MIDDLEPORT — The Middleport Village Council discussed current projects during the regular meeting on Monday.
Mayor Fred Hoffman presided over the meeting held at Village Hall. Present were Council Members Matt Lyons, Shawn Arnott, Ben Reed and Larry Byer. Also present were Fiscal Officer Susan Baker, Assistant Fiscal Officer Ben See, Police Chief Mony Wood, Village Administrator Joe Woodall, Building Inspector Mike Hendrickson, Fire Chief Jeff Darst, Fireman Joe Powell, Village Attorney Richard Hedges.
Hoffman said the jail cook had resigned and Chief Wood would like to use The Blakeslee Center to provide meals for prisoners and not hire a cook. Hoffman said this had been under discussion between Wood, Baker and himself and all think this would be the best way to go. After a short discussion, it was agreed to try this for a 30-day period and then reassess the program on cost and results. Cost of meals would be $5 per meal.
Mayor Hoffman stated that a pre-construction meeting was held about the water project. Woodall said the contractor had been informed on doing the uptown areas first and had given him a date of Nov. 1 for completion of that area. Then the project would move down South Third. It was said numerous fire hydrants would be installed or replaced and “better” water pressure would be available on South Third. Hoffman said Woodall would be the project inspector and Woodall said a portion of his salary on the inspection would be reimbursed to the village which would be of benefit to the village.
Hoffman presented a taser contract to council, which was recommended by Wood. The project would include the purchase of seven tasers and related equipment at a cost of $22,225, which could be paid over a five-year period at $4,445 per year. Baker said with the police wage increase, contracting with a doctor and other ongoing items she felt the village should not take on any additional expense. After a short discussion, the project was dropped.
Hoffman said the six-month trial period on contracting to operate the Syracuse water system was up this month and both communities had the option to not renew the contract. Hoffman said he and Woodall had met with the Syracuse Board of Public Affairs and Mayor Eric Cunningham to discuss the contract. Hoffman said the Village of Middleport would like to offer Syracuse the contract, which would be a three-year contract with a $5,000 increase the first year and a 3% yearly increase thereafter. Woodall said after the initial couple months, things seemed to be going well. Woodall discussed several changes, which he made to the contract. After a short discussion council approved submitting the contract to the Syracuse Board of Public Affairs at its Oct. 5 meeting.
Hoffman said some improvements had been made at Hartinger Park recently. Hoffman said Joe Powell had replaced all the chains on the swings to make sure they would be safe. Hoffman said Dave Boyd has been instrumental in helping to take care of the park. Arrangements have been made to have the fence repaired that was badly damaged by tree limbs. Boyd also received a donation from Mark Porter on a $1,000 account at Valley Lumber to be used for repairing the steps coming down from Broadway Street. There will also be repairs at the restrooms.
Hoffman presented a resolution for consideration which would allocate most of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act funds to various projects in the village. Hoffman said the $26,500 for the parking lot and $2,000 for the Riverbend Arts Council had already been approved. Hoffman recommended various items for the fire department which had been discussed at several previous meetings, of approximately $34,000. Hoffman also recommended approximately $35,000 for park improvements, which Brian Conde had suggested and had been discussed at several previous meetings. Hoffman suggested putting $20,000 back for employee benefits, such as additional pay. Baker reportedly discussed the approved use of funds. Hoffman presented an email from Paul Mann at Office of Budget and Management stating that all these projects were eligible to use the $202,000 in lost income. After a lengthy discussion, it was determined that since Larry Byer was a fireman, he could not vote. Therefore there were not enough members present to pass the resolution.
The first reading was given on Ordinance 141-21 which increases the fees charged for impounded and/or seized vehicles. New rates were also established for various size dumpsters at the recommendation of Woodall.
Baker said she and Woodall discussed the need for a Refuse Capital Improvement Fund in order to have funds available to replace vehicles when necessary. This rate was set at 10 percent and approved by council.
Woodall gave council a copy of a letter which he sent to area businesses about the possibility of them using the Middleport sewer extension. Woodall said the Gavin plant had expressed an interest and that he would be following up with contacts in the area which may use the system.
Building Inspector Mike Hendrickson said the bids on the CDBG demolition project would arrive soon and this project should get underway shortly.
Council member Arnott asked Wood about problems at Village Manor. Wood said he felt that things were improving. Wood said Woodall and Hendrickson had been a help in getting things done there.
Council set Thursday, October 28 between 6-7 p.m. as Trick-or-Treat night in Middleport.
It was also noted Mayor Hoffman welcomed Fire Chief Jeff Darst and Fireman Joe Powell to the meeting and commended firefighters for their volunteer work in the community.
Council also moved to go into executive session to discuss personnel. After returning to regular session, a motion was approved to accept the resignation of Ben See as Assistant Fiscal Officer.
Next regular meeting of council is Sept. 27 at 7 p.m.
Information submitted by Middleport Mayor Fred Hoffman.