MIDDLEPORT — Middleport Village Council met in regular session on Dec. 13 at village hall with Mayor Fred Hoffman presiding.
Present during the meeting were council members Matt Lyons, Shawn Arnott, Ben Reed, Brian Conde, Larry Byer and Susan Page. Also present were Fiscal Officer Susan Baker, Police Chief Mony Wood, Village Administrator Joe Woodall, Building Inspector Mike Hendrickson, and Village Attorney Richard Hedges.
Motions were made to approve the minutes of the Nov. 22 meeting and to approve payment of the bills as reviewed by the finance committee. Both were approved unanimously. Also approved were the finance report and the income tax report. The mayor stated that the income tax collected in 2021 was about $17,000 greater than 2020.
Hoffman said the police department had been awarded a grant of $6948.56 through the Office of Criminal Justice to assist with the purchase of five new radios and accessories for the police department. He said the total cost will be $9264.75 with a local match of $2316.19. Hoffman said the police department is in need of radios and was very thankful to receive the funds from OCJS.
Hoffman said he had attended the District 18 meeting in Marietta on Dec. 7 and the Middleport-Pomeroy-Syracuse cooperative application was given final approval and that these funds would be available July 1, 2022. Hoffman the Middleport portion of the project would be the milling and paving of N. Second, N. Third, S. Third and Mill Street at a total cost of $338,626 — with grant funds of $250,583 and local funds of $88,043. He said he felt this would be a great improvement in the downtown area.
Hoffman updated council on the second application which they had authorized to submit through OPWC. This is being submitted through the Small Government portion of OPWC because it did not receive funding in the regular round of projects. This would be a $249,894 project, with $124,987 grant funded and a $124,987 loan at zero percent for 15 years. This project would include paving Railroad Street, portion of Pearl Street, Hobson Drive, Fairlane Drive, Headley Street, Russell Street, Maple Street, and portion of Park Street plus new guardrail along Hobson Drive.
The mayor thanked all those who helped with the Christmas activities, especially Brian Conde, Mary Wise, and Wilbur Stivers who were responsible for getting the activities together. He stated that he felt they were a great success and a lot of people came out for the festivities.
Hoffman said he mentioned last year and still believes it this year, that council talks about recreation and demolition a lot but never puts any local funding with it. He suggested some funds be appropriated for these two items next year. He also said they can discuss these items, but need to show real interest by putting money toward them.
Hoffman said $500,000 has been allocated to the Land Bank for residential and commercial demolition in Meigs County and Hendrickson and he plan to participate in the program and hopefully have some success with demolition of more condemned houses in the village. He also said there has been $1 million allocated to Meigs county for brownfield cleanup, which includes anything from asbestos to petroleum. There is no match on either of these and a lot of good possibilities for Meigs County if it is used. Hoffman said one of the biggest drawbacks to all of the demolition grants is that the property still remains in the ownership of the original person who, many times, just let it sit and grow weeds. He felt some systems needed to be worked out to make someone responsible for maintenance of the property once it is cleaned up.
Hoffman thanked council members for all the help they have been to him in his first two years in office. He said they do not always agree, but by working together as they have, they accomplished a few things that have improved Middleport and that is what they all want to do. He also said he personally looks forward to the next two years and knows they will get a lot more things done in everyone’s efforts to make Middleport a better place in which to live.
Conde inquired if there was anything new on the Salisbury Fire Levy. The mayor referred him to the village attorney, who has been discussing this with Pomeroy and other officials. He stated there were several options being looked at on how to correct the problem. Everyone agreed that the best solution would be not to collect the one mill in Middleport and Pomeroy.
Temporary Appropriations Resolution for 2022 was presented by Baker. She explained this would provide for the operation of the village through March 31, 2022, and permanent appropriations would need to be enacted before that time. Baker also presented a Resolution to Amend Certificate of Estimated Resources showing increases in most categories. After a brief discussion, both resolutions were passed unanimously.
Police Chief Wood said the nurse for the jail has been on call quite a bit and recommended her salary be increased, which was agreed to by council. Wood and Baker also recommended the jail rates be increased by $1.00 per day in 2022, which was approved by council.
Hoffman stated Wood had done a great job with the jail and that was a lot of the reason there were increased funds available this year. He stated both Meigs County and Jackson were great customers of the jail and this was very important to the continued operation of the facility.
Wood said the task force recently made another major drug bust in Middleport and felt they were doing a great job in getting drugs off the street. He also said the Miracles for Kids which was operated by his staff for the first time this year was a great success and $8,900 was donated and spent on clothing, toys, and food for children in need. Council members and the mayor commended the police department for their efforts.
Woodall updated council on the progress of the water project and stated it was moving along smoothly with service connections now being made in the Page Street area. He thanked everyone for working together and felt there was good teamwork among village departments. Lyons asked about the status of the truck purchases and was given an update by Woodall on both trucks.
Hendrickson briefly discussed the progress being made with the Land Bank and said there was a meeting scheduled for Wednesday at 9 a.m. He also stated that the demo program funded with CDBG funds was well underway and a total of nine houses and trailers will be demolished with these funds. He said he has about 12 other properties that have been condemned and that he hoped these could be done through some of the $500,000 which was recently allocated to the Land Bank. He also said that a portion of Mill Street will be closed when the house on the hill on Mill Street is demolished.
Brian Conde provided an update on the handicapped equipment to be placed in the area behind village hall. He said he talked to Penny Mullins about doing a design of the area for the park and information is now being gathered so she can do this. He also stated that he would like to get the recreation committee together to discuss purchasing other equipment at the park.
Conde said he thought it would be a good idea to have some type of resident alerting system in case of catastrophes such as the one in Mayfield, Ky.
He also inquired about Ann Bonner and Hoffman said she would be here on Dec. 17 and would assist village workers in doing some tree trimming. Conde also received an update from Hedges on what may be done about buildings in the downtown area being used for storage.
The number of portajohns needed in the parks for the winter was briefly discussed and a motion was made by Ben Reed to leave one in General Hartinger Park and one in Diles Park for the winter. This was approved unanimously by council.
Council canceled the meeting on Dec. 27 and the next regular meeting of council will be at 7 p.m on Jan. 10, 2022.
Information submitted by Middleport Mayor Fred Hoffman.