Council President Mr. Martin called the April 26, 2021 meeting to order at 7:32 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 Ms. Riffle to by-pass the reading of the April 12, 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 the S.D. and I along with a small group attended the guided tour of Rockland Ridges. This is an amazing addition to Belpre. On Thursday we took part in their new commercial. Hopefully, you have viewed it on WTAP.
We met with ODOT on the 15th to review our responsibilities as well as the state. The folks we deal with now are very helpful and willing to help where needed.
April 19th I joined a caravan or thank you parade for Frank Dotson who is retiring from the Red Cross after 27years. We met at the Sr. Center and drove past his Boulevard Drive home showing our appreciation.
Over the past week or so I have received a few calls about grass being blown into the streets. Please remind your neighbors of the ordinance in place and the penalty for doing so.
Thursday was Arbor Day and Belpre celebrated 26 years as a Tree City U.S.A. The Tree commission planted a tree at Depot Park and completed a cleanup day. A proclamation was prepared by my office to commemorate the day. A plaque will be installed at this tree in memory of Mrs. Collette. On Friday, a group of students helped us mulch at Civitan and clean up the old Putt Putt getting ready for spring activities. This area may be perfect for the Pickle Ball courts everyone is asking for.
The resignation of Marian Duvall from the Zoning Appeals board has left a vacancy I need to fill. Mr. Dana Fouss has agreed to serve the remainder of Ms. Duvall’s term. Tonight, I am needing a voice vote to approve Dana to this post.
The Service Director and I took a tour of Harbor Point in Williamstown. This is an amazing new addition to our area. If anyone gets the chance to view, I truly recommend it.
This Friday morning, I will be out of the office to conduct interviews for seniors applying for college scholarships.
The new Police Cruiser is in the parking lot if council would like to take a look.
Mr. Ferguson made a motion by voice vote to approve Dana Fouss to serve the remainder of Ms. Duvall’s term on the Zoning Appeals Board. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Safety-Service Director Mrs. Hoblitzell announced that the street department is getting quotes to replace playground items that are in disrepair, including swings, mulch, replacing bolts and nuts that have caused playground equipment to fall apart.
A dump truck was delivered for us to try out. It is bright yellow, but we may be saving a several thousand dollars on this truck.
Repainted trash cans of orange and black are being placed at the boat ramp and lower part of the old boat ramp.
Had a conversation with Jeff Totten after last council meeting about a dog park. Trying to come up with the perfect spot for this park. Any suggestions from council members, please let me know.
Mark Mondo and Abe Sellers who now own Belpre Market Square gave me a drawing of the shopping center where the old Kroger was located. I have placed the drawing on Facebook. It is beautiful! Mark and Abe are also the sponsors for this year’s prize for the Youth Shooting Contest that is put on by the Belpre Police Department. We truly appreciate his sponsorship!
The Mayor, David Schafer and I met with representatives of ODOT. They went over our responsibilities for maintaining the highways in our city. This year we will receive $425,000 from the state for the upkeep of these 3 highways.
Allie Terrell with HomeServe sent a survey that I have completed. This will allow them to send a note on their services for the citizens.
Mrs. Miller asked for an update on the gas line on Hill Street that was supposed to be repaired in April. According to Mrs. Hoblitzell they have had some delays but would be there soon to complete.
Mrs. Miller also asked Mrs. Hoblitzell if she had been contacted about the slip on Criss Street. Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that she has not been contacted but asked that Mrs. Miller refer the citizen to her.
Mr. Ferguson stated that Mrs. Hoblitzell had mentioned State Route 7, Washington Boulevard and Main Street. You said that there is $425,000 for the upkeep of these three highways. Mr. Ferguson asked Mrs. Hoblitzell, “What this is ere marked for?” Per Mrs. Hoblitzell it is for maintaining these three roads whether it be mowing, repairing, stripping, guard rail replacement, etc. Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that Lisa told her that 7 ½% goes to the state highway, which I believe is Route 7, and 92 ½% goes into the street department. State highway also includes Main Street and Washington Boulevard.
