Mr. Neff called the Regular Meeting of the Council of the City of Belpre, Ohio, to order at 7:30p.m. The roll was called with the following members present: Ms. Abdella, Mr. Campbell, Mrs. Drake, Mr. Gant, and Mrs. Miller present. Also present was Mayor Lorentz, Safety-Service Director Mr. Cross, City Law Director Mr. Webster, Treasurer Mr. Smith and Clerk of Council Mrs. Meredith. Absent from the September 10, 2018 meeting was City Auditor Miss Pittenger, Council persons Ms. Riffle and Mr. Shutts.
Mr. Neff asked that everyone please rise for the Prayer and remain standing for the Pledge of Allegiance. Mayor Lorentz gave the invocation.
Mr. Campbell made a motion to accept the minutes of August 27, 2018 as presented and to by-pass the reading. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Reports of City Officials:
Mayor Lorentz reported that on August 30th I met with Senator Sherrod Brown in Marietta. The Senator spoke on economic development and was pleased to know that we were so active in our city. Senator Brown if you remember was the one who helped us acquire the EDA Grant for sewer.
On September 4th Ron Cross and I met with the Port Authority to discuss the needs for Belpre and our economic development. Our thoughts are mostly infrastructure deficiencies being at the top of our list. Andy Kuhn is working to assist us anywhere possible.
September 7th, I attended the Sternwheeler Opening Ceremonies with Marietta folks. Hopefully with all the rain they were still successful. This pretty much ends our festivals with just our Apple Butter Stir-off to come.
The Gathering was a success on Saturday even with the cool weather and rain. Our Churches in this community work well together in making this a great place to live and raise our families.
On the 15th if you are looking for something to do the Belpre Rotary and Belpre Cross Country could use volunteers to help direct and park cars at the soccer field and Civitan. The Cross country meet scheduled is now at 18 teams.
Since our last meeting I sent sample legislation to Mr. Webster to review for the solar project at the fire house. Some of the work on the car chargers and gate are slowed due to rental activities at the park and street work.
Council, I sent a note to the finance committee to get the approval for a police cruiser order. The Interceptors are being discontinued next year and this is the preferred vehicle of our patrolman. No down payment is required and would not be delivered until February or March of 2019. Ordering now will save us a few thousand dollars by not waiting until 2019. As you remember we cancelled one this year due to budget and the dispatch consoles.
It seems that we are in a hole at times and cannot dig out. The department heads and I offered employment to a Joe White to fill the vacancy at the sewer plant. We now have another opening as one of our experienced operators is leaving for greener pastures. The opening in the water department is filled by Nathan Knotts. Mr. Cross has placed the bid up for the sewer job, and I have contacted Civil Service to start the process of advertising and the tests at the college. Both positions in the Police Department have been filled. Tonight we have with us Patrolman Bill Johnson, and Patrolman Gunner Smith. At this time I would like to swear in Officer Smith for council.
Ms. Abdella asked the Mayor for a brief bio about the new Patrolmen that was hired. The Mayor asked the Patrolman to stand and give a brief bio before council
Our local Kroger Store achieved enough signatures to add a spirits store and liquor issue to the November ballot. Although this is something new for Belpre, I see no real issue with this going forward. Belpre will gain a few jobs, minimal tax increases and also add another reason for people to stop and shop in our city.
Council, I have provided you information from the Supreme Court of Ohio. Please take time to read this or go online and do your own research if you wish. This is a BAD Bill and need for all to refuse it in November.
Ms. Abdella asked the Mayor if he had sent her a note on the infrastructure deficiencies so it could be reviewed. According to the Mayor he did send her a note.
Safety-Service Director Mr. Cross reported that we had received a zoning request for property located at the corner of Hocking Road and Braun Road. The request had been forwarded on to the Zoning Commission. The request is to change zoning from residential to commercial. Two on the commission were not in favor. I would like guidance on how I should proceed. Mr. Cross was informed to contact the owner to see if they want to appeal the decision. Mr. Webster informed Mr. Cross to do this before bringing it to council. Mr. Neff stated that before it is brought to council he would like everyone to have a copy of the plan and a copy of the plot so everyone knows what is going on.
Mr. Cross also reported that he has also received a request from PCS Services requesting that they put cell antennas on our water towers. One water tower is acceptable for use the other one is not. I just wanted to make council aware that this is facing us and how I should move forward on this. Mr. Webster commented that the lease agreement needs to be sent to all members of council and assigned to committee for public discussion. There would have to be significant changes to the lease.
