MIDDLEPORT — Middleport Village Council met in regular session on Monday at Village Hall where members discussed a firetruck purchase and department raises.
Mayor Fred Hoffman presided over the meeting. Also present were council members Shawn Arnott, Brian Conde, Larry Byer, Matt Lyons, Susan Page and Ben Reed. Also present were Fiscal Officer Susan Baker, Assistant Fiscal Officer Margie Baker-Keilitz, Police Chief Mony Wood, Village Administrator Joe Woodall, Building Inspector Mike Hendrickson, Fire Chief Jeff Darst and Village Attorney Richard Hedges.
The following information is based upon a news release submitted by Mayor Hoffman:
Fire Chief Darst appeared before council to discuss the replacement of Engine 12. Darst presented the following information concerning the plan.
“In the past, trucks have been replaced on a 20-year schedule. With price increases and the cost of the ladder truck in 2014, it made it necessary to extend the interval,” Darst said. “The oldest pumper has now been in service for 22 years. The lease for the ladder truck was structured with varying payment amounts to allow for various trucks to be properly paid for. There is currently a two year lead time on new fire apparatus. The price of new trucks has increased $100,000 in the past year and is expected to increase another $180,000 in the next two years. Current estimated price of the new truck is $658,521. By ordering now, we will avoid any future increases and receive the truck in early 2024. The plan requires no down payment and the lease would be set up at the time of delivery. The truck would be purchased through the Ohio State Term Schedule which ensures the best price. Upon delivery of the new truck, the current Engine 12 will be sold.”
After a short discussion, council unanimously voted to proceed with the order and purchase of the new truck.
At this point, Darst and Councilman Byer had to leave due to a fire call.
Hoffman said the sewer extension project study had been completed and that he, Woodall, Andy Blank and Joe Powell had met with Burgess & Niple to discuss the project and a contract for design was presented to council for consideration. The Mayor said he e-mailed the contract to council members earlier. Hoffman said the proposed contract from Burgess & Niple for design of the first phase of the project which includes sewer extension along Route 7 and including Cheshire would be approximately $450,000 and the design should be completed before construction funds are applied for through EPA.
On previous sewer projects, the design was rolled into the construction grant but this is not a guarantee, according to the news release.
“In order to proceed we need to fund the design,” further stated the release.
Hoffman said the best option if council wants to proceed is an OWDA loan with hopes that it would be rolled into a construction grant. Hoffman said he would like to see both Meigs and Gallia county commissioners involved in the design costs. Hoffman said there was a good possibility of total funding but there was no guarantee this would happen and he and Woodall both felt it was a good project but the decision was up to council on whether they wanted to take the chance and proceed. After a lengthy discussion, by a 4-1 vote, the Mayor was authorized to sign the contract with Burgess & Niple for the design costs on the project with Conde voting “no” on the motion. On Wednesday, Mayor Hoffman said he would not be signing the contract at this time since there were not adequate construction funds available.
Hoffman said his recommendation on pay increases, which he had brought up at the previous meeting, were still the same and felt it needed to be discussed by council again. Fiscal Officer Baker, as requested at the last meeting, had prepared information showing what funds would be affected and by how much. After a short discussion, the recommended raises of 50 cents per hour for public works employees was unanimously approved. During the discussion, Woodall said he did not want the raise. Woodall also said within the next 30 to 45 days he would be submitting his resignation, according to the news release.
Woodall said the water project was going very well and several crews were working in the village to try to complete the project as soon as possible. He said he received a lot of complaints on rough roads and traffic patterns but it was very difficult to control since several areas were being worked on at the same time.
Minutes of the February 28 meeting were approved unanimously, along with the payment of current bills and the finance report.
Mary Wise, chairperson of the trophy case committee, reported to council that the project was completed about one year after the initial discussion on it. She said the committee would like to have a short dedication ceremony on March 28 at 6:30 p.m. and invited everyone to attend. Hoffman thanked Wise, the committee and the many donors for all the work that was done in making “a great addition to the village hall lobby,” stated the news release.
Police Chief Wood said he would not be at the meeting on March 28 as he would be gone for police chief training all that week.
Conde requested an executive session to discuss possible litigation. Council returned from executive session with no further actions taken.
Council adjourned with the next regular meeting scheduled on March 28 at 7 p.m.
Information submitted by Middleport Mayor Fred Hoffman.