MIDDLEPORT — Contracts for the Middleport Fire Department to provide fire protection to areas outside of the village were approved, and three employees were hired at Monday night’s meeting of Middleport Village Council.
The fire protection contracts were for half of Salisbury Township, $1,100; Cheshire Township, $10,500, and the village of Cheshire, $2,875.
Jeff Darst, fire chief, presented an extensive report on the past year’s activities which showed a response to 128 incidents involving 1,202 man hours, with 772 man hours being spent on maintaining equipment and 1 ,208 on training. The loss estimate on structure fires was $173,000 and $49,500 on vehicles for a total of $222,500. Council commended Darst for his extensive report.
The need for looking ahead toward the purchase of a new ladder truck for the department was discussed. The possibility of some grant funding was discussed as was the need for a match. It was reported that the village is still paying on another fire truck with funds generated from fire levies, and the possibility of increasing the payments for an earlier payoff in order to accumulate some funds to serve as a match to any grant money the village might receive was discussed. It was reported incoming levy funds for fire protection total about $53,000.
Employees hired included Paige Gussler as a part-time dispatcher, Joe Barnhart as a part-time police officer, and Bryan Keith as a full-time employee in the public works department.
A change in a housing ordinance regarding water service on rental properties as proposed by Mike Hendrickson, building inspector, was passed by Council.
During the re-organizational part of the meeting, Rae Moore was elected Council president, and Michael Barr was retained as solicitor.
On recommendation of Mayor Mike Gerlach, Council voted to renew coverage on the Solar Bee system at the sewage lagoon which provides power by solar rather than electricity. The coverage was renewed for three years at a cost of $10,648 with the contract “covering everything, including vandalism.”
Also discussed was the bulk water station and charges relating to people getting water there. It was decided that the rate should be changed to 1.25 pennies per gallon to bring the charge in line with the cost paid by those with home hookups.
During the meeting, it was voted to purchase a half-page advertisement in the 2013 Meigs County Visitors Guide to promote the village.
The accumulation of trash and the inconsistency of some pickups was discussed. The unsightly collection of trash near the intersection of North Fifth and Cole was noted by a council member who reported on neighborhood complaints. Also mentioned was the lack of consistent pickups of trash at the property located at 712 Sycamore St.
The report from Mony Wood, jail administrator, showed that in 2012 a total of $208,000 had been billed out and/or collected from other agencies who used the facility. For December the billed out amount was $41,042. Since last spring when the jail opened, 629 inmates have been booked with 154 being from Middleport and 475 from other agencies. Prisoners come from Meigs, Gallia, Jackson, and Athens counties and the villages therein.
At the conclusion of regular business, Council moved into executive session for the purpose of meeting with the solicitor to discuss legal issues.