Council President Mr. Martin called the April 12, 2021 meeting to order at 7:42 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. Mayor Lorentz gave the invocation and led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Council President Mr. Martin apologized for the meeting starting late. We had additional visitors here this evening however according to the Ohio Code we can still only have ten people in council chambers at a time. Some of the visitors are now in the conference room with the Safety-Service Director and will give their reports through Zoom.
A motion was made by Ms. Riffle to by-pass the reading of the March 22, 2021 minutes and accept as presented. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Reports of City Officials:
Mayor Lorentz reported Rockland Ridge is planning to shoot a commercial highlighting the new facility. The Service Director and I have been asked to be stand-ins just in case Dolly and Clint Eastwood cannot make it.
Jesse Roush from the Port Authority and I completed an interview with WTAP discussing the importance of the Economic Development Plan for Belpre. This report has generated a lot of interest so my hope is that people will get involved for the future of our city.
The Service Director and I met with the Commissioners to decide if we go ahead with the sewer improvements to better handle flows at the west end of town. As earlier reported, it looks like we are moving forward with the line changes at the west end of town.
The legislation for the CHIP Program has been sent to our Law Director’s office and should be sent to committee this evening.
The S.D. and I had a good conversation with SIXMO City Services in reference to the E.D. Plan. Hopefully at our next meeting or first of May you will get a chance to ask questions of them during council. Hopefully we can make this happen before the survey goes out to the community.
The city administration hired a young man to mow this summer. His job as of now is to mow only as a part-time employee. His hours will vary with weather and shelter rentals to best utilize his hours.
The Service Director, Police Chief and I hired a new Patrolman for the City of Belpre. With us tonight is John Bailey Welch our newest recruit. Patrolman Welch was introduced prior to the meeting of council due to the number of people in council chambers.
Mayor Lorentz stated that tomorrow from 4-5PM there will be a tour of Rockland Ridge that all is invited to attend.
Mayor Lorentz also stated that at 2PM Wednesday there will be a commercial made for Rockland Ridge if you would like to attend.
With us tonight is Jon Neff from Bob’s Market and Jackie Cassidy to discuss the beautification efforts for our city.
Jon Neff announced that he was there representing Beautify Belpre. We wanted to be transparent as clear as we can on what our efforts have been since last year in October through this year. Beautify Belpre is the new group that was formed last year to take over the responsibility of flowers in the parks and on many of the cities properties. Starting back in October, 2020 we wrote a grant to the Belpre Community Foundation for around $13,000 for new banners to go up and down Washington Boulevard, Main Street and Farson Street. Those banners are up now. They are orange that fades to yellow with a gazebo and river on it. There is 12 on Main Street, 23 on Washington Boulevard and 5 on Farson Street. The old brackets that were broke were taken down and replaced along with the banners. Those are going into inventory and probably will be put up on Putnam Howe later this year. The time is not yet determined. Coming up is Earth Day on April 22nd, 2021. There are several groups that have said they will be coming to different areas. Most of them have already sponsored flower beds. The Belpre Garden Club sponsored the bed at the end of the toll bridge, Depot Park will be taken care of by Rockland UMC, the Butterfly Garden at Civitan Park will be taken care of by Mutual Bank, the flag pole is the Rotary Club, the Water Fountain is the Alumni Association, the Gazebo at Civitan Park is the Belpre Woman’s Club, Farson Street will be cared for by Boy Scout Troop 91 and the watering this year will be done by Bob’s Market. We are still looking for a sponsor to take charge of that. Last year was a very hot July. We water 28 days out of 31. May 18th is planting day with a rain date of May 20th, 2021.
Jackie Cassidy announced that all baskets at Civitan Park have been sponsored by individuals. In the past they were sponsored by businesses. There are containers at the park that need to be sponsored. We also opened up the containers at Howe’s Grove Park to be sponsored also. We just want to thank everybody. I know that there are several people on the council board that has donated or sponsored. If you know of anybody that would like to donate or sponsor containers at the bottom of the poles they can contact me or Jon. We want to thank the groups that have volunteered to maintain the flowers beds.
Jon Neff stated that we want everyone to know that Beautify Belpre is 100% self-efficient. We are a 501C-3. We are very proud that we were so successful last year and more successfully this year.
Safety-Service Director Mrs. Hoblitzell announced that lights at the ball field will be upgraded within the next couple of weeks. You will be able to push one button and two lights will come on, wait 20 minutes and push the button again and two more will come on and 20 minutes later push the button and two more will come on. This should cut our bill in thirds.
We have students attending Earth Day to help with the clean-up of the parks and hopefully to plant some plants around the building. They will also be cleaning up around the river bank. There will probably be some additional work.
We are in hopes of starting Blennerhassett paving soon. It will be paved from Stone Road up to about 20 feet of Washington Boulevard. The gas company will be coming in to do the gas line at the intersection. We will concrete what is left after the work has been completed.
The showers have been installed at Station 2. We will move our EMS down to that station. This will allow for some separation with the firefighters.
The docks are in.
The pool clean-up will start at the end of the month. We will be caulking it, painting it, and power washing the floors also.
City Auditor Miss Pittenger started that she had no report however she wanted to announce that the third report on the COVID Funds have been entered in and accepted and are now updated.
The State Auditor’s will be in next week Monday through Thursday to go through paperwork.
City Law Director Mr. Webster informed council that the legislation received late today was hot off the press. He stated that he can prepare them but not type them. The two pieces of legislation was regarding golf carts and CHIPS. Mr. Webster stated there will be two additional pieces of legislation at the next meeting. One will be the Nuisance Ordinance and secondly will be the zoning changes. I will need to meet with Judy about some other legislation.
