The Regular Meeting of the Council of the City of Belpre, Ohio was called to order by Council President Mr. Neff at 7:30 p.m. with Mr. Neff welcoming everyone to this evening’s meeting. The roll was called with the following members present: Ms. Abdella, Mr. Baker, Mrs. Boso, Mrs. Marshall, Mr. Martin, Mr. Robinson and Mr. Sinnett present. Also present were Mayor Lorentz, Safety-Service Director Mr. Ferguson, City Auditor Miss Pittenger, City Law Director Mr. Webster, Treasurer Mr. McAfee and Clerk of Council Mrs. Meredith
At this time Mr. Neff asked that everyone please stand for the prayer and remain standing for the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mrs. Marshall made a motion to accept the minutes of December 13, 2010 as presented and 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 December 15th I was re-elected as President of the Mid-Ohio Valley Mayor’s Association. Mayor Paul Ingram of St. Mary’s will be Vice- President and Mayor Allen Haught will again serve as Secretary Treasurer for 2011.
Belpre received a significant snow fall on the 16th of December. Our street crews done a very good job as usual clearing the streets, even with one truck broke down. The conditions were bad enough that we cancelled negotiations with our employees and the interview I had scheduled with ODOT for SRTS was conducted by phone.
In November I gave the problem solving team at the High School a problem to solve for our city. On December 20th they reported their findings at the monthly school board meeting. The task given them was How to change the negative attitudes of some of our residents and how it affects the city and schools. The report out from students went very well. Some may disagree but, I truly wanted an honest opinion and believe that the people interviewed gave just that. A copy or two of their findings are on the back table for your review.
At this point I thought the negotiations with the AFSME group would be complete. This is not the case as the union members rejected our first attempt at a TA. As we learn more I will communicate to council.
December 14th was the SR. Levy Committee meeting for Washington County. Our request this year was $4945.00 to replace a large freezer, two wall heaters and an external speaker system for their TV. The sound is going out on their TV since it fell from the wall but, everything else is fine. During this process I found that the past award is in jeopardy since we have not started the expansion. To eliminate returning funds I have asked for an extension and, for additional funding to assist with the same. As I receive information it will be communicated to council.
Thanks to Mr. Robinson a few young people received a bicycle for Christmas again this year. Mr. Robinson collected the lost or stolen bikes that were past the claim date, repaired and delivered them for us.
As council members have information provided them for the K-2 (Synthetic Marijuana) issues mentioned in your e-mails from me. This issue is getting increasingly more serious in our area and should be stopped as soon as possible. Mr. Sinnett has information for council to consider.
Thank you to Jolene Craig for the article on all the phone scams in our area. The police department has reported quite a few instances where some of our citizens have been taken advantage of and lost a lot of money. Please pass the word to your families that you never send money over the phone without verification. A Warning note was also attached to the water bills this cycle. We also got a nice write up complimenting the schools for the use of the laboratory being used by local industry for a chemical operator’s class.
Adult Basic and Literacy Classes are offered free at St. Marks United Methodist Church. Classes are on Mondays and Wednesdays of each week. If you know of someone needing these classes please share the handout that I have provided. The Belpre Area Ministries is offering scholarships to cover the cost of the test when the classes are completed.
On January 5th I spoke with Terry Tamburini at the Southeastern Ohio Port Authority. Terry has someone possibly interested in the Middleton Doll building. On January 6th I did take a developer through the building but have had no response since that time. Latest news says that the old BP Station at the foot of the Belpre Bridge is sold and will be torn down.
I am working on a grant to proceed with improvements to Civitan Park. Last year we used grant money to get costs for the repair of the pond areas and to make it and other places throughout the park handicap accessible. This grant is a 50/50 match. I need to know if council wants me to proceed and, I will need a resolution stating this at our next meeting in January to accompany the grant. This will be due on February 10, 2011.
AEP is starting the process of trimming trees from the power lines. If you receive calls please send them to the web for the answers. 1-800-277-2177 is the number available for those who cannot access the web.
Safety-Service Director Mr. Ferguson stated that he had been in contact with Burgess and Niple regarding our 2008 Paving Project. Our paving was paid for however it was found that they owe the City of Belpre a sum of $5,000.
There is a position open in the Wastewater Treatment Plant. At this time we have four qualified applicants.
Water rates are to remain the same for 2011.
The contract extension for Kathy Davis, Washington County Soil and Water District is upon us. There has been an increase of $1,000.
Also the contract for the Senior Citizen O’Neil Center is upon us. There is also a slight increase to this contract.
On your desk is a hand-out regarding trees and sewers and what tree roots can do to our sewers. This is a very informative article. .