City Auditor Miss Pittenger reported that the State Auditors were here three day’s last week doing the things they need to do. It is going okay. We continue to have software issues. One issue is our fixed asset report. I have left messages everyday with the person who is supposed to be working on this. We may have to spend a few thousand dollars to get someone else to fix the problem if they don’t step up to the plate. They drug their feet last year until June and we had to ask for an extension to our audit. Other than that everything is going okay.
Tonight I have the March Utility Adjustment Report that needs to be approved by council. It does appear on the website. Mr. Ferguson made a motion to accept the Utility Adjustment Report for the month of March as presented. Mr. Ferguson asked if it would be possible to get copies of the Utility Adjustment Report since we are back in session. He would like to see copies emailed to all of council, posted on-line and copies placed at the back table. Miss Pittenger to take care of this request. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Ms. Pittenger also asked for a voice vote by council approving the transfer of $98,000 from the General Fund. The funds will be distributed accordingly. Fifty thousand will be transferred to the Street Department, $45,000 to the pool and $3,000 to Mayor’s Court. Mr. Ferguson made a motion to accept the funds transfer. There was a question regarding the additional $5,000 to the pool. Mrs. Hoblitzell stated the pool reflected $40,000. According to Miss Pittenger, $5,000 additional to the pool was made when we passed the last supplemental. Mr. Ferguson stated that if you go back to the Treasurer’s Report you will see negative numbers in these areas. This is part of the 2021 Appropriations passed in December. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
City Law Director Mr. Webster had no report. If anyone needs to contact me I’m out of town but you can contact Kim McFee at my office.
City Treasurer Mrs. Copeland reported that the March Treasurer’s Report is before you this evening and is needing approval by council. Mr. Ferguson made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report for the month of March. Mr. Ferguson asked if it would be possible to get copies of the Treasurers Report since we are back in session. He would like to see copies emailed to all of council, posted on-line and copies placed at the back table. Miss Pittenger stated that she would also take care of this request. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Communications and Petitions:
Mr. Martin assigned the following to committee. Since Ms. Riffle is going to add this to tonight’s agenda I’m going ahead and assigning A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE SAFETY-SERVICE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A SALT CONTRACT WITH THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION. (ODOT) to her committee.
Report of Standing Committee:
Mr. Ferguson Finance/Audit Committee had no report.
Mr. Gant, Police and Fire Committee announced that his committee met prior to this evening’s meeting to discuss the Nuisance Ordinance. We had a long discussion on this. It was the decision of the committee to place this ordinance on hold for further discussion.
Mr. Gant called for a Police and Fire Committee meeting for May 10th, 2021 at 6:30PM for the purpose of discussing the ambulance bids. I would also like to thank the fire department for how they handled the fire at the condos.
Ms. Riffle Streets, Sidewalks and Storm Sewer had no report. Ms. Riffle made a motion to add to tonight’s agenda for first reading A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE SAFETY-SERVICE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A SALT CONTRACT WITH THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION. (ODOT) A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Mrs. Drake Utilities Committee informed council that her committee met to discuss HomeServe on April 12, 2021 at 7 PM. Present at the meeting was Mrs. Drake, Chair, Mr. Locke, Ms. Riffle, Mr. Gant and Mr. Shutts along with Allie Terrell from HomeServe. Our Mayor and Safety-Service Director were also present.
We discussed the advantages of the service to cover water leaks etc. The service would be a minimal cost to the customer.
Allie answered questions on the service to customers and how it would be to their advantage on out of pocket costs. She then forwarded the email link to me so council members could take a closer look at what they provide to communities. I in turn sent the link to all council members.
The service is most beneficial to communities due to aged infrastructure.
The Prospect Overview form needs completed by the City so Allie can come back with an analysis. Once the data is received she will provide us with the outcome.
