Belmont Village Council approves pay increases

Staff Writer
Barnesville Enterprise

BELMONT — Village Council met July 9 and immediately entered into executive session to discuss employee pay.

Mike Murphy made a motion to approve a $1.00 per hour wage increase for the police chief and to increase police coverage to 35 hours a week, seconded by Lorie Grob, Motion passed. Mike Murphy made a motion to approve a $1.00 per hour wage increase for the water clerk, seconded by Dan Scott. Motion passed. 

Mayor Ron Woods informed council that he was obtaining a quote for sealing the basketball court again. He asked council if they wished to open the village offices to the public again providing that people maintain a safe distance, and employees and customers wear masks. Shaun Bruce made a motion to approve the opening of the offices with these stipulations, seconded by Bev Yoe. Motion passed. 

Mayor Woods informed council that we need to have a final discussion on the property that the fire department was looking to purchase. Kaye Hall introduced the property owners who came to address any questions to council. Bev Yoe said she thought that we made a decision and that it was done with now. Mayor Woods said he would like to discuss once more. He read a letter from the state auditor’s office discussing the fact that there is no evidence that it is OK for the village to be a landlord. The letter stated that the village’s fire levy does not permit the purchase of property. Hall said she spoke to the auditors and was told that the Goshen Township levy money could be used for the purchase. Jake Tacosik suggested that the village purchase the property and then sell the house to the Belmont Fireman’s Association. Solicitor TJ Schultz said if the village sells property, we would have to accept bids for the purchase. Hall asked about how the idea of a purchase changes if the house is vacant. Ed Tacosik said the fire department is here for the good of the town, just like council. Tacosik asked that council give this purchase consideration to the purchase of the property as it would be a good investment. He said it is tremendous that the property owners want to sell the property to the village. Schultz said the property is currently one lot and that property will need to be surveyed and the house split off from the rest of the property. He estimated that it would cost around $2,000 to have it surveyed and the property split up. Derek Cain made a motion to proceed with the purchase and to authorize Schultz to begin the sale process, to have the surveying done, the fire department to purchase the house portion of the property for $10,000 from their own fund, and to purchase the property for $76,000, seconded by Shaun Bruce. Motion passed. Mike Murphy made a motion to have Schultz begin the title work for the village, seconded by Dan Scott. Motion passed. 

Fiscal Officer Rick Burkhead asked council for approval of the 2020-2021 Belmont County EMS contract. Lorie Grob made a motion to approve the contract renewal, seconded by Mike Murphy. Motion passed. Burkhead asked for approval of a transfer of $6,000 from the General Fund to the Cemetery Fund to help cover costs of mowing. Lorie Grob made a motion to approve the transfer, seconded by Mike Murphy. Motion passed. Burkhead asked for a transfer of $4,445 which was obtained from police fundraisers, from the General Fund to the Police Fund. Mike Murphy made a motion to approve the transfer, seconded by Derek Cain. Motion passed. Burkhead presented a new division order for Gulfport for a few pieces of property in the cemetery. Shaun Bruce made a motion to approve the division order, seconded by Mike Murphy. Motion passed. 

Burkhead informed council that the Current Expense levy is available to be voted on this fall. He asked if council wanted to put the levy on the ballot and also asked if they wished to leave the levy as is or change it to a continuing levy. Derek Cain made a motion to approve Resolution 2020-2 which is the authorization to place on the ballot the General Expense levy changed to a continuing levy, seconded by Dan Scott. Motion passed. Burkhead said he is waiting on the insurance renewal amount after he sent in this year’s questionnaire. He asked for approval of the 2020 Union Township fire contract which pays $1,000 a year and the Union Township 2020 EMS contract which pays $10,350. Derek Cain made a motion to approve both contract renewals, seconded by Mike Murphy. Motion passed. 

Mayor Woods said he would like to discuss the use of village vehicles for personal use. Bruce said he doesn’t like anyone using the village vehicles for personal use. Mike and Dan agreed with Shaun. Mike Murphy made a motion to have no personal use of village vehicles, seconded by Dan Scott. Motion passed. Mayor Woods asked council to amend the trash cleanup day to Aug. 8 and temporarily amend the ordinance date. Mike Murphy made a motion to approve the trash cleanup amendments, seconded by Lorie Grob. Motion passed. Mayor Woods asked that we amend the ordinance temporarily move the yard sale day to Aug. 1. Mike Murphy made a motion to approve the yard sale date amendment, seconded by Lorie Grob. Motion passed. 

Solicitor TJ Schultz presented Resolution 2020-3 which adopts the Belmont County Hazard Mitigation Plan. Lorie Grob made a motion to approve Resolution 2020-3, seconded by Derek Cain. Motion passed. Schultz presented Ordinance 2020-4 which is a franchise agreement with AEP for electric service for 25 years. Mike Murphy made a motion to suspend the rules, seconded by Shaun Bruce. Motion passed. Lorie Grob made a motion to approve Ordinance 2020-4, seconded by Mike Murphy. Motion passed. Schultz informed council that he received an email from Kathy Kelich and she suggested that we begin working on the Brownfield Grant to work on the school abatement project. Kelich is going to email someone to assist us with the grant. Bruce made a motion to apply for the Brownfield Grant, seconded by Mike Murphy. Motion passed. 

Police Chief Andy Miller said we have an ordinance in place for vehicle weight limits on side roads. He said there have been box trucks on village alleys. He said he would like to see weight limits signs which state unless for local deliveries posted on side roads. Ed Tacosik said he would have them made for the village. He said we do not have an ordinance for recreational fires. Schultz said this can be done and have any violation declared a minor misdemeanor. Grob said some people are burning garbage, not having camp fires to cook over. Schultz said he could work on this and have three readings for it. Mayor Woods said he had Miller deliver seven letters to residents to clean up their properties. Miller said this year there has been 134 calls. He said the bulk of his assistance of other communities is to Flushing. He said he had to go help with a fight today. Miller said there were 24 security checks and we have doubled the call volume over last year. Miller said St. Clairsville is looking to donate a used vehicle to Belmont.

Jake Tacosik said last month there were eight fire calls, 23 squad calls of which seven were billable and four transports. He said the new ambulance is now in service. Pump testing on the fire trucks were completed. The air conditioner at the firehouse caught fire and has since been turned over to the insurance company and repaired. He asked for clarification on the fire chief’s vehicle use. Council said it can be used for going after supplies, trainings, etc but not for driving to work. Tacosik also said the department is accepting applications.

Cole Davia addressed council about a water drainage issue by his house. Cole said the water from the gym and street run down and comes into his house and barn. Cole asked that the village look at ways to divert the water over the hill. Dan, Shaun, and Derek are going to look at the issue and discuss with Kenny Davis on suggestions to fix the issue.

The next meeting will be Thursday, Aug. 13 at 7 p.m.