Middleport Council discusses projects

MIDDLEPORT — Middleport Village Council met in regular session on Monday at village hall where they discussed grant projects.

Present during the meeting were council members Shawn Arnott, Brian Conde, Larry Byer, Matt Lyons, and Ben Reed. Also present were Fiscal Officer Susan Baker, Assistant Fiscal Officer Margie Baker-Keilitz, Building Inspector Mike Hendrickson, Supervisor Joe Powell, Chief Water Operator Andy Blank, Police Chief Mony Wood and Village Attorney Richard Hedges. Council Member Susan Page was absent from the meeting.

Minutes of the April 25 meeting were approved, along with approval on the payment of current bills, finance report, and income tax report.

Jim Hudson appeared before council to discuss his alleged over payment of his water bill for a one-year period until the problem was finally located and corrected. After a short discussion, Conde suggested the village get a report from the water office for that time period and consider this before a decision was made. The matter was then tabled until the next meeting.

Karlena Wandling discussed with council the handicapped playground equipment which she had raised money to purchase. Conde apologized for the delays and said he hoped to have something in place by the next council meeting as to how to proceed with the project.

Bill White and Ron Taylor, two residents from Bone Hollow Road, which outside Middleport, discussed with council the possibilities of providing village water services to their area. Hoffman said he had been looking into what had been done on this issue by Joe Woodall and said the only thing done so far by engineers for the village was a line across a map showing where the water line could be located. Hoffman said there were no cost estimates available. He said he would look into possibilities of grant funding which might be available but that nothing would be happening in the near future unless funds would become available for the funding of the complete project. He said the village would first have to obtain cost estimates on design and construction in order to seek funding for the project. Hoffman said he did not feel this would be a feasible project unless complete funding could be obtained since there were only 6-7 residents and the project would be very expensive.

Hoffman said the new guardrail for Middleport Hill was not funded this year through the ODOT safety program.

Hoffman said the village had been awarded $863,265 in Federal funds through the ODOT Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) program for Phase 1 of a two-phase project, which will replace all sidewalks on North Second, South Second, South Third, South Fourth, Mill Street, etc. from, and including, the uptown area down to Hartinger Park. He said the village will be responsible for five percent ($45,435) of construction costs plus engineering costs ($151,500) and that he is working on funding for this match. The funds will be available July 1, 2024. The mayor said he felt this would be a big boost to the uptown area and the other areas.

Hoffman said the truck ordered by the village some time ago was still available at Mark Porter. He said the water department needs a new truck. Blank, as head of the water department, does not have a vehicle drive or to keep his tools in. The truck at $35,790 would be “a bargain,” according to Hoffman. The mayor suggested taking the $23,000 from the backhoe sale and take $12,000 from the water department funds and buy the truck because it will be used only by the water department. After a short discussion, Reed made a motion to purchase the truck and pay for it from funds received from sale of the backhoe and water department capital improvement funds.

Hoffman said the water project is winding down and should be done soon, and that a check list of things that need done has been prepared and Powell and Blank are keeping on top of this.

Hoffman also said the village application for the Community Reinvestment Area has been approved by the Ohio Department of Development, and that he will be getting a press release out on this soon with information on how to apply, etc. He said it ended up being quite a lengthy process and he thanked Hendrickson for all his help.

Hoffman requested the Human Resources Committee and Safety Committee meet as soon as possible to discuss police wages since it had been agreed last year that police wages would be reconsidered some time in June.

Hoffman presented a water resolution that was needed in reference to our OPWC grant. This was passed unanimously.

Hoffman said on April 20, he emailed council members a proposal on the reorganization of the Public Works Department. We discussed this at the last meeting and was tabled to this meeting. Hoffman said a concrete plan on moving forward is needed. Hoffman submitted a plan to utilize all of the local people. Hoffman said he would like to see these changes approved by council. Conde moved that council go into executive session to discuss the matter. After returning into regular session and after a brief discussion, it was moved by Arnott to hire Joe Powell as Village Administrator and Andy Blank as Assistant Village Administrator/Chief Water Operator, directly responsible for all water and sewer operations. The motion was approved unanimously.

Conde inquired as to how the fireworks donations were going and Susan Baker informed him that a little over $2,000 was still needed. The Mayor said he talked to Mary Wise and she felt there were still a few good donations that had not come in yet. It was pointed out by the mayor that Middleport individuals may also want to donate toward the fireworks, and that all donations would be appreciated, no matter what size. Anyone wishing to donate should contact the fiscal officer at village hall to submit their donation or give to any of the council members.

Conde also stated that Ben Nease was interested in meeting with council again to discuss his proposed project and possibly incorporate some of it in the TAP grant program, which was awarded to the village.

Reed said he would like to move on any proposals or questions to council as soon as is possible and did not like to delay decisions as he felt this was not fair to all individuals involved.

Lyons inquired about the funds which we had applied for to replace the village hall roof. Hoffman said the CDBG application to the county was submitted by Hendrickson but no decision on funding had been made. Lyons also inquired about the funding for brownfield cleanup, which had been allocated to Meigs County. Hendrickson said he was not aware of any projects being submitted by the county on the brownfield funds. He said he was approached by the administrator hired by the county as to condemnation procedures. Hendrickson said he only spoke for Middleport and could not comment on another community’s policies.

Council adjourned with the next regular meeting of council scheduled for June 13 at 7 p.m.

Information submitted by Middleport Mayor Fred Hoffman.