Village solicitor resigns in Bethesda, other news from council

Submitted to the Enterprise

BETHESDA – The Bethesda Village Council meeting on Oct. 29 opened with Mayor Samantha Burkhead asking for a moment of silence for Bob Murray and John McCormick.

Mayor Samantha Burkhead informed council that Jeff Menoski has resigned from being solicitor and the letter was given to her. Jay Van Horn made a motion to accept Menoski’s resignation, seconded by Jordan Castello. Motion passed. Rod Miller made a motion to advertise for a new solicitor and a part-time police officer, seconded by Cindy Foose. Motion passed. Samantha stated that "Menoski has reviewed and approved the things that we need to decide on this evening but going forward we should not make and legal or major decisions until we have new legal counsel hired." 

Mayor Burkhead thanked Dick Quinlin, Shirley Lucas, and Debbie Mason for being Halloween decorating contest judges. She said Brenda Moore on Depot Street won third place, Victoria Burley on Gail Avenue won second place, and Scott Blake on Spruce Street won first place. She thanked Jay for purchasing the trophies. They are also going to have a decorating contest again for Christmas this year.

Administrator Dirk Davis presented his monthly report to council: 

* Virginia Street Sewer line project is moving forward. There are two questions that need answered and Hull will then send to EPA for a permit to install.

* New Streets are ready to be properly named and dedicated.

* Municipal building cleaning has been taken over by Robert Guthrie and he will be working about six hours a week depending on need. Robert is on a six-month probation.

* Dirk proposed the purchase of an asphalt roller from South Eastern Equipment for $14,500 and possibly splitting the cost between Goshen TWP and Belmont. This would bring the cost down to $4,834 for each entity. Kenny Davis will be discussing with Belmont’s council. JR Whiteley stated that we would have to work out some sort of contract and maintenance agreement. JR stated that insurance would be less than $50 a year. Dirk stated that all costs would be split three ways. JR Recommended that we include the $5000 trailer, that the village still has to reimburse Dirk for, to be part of the deal so everyone has a way to haul it. Jay stated that the trailer needs taken out and some work done on it to make it operational.

* Dirk stated that Mr. Mann requested that McKinley Avenue be opened up back to their property. Dirk stated that JR let the township operator and equipment be used to help Bethesda with this. Dirk thanked JR. Dirk stated that this is a dead-end street and meets up to an alley. Dirk stated that stone was put down so that they can access their property. Jay asked if there are pins for the street that were located and if the road is straight or crooked. Dirk stated that the road will be straightened out once the trees are cut down.

* Dirk stated that he is waiting to see if speed bumps on the alley behind Maple Avenue will be needed. Jordan asked about people requesting them on the main streets. Jordan told Dirk that there is a difference between a speed bump and a speed hump. Dirk stated that technically there shouldn’t be parking on some streets but it has been allowed for many years.

* Dirk updated everyone about the North 26 alley. Dirk stated that Bob Stiles asked that the alley be opened up from his property to the north. Dirk stated that the Russells and Artrips have both sent opposition letters. Dirk stated that there are six miles of alleys that are maintain and 8 miles that are not. Dirk stated that when a citizen asked for access to the rear of their property, that we have to give them access when an alley is present. Dirk stated that we will need to work on this alley in the spring of the year. Jay reminded everyone that we do not want people to build in any alleys. Jay Van Horn made a motion to proceed with negotiations for a contract agreement and to approve the purchase of the roller, seconded by Rod Miller. Motion passed.

Fiscal Office Rick Burkhead asked council to approve a uniform allowance for $400 for full time, and $200 for part time employees. Jay Van Horn, made a motion to approve the allowance, seconded by Cindy Foose. Motion passed. Burkhead presented Resolution 2020-4 which is applying for COVID Relief Funding. Rod Miller made a motion to approve Resolution 2020-4, seconded by Cindy Foose. Motion passed.

Mayor Samantha Burkhead asked council if they would support giving $25 gift cards with the Veterans’ Day baskets that we are going to put together. She said the fruit is being donated. Cindy Foose made a motion to approve the gift cards, seconded by Ruth Saffell. Motion passed. She thanked Bruce Miller for his help in coming up with names for the list of veterans. Samantha stated that if anyone has a name that they should let her know. Samantha stated that ODOT would like to use SR 147 has part of a detour for a slip repair on Route 9. The state should put up detour signs. Rod Miller made a motion to approve the detour, seconded by Jordan Castello. Motion passed.

Cindy Foose said the police committee is respecting the fact that everyone has differences in regards to the police department. She said that Pete Busack is still the interim police chief and that he has agreed to continue to be the interim police chief. Foose proposed that we table any kind of voting on the police chief position at this time. Foose said right now we do not have a solicitor to ask suggestions at the time. She said we have been stuck in this rut for a long time and that we as a village need to start moving forward. Cindy stated that everyone has an opinion and that we all need to respect each other’s opinions. Foose said she would like to let this go for now and move forward and focus on our community and focus on rebuilding the council. Jordan and Rod agreed. Jordan made a motion to increase Pete’s wages to $16.00 an hour from $14.50, seconded by Cindy Foose. Motion passed. Samantha Burkhead followed up and stated that if anyone on council asks her to put out a recommendation, she will but until that time she will not going forward.

Police Chief Pete Busack said there were six complaints and one car crash responded to. One arrest was made. He said he completed a felony case and forwarded it to the county prosecutor. He said Zach Pickens submitted his resignation and we need to accept it. Jordan made a motion to accept the resignation, seconded by Rod Miller. Motion passed. Samantha Burkhead asked if we should advertise for the position. Jay Van Horn made a motion to advertise for a part-time officer, seconded by Jordan Castello. Motion passed.

Jay Van Horn presented an application for Shanna Hayes for an EMT position. Jordan Castello made a motion to approve the applications, seconded by Rod Miller. Motion passed.

Larry Taylor from Volunteer Energy presented the gas aggregation renewal. He said there is a guaranteed 5 percent savings for the residents and this still includes a community reinvestment program. Rod Miller made a motion to approve the renewal (Resolution 2020-5), seconded by Cindy Foose. Motion passed.

Rod Miller asked about moving the November and December council meetings to Nov. 19 and Dec. 17, respectively. Council agreed. Mayor Samantha Burkhead opened up to public comments. She said public comments means that anyone has a right to say whatever they want, but everyone needs to have respect for each other and not to yell at each other.