Middleport Village Council met in regular session on February 27, 2023

Middleport Village Council met in regular session on February 27, 2023 at village hall with Mayor Fred Hoffman presiding.  Present were the following: Council members Brian Conde, Ben Reed,  Tyler Andrews, and  Shawn Arnott. Also present were Fiscal Officer Susan Baker, Village Administrator Joe Powell , Assistant Village Administrator Andy Blank, Police Chief Mony Wood,  and David Dowler, along with visitors  Mary Wise  and Nancy Burns.  Opening prayer was given by Rev. Luckeydoo  followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Mayor called the meeting to order and said the first order of business would be the appointment of a council member to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of Larry Byer. Brian Conde made a motion to appoint David Dowler to this position after which council unanimously approved the appointment. The Mayor then swore Mr. Dowler in to be a member of council.

Matt Lyons was absent due to training related to his employment and was excused by village council members.

The following items were approved unanimously by council: minutes of the February 13 meeting and the  payment of bills as approved by the finance committee.

The mayor stated that a possible grant from the Bureau of Workers Compensation to pay 75% of the cost of a lift had been discussed and tabled at the previous meeting. He said he still thought this would be a good idea to purchase some type of used lift equipment that we could have on hand for use when needed, and  suggested that we try to find something good for no more than $53,000. We could obtain a grant for $39,750 on this with a local match of $13,250. Since this would be used by the entire village, he suggested that it be split between water, sewer, refuse, street, cemetery, and general funds which would be approximately $2250 from each fund.  After a short discussion, council approved filing for the grant with OBWC by a 4-1 vote with Conde voting against the proposal.

Hoffman stated that the Tree Commission had met with Ann Bonner Friday to discuss a tree program  in Middleport and future availability of grants. He stated that the village would be working toward becoming a Tree City this year and would be having some sort of ceremony on Arbor Day to plant a tree. He also said that ODNR would be having funds again this year for assistance with purchase and care of trees and the village would be involved in this. He stated the grants this year would require no matching funds and we could apply for up to $50,000.

The mayor stated he had attended meetings Wednesday and Thursday in Marietta concerning the Appalachian grant program – one on transportation and one on downtown buildings etc. Interesting but nothing new – these were considered sub-committee meetings, and also will be attending another Tuesday on outdoor recreation. Process is moving slowly.  He stated he would keep council informed on the process.

Hoffman stated that he and Joe Powell  have been working on the fireworks and that Joe has been in contact with Hamburg Fireworks and a representative is supposed to be here this week to look over a proposed site along the river bank between Family Dollar and Diles Park.  Powell explained the regulations of Hamburg which are 100 feet for each inch of diameter shells which would mean 500 feet on 5” shells, some of which are used in the fireworks display. Conde stated that he was also contacted again by Pomeroy. Hoffman stated that it was his understanding that council had agreed at the last meeting that they did not want to participate with Pomeroy and Mason and that is why we had been trying to find a good location that was suitable to Hamburg Fireworks. Hoffman suggested that $2000 be donated by the village toward the fireworks since we were late giving Mary Wise the go-ahead to start raising funds. After a lengthy discussion Conde made a motion to put $1000 into the fireworks display which was approved unanimously by council. If the site is OK’d by Hamburg, our celebration would happen on July 4. There was some discussion on what amount of funds were left over from last year since some of the donations had come in late. This was to be clarified by the next meeting.

Resoilution 150-23 setting new refuse rates/policies was brought up for third reading and adoption. Nancy Burns requested a clarification on the $10 charge for bulky items. She inquired if this was a $10 charge for each item. Powell stated this was correct. After a short discussion, council unanimously approved the third reading and adoption of this Resolution. 

Resolution 151-23, Water Rate Increase, was presented by Susan Baker for its second reading. Arnott requested information on the resolution and Baker stated she would send both him and Dowler a copy of the proposed rate increase before the next council meeting. After a short discussion, the second reading on this resolution was unanimously approved by council.

Andy Blank discussed new regulations which are in the process from EPA which will require a filtering system of some type. He stated that the EPA officials whom he had talked to felt that the EPA would provide some sort of grant funding for this when it is implemented.

Police Chief Wood stated that they had received the vests which had been ordered through a grant program. He also stated that the Task Force was going to be active again soon and one of Middleport’s officers would be a member of that again. He also stated that he had been approached by the Sheriff’s office about being interested in the 2015 Ford SUV K9 cruiser. He said they currently use the vehicle some and have put quite a bit of money in it recently. He stated that the vehicle was paid off but there are loans yet on two other cruisers.  He would like to offer the vehicle to the Sheriff for $13,000-$13,500 and would use LETF funds in addition to this to pay off one of the cruisers which has a loan of approximately $16,500 outstanding.  He stated he would not want to sell it unless we could purchase another new vehicle since we always have a car payment and this way he would have another new vehicle which definitely keeps down the cost of maintenance and service on the existing cruisers. After a short discussion, council authorized Wood to proceed with the sale as he had discussed.

Conde briefly discussed the handicap park with Powell and Powell stated that the sidewalk to the area would be put in soon along with repair of the sidewalk on Hartinger adjacent to the park. Conde stated that he knew the Wamsleys had some funds left for the project and would inquire if they wished to use some of their funds to pay for the sidewalk and new gate which has been installed.

Council adjourned with the next regular meeting scheduled for March 13 at 7 PM.

(Information submitted by Middleport Mayor Fred Hoffman.)