There are 31 communities in Ohio that have enrolled in this service. Marietta has recently enrolled for their city.
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 April 22nd, 2021 I attended a meeting of the Belpre Area Community Foundation along with the Mayor and Mrs. Drake. There was further discussion as to where we are doing with the Burton Plan. We have a very long range plan and localities. I’m excited to see what the future holds. Things are building in Belpre. I have seen a couple of new businesses in Belpre. I think things are starting to get back to somewhat normal. Anymore upcoming developments I will bring to council. Mr. Locke sent me an email stating that is was not a meeting with the Belpre Area Community Foundation but was a “Belpre Shareholders” meeting.
Mrs. Miller asked if the new businesses coming in met with the Economic Development Team before coming in. Mr. Locke stated that he was not aware of it if they did. Mrs. Miller stated that this is some of the problem. We don’t know what businesses are here until signs start going up. They go ahead and get their business license in Washington County at the Court House I think. We don’t know what is going in until it is already in. I don’t know what you could do about this. For instance there is a business going in by the Dollar Store. Mrs. Miller asked the Mayor about the business license. According to the Mayor we do not issue the business license however we are aware of what businesses are coming in.
Mr. Locke stated that the meeting he went to last week there were four County Commissioner there. They are building a better repour with the city. We need more communication with Marietta. This is something I will bring up at the next meeting. Mr. Locke addressed some of the businesses that recently opened and some of the businesses that are going in. Some of the businesses are the RV Sales, Pizza Business going in beside Dollar Tree, the new businesses that are going into Washington Square, etc. Mayor Lorentz stated that there will be a Mexican Restaurant going in where Steve Null’s business was if the liquor sales passes on May 4th, 2021
Mrs. Miller Rules Committee had no report.
Mr. Martin stated that there are a lot of businesses that do not want their names out until they are ready to go.
Mrs. Drake stated that there is an ordinance on businesses however we have not utilized it.
Mrs. Hoblitzell informed Mrs. Drake that we are starting to utilize this ordinance. When business permits are issued we are notified of the businesses. This is one way we know when businesses are coming in.
Persons Appearing Before Council – Agenda items only.
William Cassidy 824 Belrock Avenue, Belpre addressed the first reading on AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING RULES, REGULATIONS, AND REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS RELATIVE TO THE OPERATION OF GOLF CARTS WITHIN THE CITY OF BELPRE. Mr. Cassidy stated that he read the ordinance and he doesn’t feel that the city needs to go down this road. He asked that council vote no on this legislation.
Sgt. Stump addressed golf carts and crossing of highways and inspection issues. Sgt. Stump stated that to his knowledge there is no one in the police department certified to do inspections. I don’t even know what the inspection process would take. There are other departments in the State that can do these inspections. Also addressed was persons crossing Washington Boulevard.
Mr. Ferguson, Ms. Riffle, Mr. Gant, Mr. and Mrs. Kuhn, Mr. Cassidy, Mrs. Miller, members of council, Sgt. Stump and Mayor Lorentz addressed pros and cons of golf carts within the City of Belpre. Mayor Lorentz stated that he is not a fan of it however he will not fight it. It is up to city council.
Mr. Martin and Mrs. Drake both recognized Mr. Locke for the work he did on this ordinance.
Mr. Webster pointed out that we were having discussion before it was brought up for first reading. We need to have first reading before the discussion.
Mr. Martin stated that it was discussion because it appears of the agenda.
Unfinished Business: None
Mr. Locke brought before council for first reading AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING RULES, REGULATIONS, AND REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS RELATIVE TO THE OPERATION OF GOLF CARTS WITHIN THE CITY OF BELPRE, OHIO. Discussion followed. Ms. Riffle stated that her goal is to support her police department.
