MIDDLEPORT — Middleport Village Council approved the hiring of an assistant fiscal officer during this week’s meeting, with the intent for the person to become the full-time fiscal officer on Jan. 1, 2022.
According to the meeting minutes, Mayor Fred Hoffman told council that he and Fiscal Officer Susan Baker had been discussing the possibility of hiring Ben See as the assistant fiscal officer, beginning in July, with the understanding that he would become the full-time fiscal officer.
Baker would then revert to part-time to be used as needed to assist See or possibly work more in handling Mayor’s court.
Council members went into executive session for personnel matters regarding the hiring.
Following the executive session, council approved the recommendation by a 5-0 vote, hiring See as Assistant Fiscal Officer from July until Dec. 31 at a salary of $35,000 per year and that on Jan. 1, 2022, he would become the new Fiscal Officer with Susan Baker becoming a part-time employee to be used as needed.
Mayor Hoffman also updated council on the upcoming water project for the village. Hoffman stated that he “had recently signed off on the financing of the water project which will replace old lines through the business district, South Third and many other areas in town.”
Funding was awarded through ARC ($322,000), OPWC ($500,000 grant, $250,000 loan), EPA ($1.8 million grant), and H2Ohio ($500,000 for replacing lead service lines). The balance of the project will be funded through an EPA no interest loan.
Village Administrator Joe Woodall will be the local inspector on the job, which will allow a portion of Woodall’s salary will be reimbursed back to the village from EPA. The project is expected to start in August and be completed by July 2022.
“Woodall worked hard to get this project designed and funded and his efforts will result in a lot better service in many areas of the community,” Hoffman told council.
Hoffman and village resident Dave Boyd addressed issues from the 2020 July 4 fireworks display.
The mayor explained that the fireworks had “created a real mess in the area with much debris falling on cars, houses and other property.” Hoffman added that he had brought this up at council meeting last year after the fireworks and recommended that it not be held in that area again.
Boyd, a resident of the area, discussed the damage to his property with council. After a lengthy discussion about different locations, council member Brian Conde stated that he would meet with the Middleport Business Association and review some of the sites suggested.
Council’s recreation committee made up of Ben Reed, Brian Conde and Matt Lyons, recently conducted an inspection of the park and made a list of things that need to be competed. Lyons and Conde volunteered to help take out some of the old equipment which is broken and not useable. Lyons also cut off some of the pipes remaining in the former batting cage area.
A discussion was also held on the rest rooms but no decision was made as to whether to keep the restroom building or put in porta-johns.
Hoffman stated that about the only thing that the village does at the park is mow grass and that he felt there needs to be more input into the park from the village. Hoffman suggested that a person could be hired 2-3 days per week during the summer to improve and maintain the park. No actions were taken, with discussion expected to continue at the next meeting.
Conde expressed the need for the village to do something to keep good police officers.
Conde suggested that the village get together a plan to increase wages to be more competitive to surrounding agencies. After a lengthy discussion on the subject, it was agreed to continue discussion at the next meeting. A policy change was also adopted stating that police officers who are hired full-time at Middleport are obligated to stay at least one year since there are numerous expenses involved in hiring new police officers, such as physicals, etc.
Police Chief Mony Wood stated that an auction on all items in the impound lot will be held on July 20 at 6 p.m. The fire department will have a fish fry there at the same time and police department staff will be having a bake sale at that time with proceeds going towards their Miracles for Kids Christmas toy fund.
Hoffman stated that Wood, Woodall and Building Inspector Mike Hendrickson had been working for quite some time in getting the titles to the vehicles and other procedures necessary before the auction could be held. When the lot is cleared out, Wood said that a major cleanup of it will take place. Woodall will be putting asphalt grindings on the area and weeds will be gotten rid of. Wood stated that he has a plan in place to keep this mess from happening again.
Woodall told council that he and another employee will be picking up a used bucket truck from St. Benard near Cincinnati . He stated that the truck appeared to be in good condition and would be very beneficial to the village since the old one is getting in pretty bad shape.
Present at the meeting were council members Matt Lyons, Brian Conde, Susan Page, Shawn Arnott, and Larry Byer. Also present were Fiscal Officer Susan Baker, Village Administrator Joe Woodall, Police Chief Mony Wood, Building Inspector Mike Hendrickson, Village Attorney Richard Hedges, and visitors Ben and Brooke See, Nancy Burns, Bill Lambert, and Dave Boyd.
Council adjourned with the next regular meeting scheduled for June 28 at 7 p.m.
Information provided by Mayor Fred Hoffman from council minutes.