MIDDLEPORT — Middleport Village Council met in regular session earlier this month at village hall discussing paving, levies and grants, among other agenda items.
Present were the following: Mayor Fred Hoffman; Council members Matt Lyons, Shawn Arnott, Ben Reed, Brian Conde, Susan Page, and Larry Byer. Also present were Fiscal Officer Susan Baker, Police Chief Mony Wood, Village Administrator Joe Woodall, Building Inspector Mike Hendrickson, and Village attorney Richard Hedges. Visitors present were Charles Kitchen and Jessica Ashley. Opening prayer was given by Matt Lyons followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
According to a news release about the meeting, “The Mayor stated that, in his opinion, the village has had a good year and that we had used and continue to use ARPA funds to provide improvements which would not have happened otherwise. He stated that he felt we had a good group of employees and would like to see them rewarded for their efforts. The Mayor suggested that additional pay in the amount of $500 for full-time and $250 for part-time individuals be given to employees as extra pay during the Christmas season. He estimated this to cost about $16,000 and stated that it could be paid from wherever they desired but he felt it needed to be done. All council members appeared to be receptive to the idea with questions discussed as to what funds the additional benefits would be paid from.”
After a reported “lengthy discussion,” Reed made the following motion “if it is found affordable, a holiday bonus of $500 for full-time and $250 for part-time employees is to be paid out by November 23.” This was agreed to unanimously by village council members.
The Mayor reminded council that the next meeting on Nov. 22 would be the public meeting to approve or disapprove the decision of the zoning commission which was not to change the area of the old Slack property from residential to commercial as requested by the property owner Billy Goble, stated the news release.
The Mayor also reminded council that Ohio Department of Natural Resources tree expert Ann Bonner would be in the village at 10 a.m. on Nov. 16 to inspect the trees at Hartinger Park. He also suggested, that if there is time, that she take a look at the trees in Diles Park, which are large and close together and possibly could need some trimming.
Mayor Hoffman also reportedly stated that he and Joe Woodall had been discussing the possibility of trying to obtain some funding to install a skatepark on the concrete slab where the batting cage used to be. He stated that the application period was open on the Land and Water Conservation Fund program but must be submitted by Nov. 15. He stated that Woodall was working on the application which would require a 50 percent local match. He stated that the minimum project cost has to be at least $100,000 so the village would be responsible for at least $50,000 if the project were approved.
According to the news release: “He stated that these federal grants are very competitive and that we would not know until some time next year about the funding. He stated that we could decide on where the local funds could come from at the time of grant approval and that, if we could not supply the match, we did not have to accept the grant. Council unanimously approved the resolution to apply.”
Hoffman stated that all of the Middleport renewal tax levies passed by “a very substantial margin and expressed thanks to all village voters for their support, with the approval ratings being from 69% to 76% on the three levies.”
The Mayor stated that the Middleport-Pomeroy-Syracuse OPWC paving project was given a No. 2 rating by the county OPWC committee, which means that, barring any unforeseen happenings, this project should be in line for funding. The mayor stated that Tim King and Pomeroy Mayor Don Anderson had attended the meeting and voiced their support for the project.
According to the news release, “The Middleport portion of the project would be the milling and paving of No. Second Ave., No. Third Ave., Mill St., and So. Third Ave. and felt this would be a big boost to our downtown area along with the Pomeroy portion which is the paving of Pomeroy Main St. from Save-A-Lot to the corporation line.”
The news release stated the Salisbury Township fire levy votes were reportedly counted by hand, passing 298-284 and that this was the unofficial vote at the time of the council meeting earlier this month.
(Editor’s note: As reported in today’s The Daily Sentinel regarding Pomeroy Village Council’s Nov. 1 meeting, “Mayor [Don] Anderson informed Council of an issue with the recently passed Salisbury Township Replacement Fire Protection Levy. ‘He advised the Township failed to exclude the municipalities of Pomeroy and Middleport when filing the levy, and that he had met with the Salisbury Trustees and their legal counsel to discuss options to remedy the issue,’ according to the unapproved minutes from the Nov. 1 village council meeting.”)
At Middleport’s recent meeting, the news release states Mayor Hoffman instructed village attorney Hedges to discuss options with Pomeroy’s attorney on “how to keep our residents from paying this additional mill.”
Resolution was passed accepting the amounts and rates as determined by the budget commission and authorizing the necessary tax levies and certifying them to the county auditor.
Woodall stated that the water project was moving along and that line replacement was now occurring in the Fairlane Drive area and would then move on to So. Third Ave. Woodall discussed various aspects of the project with council members. Page inquired of Woodall as to how things are working out with the Syracuse water system. He replied that everything is going well.
Police Chief Wood stated that he would be using excess village commissary funds to purchase turkeys at Save-A-Lot for village employees
Building Inspector Hendrickson told council that the gentleman who was interested in two of Middleport’s liquor permits had contacted him again about what council’s feelings were on this. After a brief discussion, no action was taken on the request. He also stated that there was interest from an individual in establishing a medical marijuana pharmacy in the building formerly occupied by Goodwill Industries. Hedges stated this was considered as a pharmacy and there were no local restrictions on this other than what had been set by the state.
Lyons stated that he had visited Blakeslee Center and thought it was a great asset to the community. He also said that he had been asked about a Christmas parade this year. He said he was not sure who organized the parade and the Christmas trees up town. After a short discussion, it was agreed that the business owners had organized last year and this was usually the way parades were handled. Woodall stated he had assisted last year with the trees on the lot up town and would be willing to assist them again if they so desired.
Ben Reed thanked council members Conde, Arnott, and Byer for running for election and congratulated them for being interested in council.
Conde stated that there were several buildings in the downtown area that are being used only for storage and suggested that maybe the village should look into some kind of legislation to prevent this from happening. Hedges said that this would be a zoning issue. Conde also stated that the handicapped playground equipment would not be installed until spring. The Mayor suggested that the recreation committee submit a plan on where and how this equipment would be installed.
Page pointed out that crosswalks uptown are in need of attention, especially in the area on Mill Street.
Byer inquired on the status of the new truck which had been ordered. Woodall stated that we are still waiting and that delivery on many items is slow right now.
Also speaking the the meeting was a resident of So. Second Ave., Charles Kitchen, discussing with council parking problems which he has near his home. Also, Jessica Ashley discussed with council the possibility of restoring some of the downtown business buildings to make them like Middleport used to be. She suggested maybe help could be obtained from the historical society and from other agencies. After discussion, the mayor and council offered to provide whatever assistance they could to Ashley in her endeavors. Ashley distributed copies of buildings in other communities that had been restored.
(Information submitted by Middleport Mayor Fred Hoffman)