At the February 27th meeting of Bethesda Council, councilman Dirk Davis, acting village administrator since the resignation of Jeremy Campbell in January, was offered the position permanently by council. Davis resigned his council position. Wages for the administrator position is $1,250 per month, with no health benefits.
Chuck Little stated that he was interested in the empty council seat.  Village Solicitor Marlin Harper suggested that the public be notified of the vacant council seat, and that council appoint a new council person at the March 27th council meeting.
Campbell also served as Bethesda Police Chief. Dave Wines has been temporary acting police chief since Campbell’s resignation.
Also at the meeting, Mayor Marty Lucas thanked the public works employees for their hard work throughout all of the water breaks, most of which have been in below zero weather.  Mayor Lucas thanked Chuck Little for donating food to the employees and thanked Barnesville for sending man power and a machine to assist us during a bad water break.
Davis said so far this year there have been 14 water breaks.  Bethesda has been averaging 18 water breaks annually with an average of $55,000 per year loss.   
 Administrator Dirk Davis gave an update on the Ohio Public Works Commission paving grant that was filed.  Davis said the grant was turned down officially.  He said Bethesda was number seven on the list, and only the top five were chosen.
Davis said that on February 19th Anthony Adornetto from Representative Bill Johnson’s office met with him and councilman Brian Bee and Dirk and discussed the village’s dire need of funding to pave the streets after the water project is complete.  Davis said the village will file for the OPWC grant again this fall. 
Davis said he found out that the village could not apply for a Bureau of Workers Comp grant, because the fire department  has already file for it.
 Davis presented council with the Gulfport water sale agreement.  Davis said he had given it to Solicitor Harper for review.  Harper said the 10-year agreement was too long of a commitment and suggested a maximum three to five year contract.  Davis said his concerns with the contract were the length of the agreement and he wanted the water pipe to run above ground and through the reservoir overflow spillway.  Davis said he was also concerned about what the “extraordinary damages” included.  Solicitor Harper said the clause is accurate and acceptable.  Davis said the selling rate for water is $10 per thousand.  Davis said he also wants village employees to check the meter.  Village Water Director Dick Quinlin said the sewer plant discharge is acceptable for fracking use as well.  Davis said he would contact Gulfport and ask them to make the discussed adjustments to the sale agreement.  Upon a motion by Bee, council approved the water sale agreement if the length of the agreement is revised to three to five years.
Davis presented council with the 2014-2015 liability insurance package form Steele Insurance in the amount of $17,394.  Davis said he would like to look for more competitive rates on the insurance.  Village Clerk Rick Burkhead said that would be fine, but in his opinion a better rate could not be found due to the village being a part of the Ohio Plan, which is a massive pool of municipalities.  Council voted to approve the insurance package.
Davis presented council with a $75,000 quote from Southeaster Equipment for a new backhoe.  The village would also receive  $10,000 in trade in for the old backhoe.  Davis said the new backhoe is needed because the hydrostat is failing.  He said the electric clutch is broken, there is insufficient lighting, the heater doesn’t work, and the bushings on the rear are going out.  Davis said the village desperately needs a new backhoe, but recommended that the purchase be put on the back burner until the water project is complete. Council agreed that it would be best to complete the water project and get the streets paved prior to purchasing a new backhoe.  
Davis discussed the proposed street department building.  He said the used building that the village was looking at would cost more than purchasing a new building.  Davis presented a quote from Wayne Building Supply for a building of the same size at a cost of $28,000.  The cost would not include heat, electrical, or concrete flooring.  Davis recommended taking that route, when and if council begins to look for a new street department building. 
Davis also presented council with a quote for a ticket window for the water department at a cost of $1,600, not including installation.  He also presented a quote for a night drop box which would cost $395, not including installation.   He said they would help keep the water clerk safer and allow her to get more work done by not having people in her office all of the time.Davis recommended council consider the ticket window and drop box for approval at the next council meeting.
 Brent from Rice Energy informed council that Rice employees walked the property by the sewer plant and have decided to move the water and gas lines to below the baseball fields and across to the Abel property. Brent stated that price per foot for the easement is $20.  Davis asked Brent to get more information for him about Rice’s intention to use the road that runs out to the ball fields as a service entrance in the future.  Bee suggested that Brent also ask if Rice would agree to $50 per foot for the easement.  Brent said he would talk to the management and get back to Davis.
 Fire Chief Neil Hunt said the fire department placed 54 grave markers on the graves of deceased firemen from Bethesda.  Hunt said that the ISO Insurance Services Officers inspection had been let go for quite some time and he is working to get them back in to reassess the village fire fighting abilities once the water project is complete.  Hunt said better fire flow on the water system will help Bethesda get a better rating, and could help lower home insurance in the village. 
Hunt said next next year is the fire department’s 100th anniversary and the department would like to commemorate it. 
Council approved Bee’s motion to approve applications for Katelyn Copland and Tess Shepherd for the fire department and e-squad. It was noted that Shepherd did not have training at that time, but is working toward it.
 Fiscal Officer Burkhead informed council that he sent $225,000 to Century National Bank to invest.  He requested a $2,000 advance and a $1,000 transfer from General Fund to Police Fund. Council approved the requests.
 Burkhead asked council what they wanted him to do with the $4,800 WSOS bill that he is holding.  Council agreed to pay 50% and send a copy of the letter that was drafted and sent to them previously.  Burkhead said the state auditor’s office informed him that the portion of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency grant that the village received in 2013 is not considered dederal money, so the village should be eligible for an AUP audit which will save money.
Burkhead forewarned council that he will have to advance money to the water department in March to help pay for the forgiveness that was given to residents in February.
 Mayor Lucas stated that he would like to begin looking for someone who can codify the meeting minutes and ordinances to make it easier to find specific information and to make the paper documents more organized.  Davis said he would look into finding a business that does this.
Lucas announced that the annual Easter Egg Hunt is on the horizon and the recreation committee should start planning.
Councilman Rod Miller stated that he and Bee were to meet Joe Braido and look at his alley situation. 
Miller presented council with a copy of the 5k Race route that is set for July 12th at 8 a.m. The race is part of the village’s annual Chautauqua Days celebration.
Quinlin said 231 new water meters were installed.  He said Stonegate had two more bores to drill.  Quinlin said the taps, testing, and disinfection on the CR 26, Lake Street, and Virginia Street were to be done soon.  He was to contact Mark Esposito, Belmont County Director of Sanitary Sewer Districts to discuss his price for the meter vault.  Quinlin said at this point it is cheaper to purchase the meter vault from Stonegate.  He said he wants to put more pressure on the county to get the plans for the connection to the county water tank underway.
Quinlin said he is still working with the residents on Brown and Johnson roads to help them get pipe to extend the waterline out to them.  He said two of the three residents agreed to purchase the cost of the supplies.  Quinlin said Goshen Township has said that they will not help put the water line in the ground.  He said the village should still look at helping put the water line in the ground for these residents.   Quinlin said picking up customers outside of the village will create more of a base rate to help pay off the loan, which could help lower water rates. 
He passed around a piece of galvanized pipe that was found by Stonegate.  The pipe had many holes in it and was completely disintegrated.  This pipe was found leaking on a resident’s service line.  Quinlin said this was the reason for Bethesda requesting that all steel and iron pipes be replaced with plastic or copper. 
Quinlin said he is looking into grants to upgrade the sewer treatment with an ultraviolet treatment system which will save labor and electricity.
The next meeting will be Thursday March 27, 2014 at 7 p.m.