Mr. Ferguson made a motion to table AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING RULES, REGULATIONS, AND REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS RELATIVE TO THE OPERATION OF GOLF CARTS WITHIN THE CITY OF BELPRE, OHIO for further discussion. A vote was taken with Mr. Ferguson and Mr. Gant voting aye, Mrs. Drake, Mr. Locke, Mrs. Miller, Ms. Riffle and Mr. Shutts voting nay. The vote was 2 (aye), 5 (nays). Motion was denied.
A vote was taken on the first reading of AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING RULES, REGULATIONS, AND REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS RELATIVE TO THE OPERATION OF GOLF CARTS WITHIN THE CITY OF BELPRE, OHIO. Discussion followed. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye except for Ms. Riffle and Mr. Shutts. The vote was (5) ayes, and 2 (nays). Mr. Locke stated that he would like to let it lie. Mr. Locke stated that he will work with Mr. Webster to take care of the concerns. This will probably not be brought back to council.
Mrs. Drake brought before council for first reading A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TO ENTER INTO A COMMUNITY HOUSING IMPACT AND PRESERVATION PROGRAM PARTNER AGREEMENT WITH THE WASHINGTON COUNTY COMMISSINERS. Mrs. Drake stated that she did not call a committee meeting on this as it is a continuation from before. Discussion followed. Mr. Ferguson verified the date that this would go into effect. He was informed that it would go into effect at the end of the year. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye. Mayor to verify dates. This will lie over until the next meeting of council.
Ms. Riffle brought before council for first reading A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE SAFETY-SERVICE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A SALT CONTRACT WITH THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION. (ODOT) Discussion followed. Mayor Lorentz stated that if we don’t pass this legislation the cost would be $60 more per ton if not approved by the end of the month. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Ms. Riffle moved to suspend the rule of council on three different days to allow for the second and third readings of A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE SAFETY-SERVICE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A SALT CONTRACT WITH THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION. (ODOT) A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Ms. Riffle moved the second and third readings of A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE SAFETY-SERVICE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A SALT CONTRACT WITH THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION. (ODOT) A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Ms. Riffle moved this be Resolution #22, 2020-2021 and duly passed. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
PERSONS APPEARING BEFORE COUNCIL:
Mr. Cassidy 824 Belrock Avenue, Belpre thanked Mr. Locke for all the work he has done on Golf Carts. I would also like to thank Mrs. Hoblitzell for the storm sewer drain on Belrock and Patricia Street. Could we get metal grating over the drain to keep children or someone else from falling into the area before paving is done. Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that they would not wait until the paving is done.
Ms. Riffle asked if we have an opening day for Rockland Ridge. She was informed that it would be mid-May. Mayor Lorentz stated that he doesn’t have a definite date as of yet.
Ms. Riffle asked Mrs. Hoblitzell if we have a start date for paving Washington Boulevard. She was informed that paving wouldn’t be done until 2022. Ms. Riffle asked if we will have line stripping done since we aren’t getting paved. According to Ms. Hoblitzell the line stripping would be done.
Ms. Riffle asked about the Pickle Ball being put where the Putt Putt Golf Course is however you talked about it being a business opportunity. Mayor Lorentz stated that it wasn’t on Washington Boulevard. It was the Putt Putt next to the Belpre Pool.
Mr. Ferguson addressed property at 504 Walnut Street. There is trash, garbage, etc. It is on the East side of Walnut Street and West of 5th Street. Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that she would take a look at it tomorrow.
Mr. Kuhn asked about paving of Blennerhassett. Will it be done all at once? Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that Shelley and Sands would not be doing the paving this year. It will be done by McKee Paving Company and should begin the end of May. Signs will be put out in plenty of time informing residents that they will be starting. Mr. Kuhn asked if they will be doing anything about the manhole covers. Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that they will address. She also stated that they will address the bad spot in front of the Impound Lot. Also addressed by Mr. Kuhn was the drainage issue. Mrs. Hoblitzell to take a look at it and get in contact with Mr. Kuhn.
Ms. Riffle made a motion to adjourn at 8:55 PM. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.