:  ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ORDINANCE FOR CALENDAR AND FISCAL YEAR 2012, and  A RESOLUTION TO AUTHORIZE AND DIRECT THE MAYOR TO SUBMIT AN APPLICATION FOR A GRANT TO CONDUCT A COMMUNITY HOUSING IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM.

Mayor’s Court still goes on fabulously.

Treasurer Mr. McAfee reported that a copy of the Treasurer’s Report was distributed prior to council and is awaiting council approval.  A signed copy has been given to the clerk.  At this time Ms. Abdella 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:

The following correspondences were received:

Mr. Neff stated that there was a hand-out on his desk from Ohio Power Company formerly known as Columbus Southern Power Company regarding electric rate increases if anyone would like to take a look at it.

There is an application for absentee voter’s ballot for anyone that is unable to go to the polls and vote.

Mr. Neff read a letter of resignation from Mr. Baker. Due to health issues Mr. Baker has decided to resign from Belpre City Council.  With much regret Mr. Neff accepted his resignation.

 

Mr. Neff assigned to committee the following:

ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ORDINANCE FOR CALENDAR AND FISCAL YEAR 2012. – Ms. Abdella – Finance and Audit

A RESOLUTION TO AUTHORIZE AND DIRECT THE MAYOR TO SUBMIT AN APPLICATION FOR A GRANT TO CONDUCT A COMMUNITY HOUSING IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM – Mrs. Marshall – Planning and Zoning

Report of Standing Committee:

 

Ms. Abdella reported that the Finance Audit Committee met on February 22nd, 2012 for the purpose of discussing the ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ORDINANCE FOR CALENDAR AND FISCAL YEAR 2012 with the additions that were brought forward a few weeks ago.  At this time, Ms. Abdella made a motion to add to tonight’s agenda for first reading ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ORDINANCE FOR CALENDAR AND FISCAL YEAR 2012.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.  Ms. Abdella also requested that the SSD present a report to council on all the different departments.  She would like to know what the statuses of the department are since Mr. Ferguson has not been in attendance.

Mr. Sinnett, Police and Fire Committee announced that he had been in contact with the Mayor and Chief Clevenger regarding the police cruisers.  Once the appropriations are in place we can move forward.

Mr. Wallace had no report for Streets, Sidewalks and Storm Sewer.

Mr. Robinson was absent.  No report was given in his absence.

Mr. Martin reported that Parks and Recreation Committee met on February 27, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss Repealing Ordinance 965.01.  It was the request of his committee to add to the next council meeting agenda on March 12, 2012.  Mr. Martin thanked Mr. Baker for all his service to the City of Belpre.  He will be greatly missed.

Mayor Lorentz spoke about Mr. Baker and also thanked him for his time and service to the City of Belpre.  Well wishes were also extended.  Mr. Baker spoke briefly.

Mr. Neff stated that the Democratic Central Committee would select a replacement for the seat held by Mr. Baker.

Mrs. Marshall reported that Planning and Zoning met on February 27, 2012 at 7:15 p.m. for the purpose of discussing Transportation Courier Service.  Discussion took place with the only concern being a fleet of vehicles.  This is understood it would only be one vehicle.  A vote from Council was taken with everyone agreeing on the Transportation and Courier Service being allowed to operate out of Mr. Bernie McQuade’s home located at 923 Florence Street.  This can now go to the Planning and Zoning Commission for approval.  At this time, Mrs. Marshall made a motion to add A RESOLUTION TO AUTHORIZE AND DIRECT THE MAYOR TO SUBMIT AN APPLICATION FOR A GRANT TO CONDUCT A COMMUNITY HOUSING IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Mrs. Marshall had no report for Economic Development.

There was no report given for the Rules Committee.

Persons Appearing Before Council – Agenda items only.   None

Unfinished Business:

Ms. Abdella brought before council for second reading A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TO EXECUTE A CONTRACT WITH THE ATHENS CITY-COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT FOR A PART-TIME SANITARIAN.  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 SAFETY-SERVICE DIRECTOR 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. Wallace brought before council for second reading A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE SAFETY-SERVICE DIRECTOR TO EXECUTE A CONTRACT WITH THE WASHINGTON SOIL AND 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.

Mr. Wallace brought before council for second reading AN ORDINANCE CONTROLLING CONSTRUCTION SITE AND POST CONSTRUCTION SOIL EROSION, SEDIMENT, AND OTHER WASTES AND STORM WATER RUNOFF.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.  This will lie over until the next meeting of council.

Mr. Wallace brought before council for second reading PRELIMINARY RESOLUTION REGARDING FARSON STREET TURN LANE. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.  This will lie over until the next meeting of council.

Mr. Wallace brought before council for second reading PRELIMINARY RESOLUTION REGARDING BELPRE SIDEWALK SRTS.  Discussion followed to amend the legislation.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Mr. Sinnett brought before council for second reading AN ORDINANCE TO APPROVE THE PLAN OF OPERATION AND GOVERNANCE FOR THE CITY OF BELPRE NATURAL GAS AGGREGATION PROGRAM.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.  This will lie over until the next meeting of council.

Mr. Robinson brought before council for second reading AN ORDINANCE TO APPROVE THE PLAN OF OPERATION AND GOVERNANCE FOR THE CITY OF BELPRE ELECTRIC AGGREGATION PROGRAM.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.  This will lie over until the next meeting of council.

New Business:

Ms. Abdella brought before council for first reading ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ORDINANCE FOR CALENDAR AND FISCAL YEAR 2012.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.  This will lie over until the next meeting of council.

Mrs. Marshall brought before council for first reading A RESOLUTION TO AUTHORIZE AND DIRECT THE MAYOR TO SUBMIT AN APPLICATION FOR A GRANT TO CONDUCT A COMMUNITY HOUSING IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.  This will lie over until the next meeting of council.

A Special Meeting of Council was called for March 5, 2012 at 7:15 p.m. for the purpose of discussing AN ORDINANCE TO APPROVE THE PLAN OF OPERATION AND GOVERNANCE FOR THE CITY OF BELPRE ELECTRIC AGGREGATION PROGRAM. 

Mr. Martin made a motion to excuse Mr. Robinson from tonight’s meeting due to a death in his family.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Persons Appearing Before Council:

Chester Lockhart, 810 Westview Drive appeared before council with concerns of car canopies in our city.

Joyce Lorentz, 809 Mary Street, wished the Mayor a Happy Birthday.

Mr. Wallace spoke briefly about Dana Drive.

Adjourn:

Mrs. Marshall made a motion to adjourn at 8:30 p.m.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.