Middleport Village Council met in regular session on March 13, 2023 at village hall with Mayor Fred Hoffman presiding. Present were the following: Council members Brian Conde, Matt Lyons, David Dowler and Shawn Arnott. Also present were Assistant Fiscal Officer Margie Baker-Keilitz, Village Administrator Joe Powell , Assistant Village Administrator Andy Blank, and Village Attorney Richard Hedges, along with visitors Mary Wise, Nancy Burns, Bill Lambert, Keith Allen and Dale Hubbard. Opening prayer was given by Rev. Hopkins followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
A motion was made and approved to excuse the following from council: Ben Reed who was sick and Tyler Andrews who was working.
The following items were approved unanimously by council: minutes of the February 27 meeting, the Finance Report and the payment of bills as approved by the finance committee.
Keith Allen and Dale Hubbard discussed with council the time when the marina area along Leading Creek would be opened. They stated that the fishing was good there early in the year and they used the area a lot during that time. Joe Powell stated that the area is usually opened in early Spring after the creek has stabilized and is not up and down so much. After a short discussion, the Mayor stated that the area will be open some time later this week.
The Mayor stated that the Appalachian planning grant was still moving along slowly and that a list of the planners that can be used has been released. He stated that the technical assistance grants will be announced later in the month, and that Sub-committees of Buckeye Hills will be meeting again in the latter part of March. He presented council a list of these meetings which are both zoom and in-person and invited anyone who was interested to attend.
He also informed council that Misty Crosby will be here March 20 between 9 and 11 AM to discuss our projects which were submitted through the Mayors Partnership for Progress. He said this is the meeting that was re-scheduled previously, and anyone who is interested is welcome to attend. This will be discussion of only Middleport projects.
The Mayor presented council members an updated list of council committees which included changes made with the new council members.
The Mayor suggested that the insurance committee meet before the next council meeting to discuss the village property/liability insurance which becomes due on April 1 and the health insurance which is due on May 1. Matt Lyons, chairman of the committee, set up a meeting with the insurance committee for March 21 to discuss the two issues.
A third reading and adoption of Resolution 131-23, which sets new water rates for the village, was approved unanimously by council.
Joe Powell stated that four seasonal workers had been hired and started to work on Monday. He stated we were still short on regular workers. He also stated that he and Andy were investigating various lifts that the village may be able to purchase with mostly grant funds and they would be making a recommendation some time in the future on what they find that we may be able to purchase.
Andy Blank discussed his recent efforts to find a backup for his position in case he is off for vacation or other reasons. He stated that he had been discussing this with Mr. Baum at Tuppers Plains Water district on the possibility of contracting with them for coverage as required by EPA when the occasion may arise where he would be absent for more than three days. Powell stated that the village had the personnel to handle any leaks or other required duties but EPA required a licensed operator. It was also discussed about our own employees working to try to pass the water test and become a certified operator. He also stated that he had been in contact with McDaniel Electric about the purchase and installation of the new backup generator for Well #4 which is being funded by a grant from EPA.
Mary Wise presented council members a copy of the letter which she is using to solicit funds for the fireworks display on July 4. Powell stated that a representative from Hamburg Fireworks would be in town Friday to discuss and inspect the proposed site between Diles Park and Family Dollar. A discussion was held on the amount of funds left from last year and Margie stated that there was $2700 in the fireworks account that had not been used last year. It was agreed that $2000 of this would be used as a down payment when the contract is signed and sent to Hamburg. Mary stated that members of the committee were listed on the letter and that she hoped that all would try to do their part and that a first meeting was being held this week.
Conde inquired about the ADA sidewalk at the park and Powell said that as soon as the weather is suitable, he anticipates installing that new sidewalk and repairing the sidewalk on Hartinger adjoining the park. Conde stated that he had talked to the Wamsley family and they were willing to spend some of their leftover funds to help pay for the sidewalk. Discussion was also brought up by Powell on the swing set still not being that stable, and it was agreed that this would be monitored and if needed the company who installed the equipment would be notified.
Matt Lyons stated that it was good that Andy was trying to contract with someone who could be responsible to EPA for our water system if he had to be away from it for a short time. Lyons also noted that the business at the corner of Hartinger and Art Lewis did not have all the business building underpinned as yet.
Council adjourned with the next regular meeting scheduled for March 24 at 7 PM.
(Information submitted by Middleport Mayor Fred Hoffman)