Sam Jackson should be named Citizen of the Year for his improvement to the 400 block of Blennerhassett Avenue. If you haven’t been down around that area you should drive by. You can see the difference
City Auditor Miss Pittenger announced that the 2009 audit has been received and has been emailed to all members of council. The results of the audit will be on the cities website in the very near future. One thing that came out of the audit was that council will need to approve adjustments to utility bills. Adjustment for 2010 Utilities will be approved monthly. At this time Mr. Robinson made a motion to approve the 2010 adjustments to the utility bills. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye. Your W-2 forms are available.
City Law Director Mr. Webster presented his State of the City address. According to Mr. Webster there is one matter of pending litigation. We are in hopes that it will end sometime this year in the cities favor. I will have a report at the next meeting regarding Mayor’s Court and Municipal Court Cases.
Treasurer Mr. McAfee had no report.
Communications and Petitions
Mr. Neff announced that the contracts for the renewal of the O’Neil Center (Ms. Abdella-Finance and Audit Committee) and the renewal for the Kathy Davis – Washington County Soil and Water Conservation (Mrs. Marshall – Streets, Sidewalks and Storm Sewer) is upon us.
We received an invoice from Walter Drane in the amount of $360 for hosting the Codified Ordinance on the Internet that was passed to the City Auditor for payment.
Everyone should have received on their desk this evening the Annual Financial Disclosure forms for the Ohio Ethics Commission. Please be sure that you file them timely as there is a fine if not sent by April 15th.
Free Adult Basic and Literacy Education Classes are being held on Mondays from 9:00 am – 12:30 pm and Wednesdays form 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church. For more information call 740-568-1960 or 1-800-350-1242.
I would like to thank Mr. Williams for donating Middleton Dolls for needy children.
Mr. Neff showed much concern for getting a handle on teenagers smoking K-2. He wants to be vigilant to see what can be done about this.
Mr. Neff also recognized Miss Pittenger and Mr. Ferguson for finding money for our city. Great job!
Mayor Lorentz is to send email regarding park improvement and accessibility for the pond.
Report of Standing Committee:
Ms. Abdella had no report for the Finance/Audit Committee. Ms. Abdella called a committee meeting for January 24, 2011 at 7:00 for the purpose of discussing the Contract for the O’Neil Center. Ms. Abdella also thanked Officer Williams for protecting us this evening.
Mr. Baker, Police and Fire Committee had no report.
Mrs. Marshall, Streets, Sidewalks and Storm Sewers had no report. Mrs. Marshall called a committee meeting for January 24, 2011 at 6:45 p.m. for the purpose of discussing the Kathy Davis contract.
Mr. Robinson had no report for the Utilities Committee
Mr. Martin, Parks and Recreation Committee had no report. Mr. Martin did mention that he thought it would be nice if the city offered an incentive to their employees for working out at our new fitness center.
Mrs. Boso reported that Planning and Zoning Committee met prior to this evening meeting to discuss AN ORDINANCE CHANGING THE ZONING CLASSIFICATION OF CERTAIN REAL ESTATE OWNED BY BRIAN C. AND CYNTHIA R EATON.
After point of clarification on the topic a motion was made to add to the agenda for second reading AN ORDINANCE CHANGING THE ZONING CLASSIFICATION OF CERTAIN REAL ESTATE OWNED BY BRIAN C. AND CYNTHIA R EATON. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.
Mrs. Boso had no report for Economic Development.
Mr. Sinnett, Rules Committee had no report. Mr. Sinnett presented to council information he had regarding K2 – Synthetic Drugs. We have had four recent squad runs due to the drug. When we arrived on the scene at one of the calls the paramedics thought that the victim had a stroke. His/Her face was all drawn. Come to find out it was from this K2 drug. K2 comes in a silver package. It looks like potpourri. They are adding J spray to make it more potent. I would like to see legislation put in place to criminalize this stuff. It comes from Northern Europe and is known as K3 on the internet.
Persons Appearing Before Council – Agenda items only. None
Mrs. Boso brought before council for second reading AN ORDINANCE CHANGING THE ZONING CLASSIFICATION OF CERTAIN REAL ESTATE OWNED BY BRIAN C. AND CYNTHIA R EATON. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye except Mrs. Boso whom voted nay. This will lie over until the next meeting of council.
Persons Appearing Before Council:
Question regarding the burning issue came up. Mr. Sinnett informed all those present that he had been in contact with Mr. Webster with a resolution to come shortly. Open burning is controlled by the Ohio EPA. Action on this will be taken soon.
Mr. Neff announced that we recently lost a community minded citizen since our last meeting of council. Mr. Wayne Wiles volunteered a lot of his time to our city. He was an active member of the Planning and Zoning Committee. Not only was he valuable to our great city but he was also a great friend. He will be missed.
Mr. Neff also thanked the Police and Fire Department for there response time today for the passing of Charles Cline and the words of encouragement that was offered.
Mr. Robinson made a motion to adjourn at 8:25 p.m. A vote was taken with all members of council present voting aye.