Council President Mr. Martin called the May 10, 2021 meeting to order at 7:34PM. 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. Gant, Mr. Locke, Mrs. Miller, and Mr. Shutts present.  Also present was Mayor Lorentz, City Law Director Mr. Webster, City Treasurer Mrs. Copeland and Clerk of Council Mrs. Meredith.  Absent from the May 10, 2021 meeting was Councilman Mr. Ferguson and Councilperson Ms. Riffle.  Also absent was Safety-Service Director Mrs. Hoblitzell, and City Auditor Miss Pittenger

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.

A motion was made by Mrs. Drake to by-pass the reading of the April 26, 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 that work on our pool has begun for the season.  After research on other communities the pool manager and Service Director has decided to use the punch card method in lieu of the passes.  With this in play you cannot share your pass with others as now you will have a punch card with so many punches paid.  If you take guests, then use your card, it works, it is ok and legal.  An example is with your paperwork.

Muskingum Valley Chamber held its award banquet on May 5th.  Our recipient for the outstanding Public Service Award this year was Amanda Townsend one of our Dispatchers and first Responders.

ODOT is gearing up to schedule Washington Blvd. in the spring of 2022.  ODOT is suggesting that we go to a three (3) lane configuration with the center lane designated as a turning lane.  If anybody has an interest in getting involved.  I will set up a town hall style meeting to make sure our businesses are aware and onboard.  We have a ZOOM Meeting scheduled on May 17th at 10 am with the ODOT planners.

Washington County is now back to a yellow status according to the Governors COVID updates.  The girls in the office have asked that I keep the building as is due to an employee being out for an extended period, and one person cannot be at the front desk and keep payroll and water bills straight at the same time.

Sunday night the Belpre area Veterans turned our city blue in support of our Police Officers.  Hopefully, some of you noticed the veterans selling blue bulbs over the past month.  The proceeds of the sale were presented to our chief in the amount of $1,680 for his department.

We have conducted interviews for the Wastewater opening.  Hopefully, physicals and background checks are positive.

Late note, the elementary school was evacuated for a bomb threat this am.  Our officers responded.

Mrs. Drake stated that three lanes on Washington Boulevard was a wise idea and very feasible to the city.  Mayor Lorentz stated that he would like to have a town hall meeting before this is put into place so citizens can voice their opinion.

Mr. Locke asked who would make the final decision about the three lanes on Washington Boulevard. Would it be ODOT or would it be us?  According to the Mayor the city would make the decision.

The Safety-Service Director was present however she had to leave due to a family emergency.

City Auditor Miss Pittenger was absent.  No report was given in her absence.

City Law Director Mr. Webster was late attending the meeting however he did attend and had no report.

City Treasurer Mrs. Copeland had no report this evening.

Mr. Martin stated that he would hold the Reports of City Officials open until the City Law Director got here.  He was running late this evening.

Communications and Petitions:

Mr. Martin assigned the following to the Finance Audit Committee.  Since Mr. Ferguson was not present at the meeting Mr. Martin gave the legislation to Mr. Gant.  The legislation assigned was A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR OF THE CITY OF BELPRE TO ENTER INTO A FRANCHISE AGREEMENT WITH OHIO POWER COMPANY.

Report of Standing Committee: 

Mr. Ferguson Finance/Audit Committee was absent.  Mr. Martin stated that he spoke with Mr. Ferguson and he was ill but did not have a report for this evening.  Mr. Gant made a motion to add to tonight’s agenda for first reading A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR OF THE CITY OF BELPRE TO ENTER INTO A FRANCHISE AGREEMENT WITH OHIO POWER COMPANY.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Mr. Gant, Police and Fire Committee reported that his committee met prior to this evenings meeting at 6:30PM to discuss the Ambulance Service for the City of Belpre.  Discussed was whether or not we continue with ProCare or bring the service back to Belpre.  It was decided to have a voice vote this evening to put in the hands of the administration for Mrs. Hoblitzell to review.  Mr. Gant made a motion for a voice vote to place in the hands of Mrs. Hoblitzell for review to see which contract works best for the city. Mrs. Miller stated that this is the administrations duty anyhow.  Mayor Lorentz stated that since the contract will affect the whole city I feel that it is important that we agree.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Mr. Martin stated that once Mrs. Hoblitzell reviews the contracts she will bring it back to council for legislative action.

