BETHESDA — Bethesda Village Fiscal Officer Rick Burkhead presented the 2018 annual appropriation budget for approval. Paul Fitch made a motion to approve the appropriations for 2018, seconded by Brian Bee. Motion passed. Rick informed council that he has spoken to Century National Bank and Wesbanco for the opportunity to invest $250,000 from the Fire Levy Fund. Rick stated that Century National Bank has said the interest rate would be around 1.9% and he is waiting to hear back from Wesbanco. Brian Bee made a motion to invest $250,000 of the money in the Fire Levy Fund with whichever bank Rick thinks is the best and safest deal, seconded by Paul Fitch. Motion passed. Rick stated that the 2017 financials are complete and available for review.
Solicitor TJ Schultz presented Resolution 2018-1 which enters into a paid up oil and gas lease for the water tower property of .057 acres for $5,000 per acre. Brian Bee made a motion to approve Resolution 2018-1 and authorize the mayor to sign the lease, seconded by Chuck Little. Motion passed.TJ stated that he also received a gas and oil lease for the property across from the fire department and is questioning how the name of the owner of the property (Bethesda) is stated.
Administrator Dirk Davis presented Ordinance 2018-1 which is a revision of the just approved water rate ordinance. Dirk stated that the last ordinance has bulk water customers paying a flat fee for the water base charge of $750. Dirk stated that after meetings and consideration we believe it is only fair to the residents that these bulk water customers pay the same base charge as everyone else and pay that base charge by the unit regardless of whether it is occupied or not. Dirk stated that we missed out on almost $150,000 in base charge collections over the last 4-5 years because we did not bill per unit. Dirk stated that this change will be more fair to the residents of the village. TJ reviewed the Ordinance with council and the audience. Chuck Little made a motion to declare tonight the first reading of Ordinance 2018-1, seconded by Paul Fitch. Motion passed.
Dirk presented a comparison on the insurance bid for 2018-2019 plan year. Dirk stated that he is comparing the current Ohio Plan to the proposed PEP Plan. PEP proposal is for $19,433 guaranteed price for three years. Dirk stated that Steele has not given us a quote yet. Dirk went through the package in detail and reviewed the differences with council. Dirk suggested that we wait to make a decision on the insurance until we receive the quote from Steele Insurance. Dirk stated that Eric is turning in the VIN number for the new police vehicle to have coverage on it.
Brian Bee informed council that the Fire Department would like approval to go to OMEGA and seek help with filing for a grant to get new air packs. Dirk stated that the grant that Neil is wanting to apply for would not conflict with anything the rest of the village is looking to apply for. Paul Fitch made a motion to authorize Neil to apply for the Firefighters Act Grant, seconded by Chuck Little. Motion passed. Brian Bee stated that the new ambulance looks very nice and it should be operational very soon.
Chuck Little presented a building permit for Gerald Yeater to put up a fence. Chuck Little made a motion to approve the building permit, seconded by Paul Fitch. Motion passed.
Police Chief Eric Smith stated that there were 24 citations last month and 46 calls responded to, 20 of those in Bethesda, one in Belmont, one in Morristown, two in Goshen TWP, and 22 in Union TWP. Eric stated that the new police care was purchased and is almost ready for the road. Eric stated that they are just waiting on the Radio to be installed. Eric stated that the new car has the back seat chewed up because Franky was in the back seat on the way home and the seat was chewed on while they stopped for lunch. Eric found a new back seat from the state highway patrol salvage yard for free. Eric stated that Josh and Byron installed the back seat. Eric stated that there were 261 citations last year, three crash reports, 19 arrests, and 335 calls responded to.
Mayor Lucas presented the year end Mayors Court figures. Mayor Lucas stated that the total collections were $49,881 of which $8489.50 went to the State of Ohio and $41,391.50 went to the village. Mayor Lucas stated that the recent snow event was fairly substantial. Mayor Lucas stated that he felt Josh Doudna and Byron Saffell did a fantastic job plowing snow. Paul Fitch commended Mayor Lucas for coming out and helping plow and relocate snow. Mayor Lucas stated that there were several residents who also came out and helped by plowing and moving snow as well. Paul Fitch stated that he is very thankful that we did the water project when we did to help us avoid the water system issues that are happening in other communities around the area. Mayor Lucas invited everyone to come to the Mayors Association meeting that will be on February 13th at 6pm. Dirk stated that Bethesda did not purchase any salt this year and we usually try to have around 110-120 tons in stock. Dirk stated that we had about 110 tons and we purchased about $900 worth of grit. Jay Vanhorn commended the public works workers for the great work they did on plowing the streets. Jay stated that he felt Bethesda's roads were in better shape than some of the county and state roads.
Robb Schwartz from Blue Line Solutions gave a presentation on a hand held LIDAR camera. The cameras are operated by police officers and they take pictures of speeders after the violator exceeds a set speed. Once the picture is taken the information is reviewed by the officer and they transmitted to Blue Line Solutions. Then Blue Line will generate a violation to be mailed to the vehicle owner. These citations are civil in nature and will not be criminal so there are not points on licenses. TJ explained that if the violator denies the citation, they would follow the same court process that normal citations follow now. Mayor Lucas asked how that process would work. TJ stated that the defendant would come to mayor's court and plead guilty or not guilty and if they plead not guilty they will be transferred to western division court. Robb stated that the program is at totally no cost to the village. The equipment is free to lease to the village, the clerical work is provided by Blue Line, and Blue Line will even pay wages for officers who are using the camera. Robb reviewed a few other stipulations to use these cameras. Robb stated that the officers still have the option to make the traffic stop. Robb stated that by using the camera you don't have to make the traffic stop and that helps with the safety of the officers. Robb stated that the revenue collections would be split between Blue Line (40%) and the village (60%). Jay Vanhorn asked if there was a process to contest the tickets. Robb stated that there is a document that is sent with the violation that states the process for contesting a violation. Stephanie Castello asked that the revenues are split 60/40 and she asked why we would use the camera rather than just make the stop and keep all of the revenue. Eric stated that we will still be making most of the stops in Bethesda the normal way. Eric stated that he was looking at this for areas outside of Bethesda. Stephanie Castello stated that we would then be taking citations from the county and the state highway patrol. Stephanie stated that she didn't agree with not making the stop because the person isn't pulled over so they are not going to stop speeding as they continue down the road. Stephanie stated that she was against the police department working outside of town because they don't do what they need to do in Bethesda anyway and they leave the garage door open on a Friday night with no one to shut it. Eric stated that the department doesn't have the funds to be a 24 hour police department. Eric stated that with the extra revenue we would receive with this camera we would have more money to have more coverage hours.
Mayor Lucas thanked Robb for coming out and giving the presentation to council.
Dirk stated that on Judson Street there is a large tree that is more difficult to take down. Dirk asked permission to find someone with the a bucket truck to take one piece of the tree down so the rest of it can be cut down by the village employees. Council agreed.
The next meeting will be Thursday, Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m.