Middleport Council holds meeting

Staff Report

MIDDLEPORT — Middleport Village Council discussed several items during its recent meeting.

Middleport Village Council recently met in regular session at village hall with Mayor Fred Hoffman presiding. Present were the following: Council members Matt Lyons, Brian Conde, Shawn Arnott, Ben Reed, Susan Page and Larry Byer. Also present were Fiscal Officer Susan Baker, Assistant Fiscal Officer Ben See, Building Inspector Mike Hendrickson, Village attorney Richard Hedges, and visitors Nancy Burns, Bill Lambert, John and Vicki Bechtel. Opening prayer was given by Matt Lyons followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Mayor welcomed Ben See to the village staff as Assistant Fiscal Officer. Ben will become the new Fiscal Officer upon the retirement of Susan Baker at the end of the year.

Residents of Railroad Street, John and Vicki Bechtel, discussed with council some of the problems which they have in their neighborhood, including junk cars, trash, abandoned trailers, and lack of police patrol on that street. Hendrickson informed them that the trailer which was to be removed with grant funds will be taken care of as soon as CDBG funds are released by the county commissioners through Buckeye Hills and that we have no control over when this will happen but it should be soon. As far as trash and junk cars, the Mayor stated that “we have a lot of this problem all over town and that village employees are continually working on the problem.”

The Mayor stated that he had been notified by Pomeroy Mayor Don Anderson that they would pass on the offer of contracting for police protection at this time. A copy of the letter was given to council members.

Hoffman stated that he would still like to have the parking lot paved and a drainage system installed at village hall before bad weather to alleviate the standing pools of water after rains and ice in the winter. He offered several financing scenarios to allow moving on with the project as was discussed at the previous meeting. After a lengthy discussion, no action was taken on the project.

Hoffman stated that Chief Mony Wood had requested permission to hire a new full-time police officer to work on the task force which is being created by the Sheriff’s department.

Baker stated that the village had done this for several years in the past and a lot of money from drug operations had gone into the Middleport Law Enforcement Fund from this. The Mayor stated that he had briefly discussed this with the prosecutor who thought it would be a good opportunity since Gallia County had apparently not been interested in continuing the task force which presently consisted of Meigs and Gallia Counties. After a short discussion, council approved the hiring of an officer to work with the new task force.

Hoffman stated that both he and Administrator Joe Woodall had been confronted by an irate citizen who objected to the flowers being removed from some of the graves. Woodall stated that this was done in accordance with the cemetery policy which was adopted by council. Larry Byer stated that he felt people need to be made more aware of the policy as it was the same as in several surrounding communities. After a short discussion, it was decided that Woodall will meet with Byer and work out a way to put the regulations on some type of sign at the cemeteries.

Hoffman thanked Woodall, Hendrickson, Wood and Joe Powell for their efforts in cleaning up the impound lot and making it look very nice.

Hoffman stated that he and Woodall had discussed for some time the need for some kind of nice divider fence between the village garage and the Pioneer Cemetery on Page Street. Woodall had an estimate for the purchase and installation of 96 feet of 6 foot vinyl fence at a cost of $5,250. The Mayor asked council to think about this as it would greatly improve the looks of the area.

Baker stated that Chief Wood had accumulated the maximum vacation time and asked permission to use the 16 hours that he would be losing over the next two months. Council agreed to this so that he would not lose the time.

Baker also stated that a vendor had made them a good deal on a new copier that would be about $20 less per month. The old copier could possibly be put up for sale. Council agreed to the plan presented by Baker.

Woodall stated that he was preparing to submit the portion of the water project that was cut from the original application to Eugene Triplett, the county engineer, for consideration in the new round of funding made available by Ohio through the American Rescue Act. He felt this would have a good possibility of being funded since it was already designed and ready to go.

Conde inquired about the K-9 program and how it was going. Hoffman stated that he had not talked to Chief Wood about it since he returned from vacation. Conde also stated that some bushes at Vine Street and Lynn Street were blocking the view of people coming onto Vine Street. Hoffman said he would have Joe Powell take care of this.

Village attorney Hedges stated that he had reviewed the camper situation on South Second Avenue and recommended that the property owner be cited to court for allowing the camper to be on her property.

Next council meeting will be Aug. 9 at 7 p.m.

Information submitted by Mayor Fred Hoffman.

Staff Report