Ms. Riffle Streets, Sidewalks and Storm Sewer was absent.  No report was given in her absence.

Mrs. Drake Utilities Committee had no report.  Mrs. Drake stated that tonight Luke Sulfridge with (SOPEC) was with us on ZOOM to explain what happens come June with the Aggregation program.  According to Mr. Sulfridge the price will change in June.  The price will be 5.64 for the next two years.  The price now is 4.867.  Mr. Sulfridge stated that he had spoken to Mr. Ferguson and he is on board.  Any non-profit can be involved also in the rates.  Prices are going up around the board.  Ohio is in a better situation. Other discussion followed.

Mr. Martin asked Mr. Sulfridge the next time he speaks before council if he could speak a little slower so everyone can understand it a little better.  Mr. Sulfridge stated that he would do that.

Mrs. Wilfong will be with us at the next meeting regarding Ohio Power Company. Mrs. Drake stated that this agreement will allow AEP to work with right of ways on their poles and lines.

Mr. Shutts, Parks and Recreation Committee had no report.

Mr. Locke Planning and Zoning Committee had no report.

Mr. Locke Economic Development Committee called a Committee meeting for May 24, 2021 at 6:30 PM for the purpose of discussing (SIXMO) which is a company that will discuss our Economic Development Plan.  I left a space for Mr. Ferguson if he needs to call a meeting from 7-7:30.

I left the Golf Cart Legislation lie awaiting more information.

Mrs. Miller Rules Committee had no report.

Persons Appearing Before Council – Agenda items only.  None

Unfinished Business:

Mrs. Drake brought before council for second reading A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TO ENTER INTO A COMMUNITY HOUSING IMPACT AND PRESERVATION PROGRAM PARTNER AGREEMENT WITH THE WASHINGTON COUNTY COMMISSINERS.  Discussion followed.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.  This will lie over until the next meeting of council.  Mrs. Drake told Mrs. Miller that to her knowledge we haven’t got any final report on this.

NEW BUSINESS:

Mr. Gant brought before council for first reading A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR OF THE CITY OF BELPRE TO ENTER INTO A FRANCHISE AGREEMENT WITH OHIO POWER COMPANY.  Discussion followed.  Mrs. Drake stated that this agreement will allow AEP to work with right of ways on their poles and lines.

Mr. Webster talked about Ohio Power merging with American Electric Power (AEP).

A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.  This will lie over until the next meeting of council.

PERSONS APPEARING BEFORE COUNCIL: 

Jesse Wonycott asked Mr. Locke about his committee meeting.  Mr. Locke stated that the City of Belpre, the Chamber of Commerce and Community Industrial Corporation paid $35,000 to Burton Planning to come up with a plan for Belpre in order to improve itself.  We are in hopes that in the committee meeting SIXMO will help us decide what parts of this plan will best help Belpre in a financial way. Mrs. Drake further explained the separation and the legalities of the plan.

Mr. Gant made a motion to excuse Mr. Ferguson from council this evening.  Mr. Ferguson contacted Mr. Martin and told him he was ill.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Mr. Gant made a motion to excuse Ms. Riffle from council this evening.  Mr. Locke was unable to contact Ms. Riffle and Council President Mr. Martin stated that he had not heard from Ms. Riffle.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Mr. Webster reviewed a letter regarding liquor control.  He stated that we didn’t need to do anything with it unless there was an objection whether or not to renew their permits.

ADJOURN: 

Ms. Riffle made a motion to adjourn at 8:21 PM.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.