Pomeroy council updated on fire department

Discussions on grants, maintenance items

By Michael Hart - Special to the Sentinel

POMEROY — The second June meeting of Pomeroy Village Council concluded just after 9 p.m. on Monday. With limited agenda items, council held an extended discussion with the village fire chief and presented recommendations of the Parks and Recreation Committee.

Rick Blaettnar, chief of Pomeroy’s Volunteer Fire Department, updated council on a variety of pending grants and maintenance items. He then fielded questions for a significant period, covering possible grants to improve the annex, an additional building for the fire house, future development of the fire house property, fire hydrant testing, and other technical matters relating to firefighting.

Council also granted permission for the department to pursue a $600,000 Homeland Security grant for a firefighting and rescue equipped river boat. The village’s potential $150,000 required match was said to be mostly offset by “in kind” labor and future purchases that will otherwise still be needed.

In kind labor often refers to training, equipment purchases, and labor hours spent towards related activities.

Council held the final reading of Ordinance 784-14, which updates requirements and regulations on businesses regarding cross connections and backflow prevention (the accidental mixing of water and sewage).

“As this is third reading, that will enact it,” said Mayor Bryan Shank.

In previous meetings, Village Administrator Joe Woodall has described the measure as a critical safeguard mandated by the Ohio EPA.

Bills were paid in the amount of $1905.

Fiscal Officer Sue Baker reported the 2015-16 state audit of Pomeroy was underway. A two year audit is “routine,” said Baker, but noted a Tuesday meeting with Local Government Services (LGS), “the state entity Pomeroy reports to monthly.

She explained she interacts with LGS frequently, working to correct past issues that caused the village to be mildly censured by the state auditor in 2014.

For the final agenda item of the night, a local business owner asked about the state of affairs of several dilapidated buildings downtown. They noted the safety concerns (possible fire, glass, debris, animals) and asked if there was a process to remove abandoned properties.

“There is a process, but when you get to the end of the process, you need $100,000,” said Mayor Shank, referring to the high cost of demolition and legally required cleanup.

The business owner pressed council on other potential actions, such as fines or liens, speculating someone might develop properties if given the option.

Council President Don Andersen said he would take the item to the county government, and added “you should too,” encouraging residents to make their voices heard at all levels.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of Pomeroy Village Council is July 3 at 7 p.m. in the Pomeroy Municipal building.

Editor’s note: A story on the recommendations of the Parks and Recreation Committee in an upcoming edition.

Discussions on grants, maintenance items

By Michael Hart

Special to the Sentinel