Council President Protem Ms. Riffle called the August 24, 2020 meeting to order at 7:33 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 was not present however City Prosecutor Mr. Andrew Webster was present in his absence, City Treasurer Mrs. Copeland and Clerk of Council Mrs. Meredith.  Absent from the meeting was President of Council Mr. Martin.

Council President Protem Ms. Riffle 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.

Mr. Ferguson made a motion to accept the minutes of August 10, 2020 as presented and by-pass the reading.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye. Motion carried.

Reports of City Officials:

Mayor Lorentz reported that last week I was part of a phone conversation with the Lieutenant Governor and a few other Mayors from Southeastern Ohio. In the conversation was our representative from OPWC. At the first opportunity I asked if our emergency funding was accepted just to be told it was not, all funds had been earmarked elsewhere. Thank goodness that was unfounded as we were granted just under $90,000.00 for Dragstrip.

August 31st is the Official Ribbon Cutting for Lapita’s Mexican food truck. If you drive by it seems that a lot of us were just waiting on her opening day. All reports good at this time.

Governor DeWine is allowing the Sr. Centers to re-open with limited activities September 21st. This will make a lot of our residents very happy.

The Rotary Club of Belpre held its annual golf outing on August 7th and 8th. This was very successful and I received confirmation that they were going to purchase new state flags for the boat ramp area. Many thanks for this generous donation to our city and parks.

Marietta, Williamstown, Vienna, Parkersburg and Belpre have decided on October 31st for Trick or Treat. Time will be 6 until 7:30 PM.

Mr. Shutts and I have a request for the use of our bleachers at Civitan Park. The use is for football season only and will be returned. In the conversation they agree to weld any bad places in the metal structure and replace boards that are needed. If nobody has a problem with this I will call this week and confirm council approval.

Mrs. Drake made a motion for a voice vote to allow the bleachers at Civitan Park to be used for the football season at Warren High School.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Mayor Lorentz told Mr. Webster that he would draw up a waiver in regards to taking the bleachers from Civitan Park to Warren for the football season.  Mayor Lorentz to prepare waiver and take to Mr. Webster to review.

Safety-Service Director Mrs. Hoblitzell reported that the street department is starting to mark the no parking areas yellow in the residential neighborhoods.  The fire department is concerned with a few places they are unable to get through when called for services.

I may have mentioned this before, the fire department is flushing hydrants, weed eating around them and will be painting them all red.

Rockland Ridge Transitional Home is moving right along.  They have all foundations and underground plumbing installed and are starting to pour the floor slabs.

We received a grant from OPWC for Drag Strip Road repairs.  We are getting a 90%-10% grant and the repairs should only cost the city $9900.  Dave Ferguson will be talking about this more in his report.

Met with Greg Turk to go over the drawings for the installation of the high pressure gas line being installed through Belpre.  I am meeting with Dominion tomorrow to walk the sites.

Pioneer Pipe has installed the automatic light switches in the park restrooms, they are currently installing the auto flush fixtures for the toilets and sinks.

Met with Jennifer White with The Schwendeman Agency about pricing for health insurance for the City.  She is looking in to pricing for us.

Luke Sulfridge with SOPEC (Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council) obtained pricing for our energy and came in with a lower rate than we currently have with AEP Energy.  He will be asking for a meeting prior to the next council meeting to answer any questions anyone may have.  If council sees this as a good opportunity, there will be a resolution to use SOPEC.  They are a non-profit and have the ability to get low rates for municipalities. Judy, I will email you the information as I receive it.

If you know of anyone wanting to open a business, build any type structure, residential or commercial, remodel etc., please make them aware they need to call and schedule a meeting prior to getting started.  Barb Bradley, Sanitarian & food licensing, Kathy Davis with soil and water, Leonard – Code Enforcement Officer, the Mayor and myself want to have these meetings to help anyone wanting to build or start a business get all information up front before they start.

The Senior Center will be allowed to start operations September 21, 2020.  In the interim, they will be having small exercise classes once a week and aerobic classes twice a week outdoors.