Mr. Gant stated that he had talked with a gentleman regarding this issue and he was informed that several of these companies are trying to get footprints in before this new regulation. They are trying to put small towers in so that they can say we already have small towers we need to add larger towers.
Mr. Cross announced that he had been looking back on the flooding. This has been our third to moderate flood this year. Hopefully the next hurricane will not affect us. We are prepared and not expecting to have any issues.
City Auditor Miss Pittenger was absent. No report was given in her absence.
City Law Director Mr. Webster stated that the Mayor mentioned the solar panel contract in his report. I’m taking changes to that contract to Marietta. I will let you know if we want to propose any changes to that contract.
Secondly in regard to Issue 1 that will appear on the ballot in November I want everyone to know that it has a really nice title however it is not so nice. Instead of incarcerating individuals for use of drugs they are wanting to give them a minor misdemeanor and get them help. There is two things wrong with that: one is that it takes away all digressions from judges to make decisions on what the statues say. I’m not in favor of having all mandatory digressions but I’m also not in favor of decisions being taken away from the judges. I’m not in favor of Issue 1.
Thirdly I got a little snippy with Mr. Nelson about Braun Road at the last meeting. I want to apologize publically to him for that. I was out of line losing my temper. The hardest job is talking to a family who has lost a loved one due to a traffic light violation and having to prosecute.
City Treasurer Mr. Smith reported that a copy of the Treasurer’s Report is on line, a signed copy has been given to the clerk, and is awaiting approval by council.
Mr. Smith announced that Leslie wanted him to go over the Treasurer’s Report for August. The EMS received the second half of interest for property taxes. The interest to our Star Account is $623 to date. Payments for the fire truck will begin in September. There was a $100,000 down payment made in August. Ms. Abdella made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report as present. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Communications and Petitions: None
Report of Standing Committee:
Ms. Abdella Finance/Audit Committee had no report. Ms. Abdella called a committee meeting prior to the next meeting of council at 7PM for a budget report review to see where we are at. Also to be sure we are on track for the end of the year.
Mrs. Miller, Police and Fire Committee reported that she will meet with the law director to go over the fire insurance.
Mr. Campbell, Streets, Sidewalk and Storm Sewer had no report.
Mr. Gant Utilities Committee had no report. Mr. Neff assigned PCS towers to his committee assignments.
Mr. Shutts, Parks and Recreation Committee was absent. No report was given in his absence.
Mrs. Drake Planning and Zoning Committee had no report.
Mrs. Drake, Economic Development Committee had no report. Mrs. Drake announced the Economic Development Committee meeting on September 20th, 2018 at 6PM.
Ms. Riffle was absent. No report was given for the Rules Committee.
Persons Appearing Before Council – Agenda items only. None
Unfinished Business: –
Mr. Gant brought before council for second reading AN ORDINANCE APPROVING THE EDITION AND INCLUSION OF CERTAIN ORDINANCES AS PARTS OF THE VARIOUS COMPONENT CODES OF THE CODIFIED ORDINANCES OF BELPRE, OHIO. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye. This will lie over until the next meeting of council.
Mrs. Drake brought before council for first reading AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 557 OF THE CODIFIED ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF BELPRE. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye. This will lie over until the next meeting of council.
Ms. Abdella brought before council for first 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. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye. This will lie over until the next meeting of council. Mr. Neff announced that we would have the second and third readings at the next meeting to meet the deadline.
PERSONS APPEARING BEFORE COUNCIL:
Bill Locke 726 Tuttle Street welcomed the newly hired officers to the police department. Mr. Locke asked where we were regarding the property on the East side of the park. Mr. Cross stated that we are still in the process. Minor changes have been made.
Mr. Campbell addressed the budget process. When do we get a rough draft? I’m asking this because I haven’t been through it before. In theory it needs to be in council’s hand the first day of the physical year which would be January 1, 2019 per Mr. Neff.
Ms. Abdella stated that there is a Temporary Appropriation process that needs done first. We will get a first glance at it by the end of the year because we need to keep the city a float until the end of the budget process which is due by the end of March. We take a look at this and only pass one quarter to keep the city running. We usually get the temporary’s the beginning of October. Are we allowed to be in the meetings with the department heads? Mr. Webster stated that if you have three council persons there you have to give notice of your meeting. There can only be two council members present at one time. You may want to alternate council members if there are more that want to attend.
Ms. Abdella made a motion to excuse Ms. Riffle and Mr. Shutts from tonight’s meeting. They both contacted Mr. Neff with excusable absences. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Ms. Abdella made a motion to adjourn at 8:05PM. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.