Lack of attendance cancels of Middleport meeting

MIDDLEPORT — Unable to conduct businesses due to a lack of a quorum, the regularly scheduled Middleport Village Council meeting Monday night had to be cancelled, leaving members of the audience a bit perplexed.

Only Middleport Mayor Michael Gerlach, fiscal officer Susan Baker and council members Emerson Heighton and Sharon Older were present for the village’s regularly scheduled 7 p.m. meeting Monday. Council meetings require four of the six members to be present to constitute a quorum.

Council member Penny Burge had given notice two weeks ago that she would be out of town. Doug Dixon called at noon Tuesday to advise he had to work late and would not be at the meeting.

A message was left after 5 p.m. Tuesday by Roger Manley’s granddaughter, stating that Manley was out of town. The message was not received until Wednesday morning because it was left after business hours.

No word had been received, officials said, from Dick Vaughn that he would not be attending the meeting. When Gerlach spoke with him the following day, Vaughn told Gerlach he did not think there would be enough council members to have a quorum, so he didn’t attend.

The agenda for Tuesday’s meeting included a critical vote to approve the third member of the Board of Public Affairs.

During the June 8 council meeting, the consequences of eliminating the village administrator position were again discussed. A void had been created by the act, leaving the village without an operator of record. The EPA was informed and told the village they had only a matter of days to correct the situation.

The EPA also asked the village about plans for dealing with water leaks, and suggested and approved the use of help provided by Tuppers Plains Water District. The village is required to pay TPWD for this service.

The Board of Public Affairs is a three-person board that will now be responsible for oversight of water and sewer, instead of the village administrator.

The mayor said the implementation of the Board of Public Affairs was crucial to solving the problem and to allow the village to move forward with a planned project.

Gerlach, as mayor, is responsible for the appointments. Two candidates were put forward at the June 8 meeting, both of which were approved by council. Gerlach said he would have the third person for the board by the next meeting.

All three members must be approved for the positions before any action on the water and sewer issues can move forward.

As a result of the Tuesday meeting cancellation, several projects will continue to be on hold. A water line project is one that, among other things, is designed to replace old waterlines under homes in the village with new outdoor lines.

“This is part of making our people healthier,” Gerlach said, “and I would like to move forward without delay.”

Lorna Hart can be reached at 740-992-2155 EXT. 2551