City Treasurer Mrs. Copeland had no report.
Communications and Petitions:
Mr. Martin assigned the following to committee. He asked that the two pieces of legislation be held until the next meeting to allow time for posting and giving council the opportunity to review the legislation. If for any reason they need to be brought forward tonight it will be at the discretion of the committee chair. The golf cart legislation was assigned to Mr. Locke’s committee and CHIPS legislation was assigned to Mrs. Drake’s committee.
Mr. Webster stated that the CHIPS legislation appears as it did two years ago.
Mr. Martin directed the clerk to add the two pieces of legislation to the April 26, 2021 regular meeting of council.
Report of Standing Committee:
Mr. Ferguson Finance/Audit Committee had no report.
Mr. Gant, Police and Fire Committee announced that Chief Terry Williams would like to have a voice vote by council to purchase flashlights totally $1,539.89 and 1,000 rounds of ammo for the police department and have it come from the Law Enforcement Trust Fund. This will be property of the city. Mr. Gant made a motion for the voice vote. The vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Mr. Gant called for a Police and Fire Committee meeting for April 26th, 2021 at 6:30PM for the purpose of discussing the Nuisance Ordinance.
Ms. Riffle Streets, Sidewalks and Storm Sewer had no report.
Mrs. Drake Utilities Committee informed council that her committee met to discuss HomeServe. Mrs. Drake to forward information.
Mr. Shutts, Parks and Recreation Committee had no report.
Mr. Locke Planning and Zoning Committee had no report.
Mr. Locke Economic Development Committee reported that on March 25th, 2021 the Economic Development Committee met with SEO Port Authority Jesse Rauch leading the meeting. He went over The Burton Plan pointing out certain issues to begin with and focus on. One good point of interest, “Where is downtown Belpre?” Good point to consider and appears what was known as Rockland is becoming “down town.” Other key factor is our Civitan Park.
The meeting was closed and we moved into the CIC meeting and the formation of this group along with factors that have to put in place to become official to do business.
Mrs. Miller Rules Committee had no report.
Persons Appearing Before Council – Agenda items only. None
Mr. Ferguson brought before council for third reading A RESOLUTION SUPPLEMENTING YEAR 2021 APPROPRIATIONS. Discussion followed as to the bottom total of Exhibit A. The total being $374,363.59. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Mr. Ferguson moved this be Resolution #19, 2020-2021 and duly passed. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Mrs. Drake brought before council for third reading A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TO EXECUTE A CONTRACT WITH THE WASHINGTON SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Mrs. Drake moved this be Resolution #20, 2020-2021 and duly passed. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Mr. Ferguson brought before council for third reading A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TO EXECUTE AN AGREEMENT FOR MANAGEMENT OF THE BELPRE SENIOR CENTER. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Mr. Ferguson moved this be Resolution #21, 2020-2021 and duly passed. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
NEW BUSINESS: none
PERSONS APPEARING BEFORE COUNCIL:
Mr. Shutts asked the Mayor if we have received any grants on the ballfields. According to the Mayor the information is there however it has not yet been written.
Mr. Shutts addressed the Gas Aggregation at 3.2 and the Electric Aggregation at 3.04. In order to sign up you must contact SOPEC. Mrs. Hoblitzell to give Mr. Shutts the phone number.
Jesse Wonycott asked Mr. Locke if he had received an envelope from her. He informed her that he had received it. Mrs. Wonycott addressed forgiveness on water.
Mr. Gant verified the Nuisance Ordinance meeting with Mrs. Wonycott. The meeting is set for April 26, 2021 at 6:30PM.
Jeff Totten 614 Arrowhead Road, Little Hocking addressed council with ideas for our community. One idea that was addressed was a Dog Park for the City of Belpre. He had spoken to Jesse Rauch regarding the Dog Park. He was looking for suggestions as to where the Dog Park could be. Suggestions were Depot Park and the entrance to Civitan Park where the golf course was facing Washington Boulvard.
Mrs. Hoblitzell suggested behind Fruth Pharmacy.
Mrs. Drake asked about the Eagle Scout and his position with Pickle Ball. Mayor Lorentz stated that he hasn’t heard from the Eagle Scout. He thinks he has a new interest in the Dog Park.
Mrs. Drake had a question for the Auditor however the auditor was no longer with us. The question was that Marietta Memorial Hospital has expanded in numbers and the one’s that work in Belpre have to pay Belpre City Tax. My question is have you seen an increase in the city tax?
Mr. Martin stated that if you have questions about the Dog Park to please contact Mr. Shutts or Mr. Locke.
Mr. Locke asked about the EMS Bids. According to Mayor Lorentz we have had two bids but they were not good. Mrs. Hoblitzell is working on it.
Ms. Riffle asked if they are going to finish striping Washington Boulevard. She was informed that they would be finishing.
Ms. Riffle addressed the cable company with Mr. Webster. Mr. Webster informed Ms. Riffle that the cable company is not controlled by Belpre City Ordinance however the trash pick-up is.
Allison Holland introduced herself to council and informed them that she was running for City Auditor in the upcoming election.
Mrs. Miller informed council that the problem she was having with Suddenlink had been fixed. According to Mayor Lorentz he had sent an email today and it was sent back to him. Mrs. Miller to revisit the problem.
Mr. Gant made a motion to adjourn at 8:28 PM. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.