BELMONT -- Belmont Village Fiscal Officer Rick Burkhead informed council that the audit is wrapping up and we will have holding a private meeting with the auditors, council, and the mayor as soon as the audit is complete and they set the time up.
Police Chief Eric Smith said there were no tickets written last month and there were 12 complaints responded to. Grant Williams thanked the police department for helping unlock his car which had the keys locked inside. Smith said there was one threat complaint, 1 vehicle lockout, one vandalism, one fire assist, and seven vehicles entered and theft. He asked that everyone keep their vehicles locked as when they leave their cars open and should there be a break in, the police can only charge theft and not breaking and entering since the car was left unlocked.
Board of Public Affairs President Kenny Davis said the water board held their meeting on Tuesday. Kenny stated that the #4 pump failed and a new pump was installed yesterday. Kenny stated that we are still producing 55% of the village’s water. Kenny stated that the water board has suggested that we retain the old pickup truck as it is still functional and it wouldn’t be worth selling for what we would get out of it. Dan Scott made a motion to allocated $4,000 to move the water department to the basement of the gym, seconded by Grant Williams, Dan Scott - Yes, Grant Williams - Yes, Ron Woods - Yes, Shaun Bruce - Yes. Kenny stated that there is a large room in the basement of the gym that will be renovated and fixed up to be used for the water department.
Mayor Stan Sobel stated that there has been asbestos found in the plaster and tiles in the school. Mayor Sobel stated that when asbestos is sealed up and covered with paint and is not air born there are no issues. The plaster in the upstairs of the school has flaked off and there is air born asbestos and this is a problem. Also we will be demolishing the building and that will also cause it to become air born. Testing resulted in 3-4% asbestos in the plaster and tiles. Mayor Sobel stated that the furniture, maps and anything on the top floor will have to be washed and cleaned. Mayor Sobel stated that this isn’t something that we will be able to solve tomorrow or next week or next month, this is going to be a long term project but we will succeed in getting this issue solved and the project completed. Mayor Sobel stated that the first priority is to remove the asbestos. Mayor Sobel stated that the estimate to remove the asbestos is $185,000. Mayor Sobel asked Rick if we had the money to be able to have that done. Fiscal Officer Burkhead stated that we do not have the money at this time and that it would almost take the village’s entire budget to have this done. Rick stated that we are in desperate need of help and luck in order to be able to have the asbestos removed.
Mayor Sobel stated that he has some positive news about our issue. Grant Williams had given Mayor Sobel a contact at the Belmont County Correctional Institute and that Grant stated that he thought there was a program that trains prisoners to do things like asbestos removal. Mayor read a letter from OPI (Ohio Penal Industries) where they do train and work with inmates to teach them how to remove asbestos. Gary form OPI supervises inmates that work on this program. Gary will be visiting the school on September 21st and look over the building and lab testing results. Typically when this program does asbestos removal they request that the village pay for the salary of the supervisors, lodging for the supervisors and meals for everyone. Mayor Sobel stated that he is very optimistic that this may be a huge help to the Village of Belmont. Mayor Sobel stated that we cannot allow this problem to eat up the entire budget for the village. Mayor Sobel stated that he is thankful that we had this testing done so that we did not proceed with demolition and auctions where there is air born asbestos in the building. Grant Williams suggested that the building be closed and sealed as soon as the water department is moved. Mayor Sobel stated that the office where the water department is at did not have asbestos in it and it is currently safe to use. Mayor Sobel stated that we have also been able to get much more done with the two extra workers we have, things that we would not have been able to do in the past.
Dan Scott reported that the engineers have completed the drawing of the project to replace the brick road. The estimate was about $125,000 to remove the brick and base and to install a new up to code base and repave the road. Dan stated that the road is in really bad shape and needs to be repaired. Rick stated that we have about $24,000 in the county license tax account that can be used toward the project. Rick stated that with the pending situation with the school building, that he is very worried about proceeding with this project until we have that problem solved. Grant Williams stated that both issues are pressing but in different ways.
Shaun Bruce asked if there was a way that our village employees could remove the brick and base and install a new base on our own to lower the cost of the project. Dan stated that it would save a lot of money and would be possible but we would need to rent the proper equipment to do the project. Mayor Sobel asked Solicitor TJ Schultz if there were any liability problems with the school or the road. TJ stated that the school is more of a liability than the road. Especially since the one outer wall could fall out and collapse. Mayor Sobel stated that he wants to see some more estimates for both projects to see where our target needs to be.
Shaun Bruce stated that there will be a special events meeting soon. Shaun stated that there will be a craft show on Oct. 14 from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the gym. The proceeds will go to the playground fund. Grant Williams made a motion to waive the rental fee for the use of the gym for the craft show on October 14th, seconded by Shaun Bruce, Dan Scott - Yes, Grant Williams - Yes, Ron Woods - Yes, Shaun Bruce - Yes. Shaun stated that the tentative date for the Chili Cook Off is Oct. 21 with set-up at 9 a.m. and judging at noon. If there are any questions about this contact Shaun Bruce. Shaun stated that the Halloween party will be Oct. 30 at 5 p.m. and judging starts at 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Trick or Treat will be Oct. 31 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. On Nov. 10, the committee will be doing gift baskets for Veteran’s Day. Shaun asked people to contact him or Lori with any names of Veterans who need to be added to their list. He said that he will get with Riesbeck’s about helping with the cost of the fruit. Shaun stated that we need to start planning Christmas events as well. Shaun said there is a Memorial Committee meeting on Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. that may be canceled due to the asbestos finding.
Mayor Sobel stated that we held a meeting for the beautification of Belmont. Mayor Sobel stated that the people who attended had a lot of great ideas to help make Belmont a better place.
Mayor Sobel said a private donation of $500 was given to be used as a scholarship to have a non-voting council member from Union Local who is a junior or senior. Mayor Sobel will be sending those letters to the school soon.
Mayor Sobel reviewed the new LED lights that were put up in the gym. These bulbs will run on one fifth the power of the old bulbs and should last for many years. Mayor Sobel said even after the cost we should start seeing a savings after a year or two.
Don Williams stated that there was one burial last month. He said the trustees are going to start holding official meetings and documenting things such as burials to keep better records.
Grant Williams thanked Dan Scott for all of the work that he has done with the brick road replacement project. Grant thanked Shaun Bruce his work on the event planning. Grant stated that there are found council seats up for election but only three people running. Grant stated that if anyone is interested in a council seat, that they should turn a letter of interest in by the December meeting or come to a council meeting and express interest.
Don Williams asked if there is a piece of guardrail that could be installed by the brick road as there is a large hill there and the road is dangerous in the winter.
Cathy Carretti commented on the good work that the town workers did on replacing a road grate.
The next meeting will be Thursday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.