Middleport discusses employee benefits

By Kayla Hawthorne - Special to the Sentinel

MIDDLEPORT — The Middleport Village Council discussed vacation pay for employees and village updates during their meeting on Monday evening.

Council unanimously voted to accept Village Administrator Joe Woodall’s request to allow employees to receive payment for their unused vacation time. Council approved the employees to receive the payment for up to 40 hours of vacation time, one time per year. This could prevent employees from losing vacation time when they reach the cap accruement — which is 80 to 160 hours depending on the length of employment. If the employee takes the payment, they will not be able to spend those hours. However, if they still have time built up, they can use the vacation time in the same year as well.

This payment will only be for Middleport Public Works employees and not for the police department at this time. Council member Carolyn French suggested waiting to hear from Police Chief Bruce Swift about offering the payment to his employees. Council member Ben Reed said the chief should attend the council meetings to discuss his employees and their benefits. Swift was at the meeting on Aug. 12 when Woodall first mentioned the topic. At that time, Swift said he was not sure about implementing the change and asked for the discussion to be tabled.

Council also approved to start the process to purchase a new cruiser for the police department. Fiscal Officer Sue Baker said the department usually purchases a new cruiser after the loan is paid off on the previous purchase, which reduces the cost of maintenance and repairs. The current loan will be paid off in November. Assistant Chief and Jail Administrator Mony Wood said he believes the cost of the car and police package will be under $40,000, but they will know a total after requesting information on bids.

In other discussion at the council meeting, resident Mary Wise asked council about the “10-year look ahead” that Council President Brian Conde wants to create. Conde mentioned the proposal during the Aug. 12 meeting. Wise said she has books and materials that past councils have created as a “look-ahead” for Middleport, but they were not followed through. Wise asked council what they would do after completing the study. Conde insisted that the plans would be followed. Wise also asked why they wanted to do another study, or look-ahead, when the current buildings are not maintained. Wise was referencing the depot at Dave Diles Park. She was part of a group who restored the building, but says now the loading dock needs replaced, trees need trimmed, lights need replaced, the outside walks need repaired and painted — but Wise said the village has not been taking care of it.

Woodall said the lights that need replaced belong to American Electric Power and he has contacted them about replacing the bulbs. Woodall also said the repairs to the exterior walls were extensive.

Reed said he wanted his shot at making Middleport a great place to live. He also said that the village cannot compare what they are trying to do with what happened in the past. Reed thanked Wise for her input, concerns and dedication to Middleport’s History.

Conde said he wants this 10-year plan to be created in collaboration with village residents.

In his report to council, Administrator Joe Woodall said,

-Paving on the sewer project will begin this month. Any streets that have been disturbed will be paved. Bricks will be replaced on Lincoln Street between Second Street and Third Street.

-Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is working on the property acquisition for two properties on Brownell Avenue in order to move forward with the slip repair. Woodall said the repairs are likely to happen in the spring. Woodall also said the village received funding from Ohio Public Works Commission for $182,000 to help cover the 20 percent match required from the village.

In her report to council, Mary Sandy Iannarelli mentioned the Art in the Village event on Oct. 5 at the Riverbend Arts Council. The event will have an art exhibit and Lego contest.

In the council member updates,

-Emerson Heighton asked Woodall to coordinate the stoplights at Walnut Street.

-Brian Conde asked about the trash trucks that Woodall ordered. Woodall said they were in production and they should be delivered in December.

The next meeting of Middleport Village Council is scheduled for Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. at Middleport Village Hall.

By Kayla Hawthorne

Special to the Sentinel

Kayla Hawthorne is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.

Kayla Hawthorne is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.