Council approved an amendment to the engineering contract with Poggemeyer Designs for the Wastewater Treatment Plant Project. The amendment is for $71,750 for construction.

At the Dec. 21 meeting, Village Administrator Roger Deal brought an amended contract for council approval, but after discussion it was decided to wait until they had a chance to look over and consider all the costs involved.

The new contract does not include $124,000 for inspection fees. Those services will be provided by the newly created village operations manager position, to be begun in 2010 by former Village Administrator Bill Morgan. Construction for the sludge improvement project is expected to start in the spring.

Deal also announced the arrival of the new street sweeper and Public Works truck. Mayor Tom Michelli said, purchase of the truck was funded with $20,000 of stimulus funds and $8,000 from the village.

Council accepted bulk chemical bids for the water treatment plant. The bids total an estimated $82,147.80, which is lower than last year. Council accepted all the lowest bids except for the chlorine gas bid, which will cost the village an extra $60 a year. Deal said that he preferred to stay with Sal Chemical, a supplier the village has good experience with.

Participation in a gas aggregation program is moving forward. Following a presentation by Fred Holmes, director of municipal aggregation for Volunteer Energy Services, addressing concerns over pricing options voiced at the Monday, Dec. 21 meeting, council chose to schedule two public meetings. The meetings are required before the village can accept the contract. The meetings will be held Jan. 19 and Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the municipal building, prior the regular council meetings.

After the public meetings, a contract can be signed by the mayor and Volunteer Energy, and an application will be sent to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. Residents who are Columbia Gas customers will receive a letter containing terms and conditions. Residents can opt-out at anytime during the two-year contract period.

Holmes said council could accept the variable rate. A fixed rate would not be available until the summer. He pointed out that other communities have accepted fixed rates and are now paying much more than if they had accepted a variable rate.

Village Clerk Amy Jackson said the village has already switched to Volunteer Energy at the variable rate.

The fate of the old water shop building behind the firehouse was discussed by village and fire department representatives. The building requires repairs to a garage door and its floor that would cost about $3,000 to repair. Deal said if renovated, the site could provide storage for the village, however, the fire department is awaiting approval of a grant. Tearing down the old water shop is part of those plans.

Council decided to hold off on any decisions regarding repairs to the building until news of the grant's approval is received.

Also at Monday's meeting, council approved Fire Chief Bob Smith's request to apply for an Ohio State Fire Marshal's Grant, which requires no matching fund from the village.

Barnesville Police Chief Dave Norris read to council in a letter sent by Belmont County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Berhalter thanking the Barnesville Police Department for its involvement in the Belmont County Drug Task Force . The letter stated that since its inception less than two years ago, the drug task force has made 65 arrests, seized $35,000 in drug money and removed the street value equivalent of $500,000 of illegal drugs.

Council voted to give Barnesville Gold gift certificates to part-time Emergency Squad employees after Councilman Brad Hudson said he was contacted regarding the issue. Previously only full-time employees were included.

Approval also was given to a building permit for Darci Thompson at 608 Park Street for a dormer.

Council's next regular meeting will be Monday, Jan. 4, at 7 p.m. in council chambers in the municipal building.