Barnesville Village Council discussed the problem of abandoned properties with swimming pools in the village at the Monday, July 20 meeting.

Village Administrator Roger Deal gave council members pictures of two pools in the village that are located on vacant lots or foreclosed property. Those pools present potential danger. Deal said he had contacted the bank that owned one of the properties.

"As more properties are foreclosed, there are more in limbo as the banks try to keep up," Deal said.

Council President Dale Bunting asked Village Solicitor Marlin Harper if an ordinance could be added regarding neglected pools. Harper said the village was not liable for accidents related to the pools, however, Barnesville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bob Smith could issue a citation, giving property owners 30 days to fix the problem.

"When time goes by, at some point, it becomes our obligation," Deal said.

Council agreed to pass an ordinance giving the village the power to take action on such abandoned structures, if action is not taken by the owners.

Administrator Deal also informed council that Rockies Express Pipeline had requested a temporary easement from the village. The 1,679-mile gas pipeline stretches from Colorado to Monroe County, Ohio.

The purpose of the easement was to access 11 million gallons of water from Slope Creek Reservoir for a static pressure test to be done once the pipeline is completed sometime in August or September. Deal said REX officials told him the requested water would reduce the reservoir by three to four inches. Deal said the request was part of the initial discussion with the company in 2008, however, council had not acted on it then. Deal said REX expected the water to be part of the cost of the easement.

After much discussion, council voted to deny the request, deeming it too much water, as Barnesville supplies other villages too. The discussion ended with Deal reporting that despite recent hot weather, village water levels are "in good shape."

As expected, council passed an ordinance to begin the process of giving village residents a choice to join an opt-out natural gas aggregation program.

After passing the ordinance, the next step will be placing an issue on the November ballot. If voters pass the issue by more than 50 percent, Village Council will then negotiate a price on behalf of the voters. Even if village officials cannot negotiate a price they want, they are not obligated to participate.

A previous discussion about the need for a four-way stop at the intersection of South Gardner and Hunts Avenue was revisited by Bunting who informed other council members that he, Administrator Deal and Barnesville Police Chief David Norris had looked at the intersection. Deal said the curbs have been painted and tall grass was mowed. Bunting said they would try those strategies first before installing a four-way stop. He added that some bushes and trees may also need trimmed to improve visibility.

In another street, alley and sidewalk issue, Mayor Tom Michelli said he has received several comments on the new LED traffic lights. Michelli said eventually all the traffic lights at the main intersections in town will be replaced.

"I have received more comments on the traffic lights than I have about anything we've done in the last five years," Michelli said.

Council discussed two safety issues.

Chief Smith asked council to pay him and Assistant Fire Chief Tim Hall for fire runs, in addition to their salaries. Council discussed the request at a July 23 work session and are expected to make a decision at the next council meeting.

Police Chief Norris discussed the need to train an officer for fire arms training or find an outside source for the state-mandated, annual re-certification for officers. Norris said the officer who was doing the training has resigned and another auxiliary officer has expressed interest in obtaining the training. Norris said there is a 10-day training class in September. He estimated a total cost of $2,000 to train the officer.

Council President Bunting thanked Roger Deal for the latest in a series of quarterly safety meetings. Bunting reported that the last was on hearing conservation and the meetings were going well.

Building permits were granted to: Derek Cain, 227 Laws St., deck; Mike Warrick, 109 Cherry St., tin roof; John Cheffy, 825 Bond Ave., extending porch; Vickie Betts, 119 E. Main St., siding and 123 E. Main St., vinyl windows and siding and Mike Burkhart, 352 S. Chestnut St., vinyl siding.

Barnesville Village Council will hold its next regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers of the village building.