MIDDLEPORT — Middleport Village Council approved the placement of an officer to the drug task force and the retirement of K-9 Bonnie during the recent council meeting.
Attending the meeting were Mayor Fred Hoffman, council members Matt Lyons, Brian Conde, Shawn Arnott, Susan Page and Larry Byer.
Council moved to go into executive session to discuss the employment of an individual. After returning into regular session, It was recommended by Chief Wood and Mayor Hoffman that an officer be assigned to the newly created task force in Meigs County. It was also recommended that K-9 Bonnie be retired, decommissioned and sold to Officer Shannon Smith for $1. K-9 Bonnie had been Smith’s partner.
A lengthy discussion was held with council members expressing their displeasure over spending several thousand dollars for new kennel, etc. and then not use the dog. Smith discussed various problems which made the use of Bonnie not as effective as when the program was initiated.
Council voted to place and officer on the task force. On a 3-2 vote (Lyons and Arnott voted no), council decided to retire and decommission Bonnie and sell to Smith for $1 with the necessary documents to be prepared by Village Attorney Hedges.
In other business, Mary Arnold and several other visitors discussed problems which they feel have been created by the new cemetery policies which were recently put into place by council. After a lengthy discussion, it was agreed that Larry Byer would meet with Arnold and others to discuss changes which may need to be made to the policy.
Hoffman stated that he still was of the opinion that the paving of the parking lot was badly needed and would greatly improve the looks of the area in front of village hall. Council approved the Mayor contacting Myers Paving to do the resurfacing of the parking lot at the estimated cost of $26,500 with the funds for payment being taken from ARPA funds when they become available to the village.
After a short discussion, council approved the installation of a fence between the village garage and Pioneer Cemetery with the project to be paid for from the Cemetery Fund.
The mayor gave council a copy of a letter from Mary Wise outlining her dilemma at the Riverbend Arts Council with funding problems caused by lack of funding projects during the past year due to restrictions posed by the COVID problem. After a short discussion, council agreed to use $2,000 from the new funds to help the Arts Council survive the pandemic.
The mayor stated that the State of Ohio had reached a settlement in the opioid lawsuit and that, if Middleport wanted to participate in the funding from this, that a resolution had to be passed and submitted by Aug. 13. Tentatively, Middleport’s share of the settlement would be $9,445. He stated this was very preliminary and that uses for the funding could be discussed at a later date. After a short discussion, council passed the resolution to participate in the settlement.
Susan Baker stated that the new copier was installed and working well. She was given permission to sell the copier to Pomeroy if they wished to purchase it. Baker stated that she has the application prepared to submit for the village ARPA funds which will be available soon.
Hendrickson stated that the asbestos survey for the CDBG grant has been completed and asbestos was found in a small amount in only one house which was good. He also stated that one of the houses on the demo list had burned which will leave a little more funds for demolition of the remaining eight structures. He stated the next step is for the project to be advertised for bids by the commissioners.
Conde asked Mike Hendrickson if he had an estimate of how much delinquent property tax exists in Middleport. Hendrickson said that the estimate he has is about $700,000 in delinquent taxes in Middleport alone. Conde inquired if the Land Bank was making any progress in helping with this situation. Hendrickson stated the original purpose of the Land Bank formation last year was to work through procedures which would eventually allow delinquent taxes to be abolished and the properties then sold to individuals who would clean up the property and pay taxes. He felt that the Meigs Land Bank has accomplished little if anything at all and to him it appears that county officials are not interested in pursuing this option to alleviate some of the delinquent taxes in the county. He stated that everyone needs to be on board with the project if it is to work. Conde suggested that maybe the village mayors could send a letter to county officials stressing the importance of the Land Bank to the county.
Next regular council meeting is Aug. 23 at 7 p.m..
Information submitted by Middleport Mayor Fred Hoffman.