That’s all I have Mr. President.

City Auditor Miss Pittenger reported that the Adjustment Report for June and July have been on line since the last meeting.  I would like to have approval by council this evening.

I also sent to council members last Friday a request for the ASCME Union Contract.  It was finally signed in June.  This needs to be approved by council before I can do the financial things that need to be done.  Everyone is waiting on this.

So tonight I need two approvals:  One for the June and July Adjustment Report and two for the signed ASCME Contract.

Mrs. Drake made a motion to accept the June and July Adjustment Reports. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Mr. Ferguson made a motion to approve the signed ASCME Contract that was signed in June.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

City Prosecutor had no report for the Law Director’s Office.

City Treasurer Mrs. Copeland reported that the June and July Treasurers Report was placed on line on the day of our last meeting.  Since they didn’t appear until late that day we wanted to give folks the time to review.  At this time I would like approval on the June and July Treasurers Report as presented.  Mr. Ferguson 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:

Ms. Riffle assigned to the Finance/Audit Committee A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR, MICHAEL LORENTZ, TO PREPARE AND SUBMIT AN APPLICATION TO PARTICIPATE IN THE OHIO PUBLIC WORKS COMMISSION STATE CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT AND/OR LOCAL TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM(S) AND TO EXECUTE CONTRACTS AS REQUIRED.  This piece of legislation is for repairs to Drag Strip.

Report of Standing Committee: 

Mr. Ferguson Finance/Audit Committee reported that the piece of legislation that Ms. Riffle just assigned to my committee already appears on the agenda for this evening.  It has an attachment with it in regards to the OPWC money of 10% and is for the repairs of Drag Strip.  If no one has any objections I would like to run for all three readings this evening.  I would like them to get this started so the folks that travel that road will be able to get home without having to travel a further distance.

Mrs. Miller asked if they would be using the $90,000 for that project.  Mrs. Hoblitzell thought that Mrs. Miller might be talking about the FEMA money.  Ms. Riffle asked for a point of clarification from Mrs. Miller.  Mrs. Miller stated that it was the $90,000 that the Mayor talked about tonight not the $90,000 FEMA money.  The answer to Mrs. Miller’s question was yes.

Mr. Gant asked if we were going to do just the one reading or are we reading all three readings this evening.  According to Ms. Riffle it was suggested to read one but if council desires to push it through it is their decision.  It is not mandated.

Mr. Gant, Police and Fire Committee had no report.

Ms. Riffle Streets, Sidewalks and Storm Sewer asked about citizen’s yards getting painted between Rockland and Braun Road.  Mrs. Hoblitzell informed her that the Gas Company wanted all utilities marked.  The information will be put on the cities website and the water bills.

Ms. Riffle also asked about the street lines on Washington Boulevard.  She stated that where they have been doing the patching of the road that some of the lines are not visible.  She said that she has almost got hit three different times.  Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that they are trying to work on the paint machine to get the line painting complete.

Mrs. Drake Utilities Committee August 24, 2020

We met this evening at 6:30 PM to discuss the ‘Antenna’ AT&T wants to place on top of the water towers on Putnam Howe Drive.

All council members were present along with Mr. Block from AT&T.

We had good discussion and many good questions.

The email that was sent to council members with attachments to show what AT & T would like to do with placing of the antenna’s council members said they either did not receive them and or could not open the attachments.

Judy Drake said she would ask the Safety Service Director to send them to the council members.

Some members felt it was going against the Fire Department to approve for the City to engage in this since they were voted down in the past.

Concerns of health issues was discussed and Mr. Block addressed this with difference being in a tower verses attaching antennas to object of height.

We will hold another committee meeting in the near future prior to next council meeting.

Meeting adjourned 7:08 p.m.

Mr. Shutts, Parks and Recreation Committee had no report at this time.

Mr. Locke Planning and Zoning Committee had no report

Mr. Locke Economic Development Committee had no report.  Mr. Locke did say that there was an upcoming meeting with the Southeast Ohio Port authority that he would report on at the next meeting

Mrs. Miller Rules Committee had no report.

