Syracuse Council to fill vacancy

By Sarah Hawley

SYRACUSE — Syracuse Village Council will be looking to fill a vacancy following the resignation of Council President Scott Wolfe.

In order to fill the vacancy at its August meeting, council will be accepting letters of interest for the vacancy until 4 p.m. on Aug. 10. The regular meeting will then be held that evening at 7 p.m..

After accepting the resignation and setting the plan to fill the vacancy, council then turned to discussion on filling the role of president of council.

Eber Pickens Jr. was nominated for the position by fellow council member Rhonda Rathburn, while council woman Debbie Clay nominated Rathburn who expressed appreciation but declined according to the minutes of the meeting.

After discussion between Pickens and Mayor Eric Cunningham regarding any potential conflict should he have to take over the position of mayor, Pickens was voted into the president position. Pickens is currently the assistant fire chief for the village fire department, and the mayor is the person who appoints the fire chief. No conflict between Pickens’ two roles would occur unless he would need to fill Cunningham’s role in the future.

In other business, Cunningham noted that the village needs to find a way to pay for the engineering costs in relation to the walking path project which the Ohio Department of Transportation has pulled out of. According to council minutes, village officials had repeatedly been reassured that council were the only ones who could stop the project, or the engineering would never have been started. ODOT officials are not responding to emails with any information other than what was in the publicly available press release. Rathburn motioned to request a legal letter from the solicitor to ODOT regarding the financing situation. The principal owed to Home National Bank for the line of credit on the engineering invoices is $38,536.40, plus interest, according to fiscal officer Crystal Cottrill.

Council decided to request renewal and replacement calculations for the current five-year, 1.00 mill current expenses levy. With the deadline for file for the November ballot, council set a special meeting for July 27 at 6 p.m. to address the matter.

Eber Pickens asked about doing a fundraiser split between the pool and the fire department. The idea was to do a movie night at the pool with the fire department’s projector and screen, split the gate after payroll expenses are met, and have all of the concessions receipts still go to the pool. No one objected to the idea, and Cunningham said it would be fair since the movie equipment belongs to the fire department and the movie license is under the village’s name. Pickens noted that he would like to see future grants pursued for development of the river bank.

No quotes were received for the sand and gravel building for the village. Eber Pickens is going to follow up with Penny Mullen regarding the sand and gravel building previously discussed.

Eber Pickens was given a quote for the shelter house for $14,000. Plans have to be drawn up for submission for a state building permit, with council deciding to contact Mitch Altier to draw up plans for a 24 foot by 40 foot shelter house with a metal roof, ceiling enclosed, electric, and new concrete.

The Fire Marshall grant covered 22 pagers, and a hose tester is going to be ordered with the rest of the money.

Cunningham asked how long the village has Clayton Wood help with mowing. Cottrill is to check receipts and let him know how many hours may be available.

The new router and access points were installed in the village office. Issues reportedly created by the C.I. Thornburg tech were discussed. The wireless signal has not been reaching the pool since he was at the village. A technician will be coming to trouble shoot the situation. Eber Pickens noted that eDispatch was affected as well.

Rathburn asked what the rules are regarding burning brush in the Village. She was advised that large fires are not allowed. Normally, small camp fires, cooking fires, and fires for heat are allowed.

Clay asked if there had been any progress on the Veterans Memorial project. The people working on the project have not been in contact recently.

The sink hole on the property on Second Street was filled by the owner with 10 tons of gravel. He is addressing a second sink hole which is currently covered up later this fall.

The Moore/Poole deeds are being processed for the abandoned section of Crook Street.

Council approved a draft budget for 2018, bills, financials and the grants report.

Present for the meeting were Cunningham, Cottrill, council members Debbie Clay, Casey Pickens, Eber Pickens, Jr., Rhonda Rathburn and Nicole Sampson. Police Sergeant Michael Oliver was present, as were residents David Poole and Tom Weaver.

By Sarah Hawley