Persons Appearing Before Council – Agenda items only.

Ms. Riffle stated that the three pieces of legislation which appear on this evening’s agenda are:

Third Reading:  A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE SAFETY-SERVICE DIRECTOR TO ADVERTISE FOR REQUESTS FOR PROPOSALS TO PROVIDE AMBULANCE AND EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES.

Second Reading:  RESOLUTION ACCEPTING THE AMOUNTS AND RATES AS DETERMINED BY THE BUDGET COMMISSION AND AUTHORIZING THE NECESSARY TAX LEVIES AND CERTIFYING THEM TO THE COUNTY AUDITOR.

First Reading:  A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR, MICHAEL LORENTZ, TO PREPARE AND SUBMIT AN APPLICATION TO PARTICIPATE IN THE OHIO PUBLIC WORKS COMMISSION STATE CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT AND/OR LOCAL TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM(S) AND TO EXECUTE CONTRACTS AS REQURIED.

Mr. Locke asked about the changes for request for bids.  Mr. Gant stated that they were sent out and they were the proposed changes that Mr. Gant and Mrs. Hoblitzell discussed.

Mr. Ferguson asked if we are ready to send proposals out.  It seems like proposals could come back all over the place.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye except Mrs. Miller who voted nay.

There was no discussion by the public.

Unfinished Business:

There was some discussion regarding the EMS proposals.  It was requested by the law direction and the President of Council not to pass any legislation this evening until the specs/changes have been reviewed. Mr. Gant stated that he has been working on this piece of legislation since March and he wanted to move forward with the third reading.

Mrs. Miller stated that this legislation was nothing more than advertising for bids.

Mrs. Drake stated that she has an email from the Safety-Service Director to Tim dated August 19, 2020 that she just received today.

Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that the contract is unclear.

Mrs. Miller had question on the hours of operation.

Mr. Gant brought before council for third reading A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE SAFETY-SERVICE DIRECTOR TO ADVERTISE FOR REQUESTS FOR PROPOSALS TO PROVIDE AMBULANCE AND EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye except for Mrs. Miller who voted nay.

Mr. Gant moved this be Resolution #13, 2020-2021 and duly passed.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye except for Mrs. Miller who voted nay.

Mr. Ferguson brought before council for second reading RESOLTUION ACCEPTING THE AMOUNTS AND RATES AS DETERMINED BY THE BUDGET COMMISSION AND AUTHORIZING THE NECESSARY TAX LEVIES AND CERTIFYING THEM TO THE COUNTY AUDITOR.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.  This will lie over until the next meeting of council.

NEW BUSINESS: 

Mr. Ferguson brought before council for first reading A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR, MICHAEL LORENTZ, TO PREPARE AND SUBMIT AN APPLICATION TO PARTICIPATE IN THE OHIO PUBLIC WORKS COMMISSION STATE CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT AND/OR LOCAL TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM(S) AND TO EXECUTE CONTRACTS AS REQUIRED.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Mr. Ferguson moved to suspend the rule of council on three different days to allow for the second and third reading of A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR, MICHAEL LORENTZ, TO PREPARE AND SUBMIT AN APPLICATION TO PARTICIPATE IN THE OHIO PUBLIC WORKS COMMISSION STATE CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT AND/OR LOCAL TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM(S) AND TO EXECUTE CONTRACTS AS REQUIRED. I want everyone to know that the reason we are running this three times this evening is because the money has already been approved.  The auditor has approved the matching funds and that they are available.  Hardship for those living back in that area.  We would like to expedite before bad weather sets in.   A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Mr. Ferguson brought before council for the second and third readings A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR, MICHAEL LORENTZ, TO PREPARE AND SUBMIT AN APPLICATION TO PARTICIPATE IN THE OHIO PUBLIC WORKS COMMISSION STATE CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT AND/OR LOCAL TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM(S) AND TO EXECUTE CONTRACTS AS REQUIRED.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

Mr. Ferguson moved this be Resolution #14, 2020-2021 and duly passed.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.

PERSONS APPEARING BEFORE COUNCIL: 

Steve McDougle 125 ½ Walnut Street stated that they have noticed that they have started patching pot holes in city streets.  I would like to remind you that our alley continues to deteriorate.  Pot holes are getting worse.  Mrs. Hoblitzel stated that we are working on it but since we are one person short in the street department it is moving slower than expected.

William Cassidy 824 Belrock Avenue stated that he understands the reasoning that the swimming pool wasn’t opened this year and I was wondering what the long range plan is for the pool.  Hopefully this pandemic won’t go on after Election Day.  Mr. Cassidy asked if the pool needed repairs.

Mayor Lorentz stated that the pool always has repairs. If you look at the bottom of the pool it has joints.  Our street department digs out the caulking and replaces it every year as it doesn’t last and we lose water.  We had it on hand for this year however with the COVID it didn’t get done.  What is the range plans for next summer?  Mayor Lorentz stated that he is in hopes that it will be open next summer.  It was his hopes to open the pool this summer but it didn’t happen.

Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that there are no plans at this time.

Mr. Locke announced that the Cross Country meet for September 19, 2020 is a go.  Also there is a second meet on October 19, 2020.  There may be some confusion about the dates therefore the dates need to be verified.

Mr. Locke also stated that he continues to get complaints about the wetlands.

Mayor Lorentz stated that the Tree Commission will meet this week to discuss.  Mayor Lorentz also stated that there has been so many complaints and whining about something that could be so nice.

Mr. Locke stated that he is just passing along the complaints that he is getting.

Mr. Locke also asked why the slip on Drag Strip keeps happening.  Is there a cause?  Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that an unnamed landscaper may have taken out to much dirt.  We are unsure about that but we don’t have the money for soil testing to prove that.

Mr. Locke said that the Mayor stated that it is a losing battle fighting with the Commissioners regarding odor at the West End.  Mayor Lorentz stated that the County Commissioners received a letter today in regards to the odor.

Mrs. Miller stated that the pump station isn’t working.  Mayor Lorentz stated that it is actually a meter. The meter measures gallons of waste passing through. He also informed Mrs. Miller that it is nothing on our lines causing the problem.

Mrs. Drake asked for clarification on the wetlands.  She said that it is her understanding that the planting that will take place there and vegetation into the ground will absorb the water into the ground.  Why are we getting complaints about it?  Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that they don’t understand.  Mayor Lorentz stated that reasons that citizens are against the wetland.  Some of the complaints are it will we wet and soggy, there will be bees and mosquitoes, it would be in the way of cross country etc.  I have had all kinds of complaints in the last month.  There would be a pipe going into the pond keeping it at a certain level.  Mrs. Drake stated that it would be an improvement and not a hazard.  I don’t understand.

Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that she recently got pictures from Kathy Davis regarding a wetland that had been put in in Franklin County.  It was put in in 2016.  They had maintenance the first year, the second year there was less maintenance and the third year it was beautiful.

Mrs. Drake stated that she wants the citizens to know that it isn’t going to make it wetter it is going to dry it up.

Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that it wouldn’t dry it up but will take the water into a pond.  There will be ducks there.

Steve McDougle 125 ½ Walnut Street stated that with this issue that you’re talking about at the west end are we not backlogging our Waster Water System.  Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that our plant can handle it.  The smell that we are getting is because the County Commissioners aren’t putting in the chemical that they are supposed to be putting in their lines. I have contacted them about this and the Commissioners said they are pricing it however they should be putting the chemical in.

Mr. McDougle also addressed the wetlands.  With the size of it how much good is it going to do?  Mrs. Hoblitzell stated that you would need to ask the people at Ohio University about the size.  This would be engineered by people in Athens.  Looks good on paper and sounds wonderful however I question it.

Mr. Gant addressed the speed of trains on our railroad.  He is still getting complaints.  According to Mayor Lorentz he contacted PUCO and they have agreed to pull black boxes to verify the speed of the trains.

ADJOURN: 

Mrs. Miller made a motion to adjourn at 8:37 PM.  A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.