Middleport Council discusses projects

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Jul. 22—MIDDLEPORT — Middleport Village Council discussed several matters during the recent meeting.

Middleport Village Council met in regular session on July 12 at village hall with Mayor Fred Hoffman presiding. Present were the following: Council members Matt Lyons, Brian Conde, Shawn Arnott, Ben Reed and Larry Byer. Also present were Fiscal Officer Susan Baker, Police Chief Mony Wood, Building Inspector Mike Hendrickson, Village attorney Richard Hedges, and visitors Ben and Brooke See, Nancy Burns, and Bill Lambert. Opening prayer was given by Mark Morrow followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mayor Hoffman stated that, to the best of his knowledge, the fireworks display did not create any problems with debris fallout. He stated the village had workers available Monday morning but there was no cleanup necessary. The mayor thanked Brian Conde for all his efforts in contacting residents and the fireworks company and felt this was really the reason for not having problems. Jeff Darst had also been in contact with the fireworks company and made some changes in the area from the previous year. The Mayor stated that he felt the efforts made by Conde and Darst were the reason that there were no problems as they made the fireworks company aware of the problems from last year.

Hoffman stated that Baker, on behalf of the village, presented the Pomeroy Council with a proposal to provide 24/7 police and dispatch services to Pomeroy at a yearly cost of $295,000. No decision was made by Pomeroy Council as of that time.

Council members briefly discussed the project and how it could be beneficial to both Pomeroy and Middleport. Hoffman suggested that, if Pomeroy wishes to proceed with a contract, that key personnel from each community form a committee to work out details of the proposal. Hoffman noted that "we are not talking about a merger of the two departments but about Pomeroy contracting with Middleport for police protection."

Hoffman stated that last year the village had plans drawn up and approved by the state for the construction of a service building at the lagoons to house the refuse trucks and possibly other uses. He stated that the village garage area on Park Street was becoming very overcrowded with various equipment. He said that he and Village Administrator Joe Woodall both would like to proceed with construction of such a building. The mayor said that the refuse fund was healthy and suggested that some money be used from that fund and the balance borrowed and repaid from that fund. Council members held a lengthy discussion on the project and it was decided to table the idea and discuss at a later date.

The mayor presented recommendations to council on uses for the $126,100 which will be received soon from the American Rescue Act. He suggested the following: $35,000 to be used at the village parks, possibly for some additional playground equipment; $8,000 to replace an aging generator at the fire house; $20,800 for needed equipment at the fire department to include 15 personal thermal imaging devices to be used by each individual fireman and several other needed pieces of equipment to make their job safer; $2,500 for additional surveillance cameras to be tied into the system which was installed with COVID funds; $20,000 to be reserved for extra Christmas pay for all employees; $2,000 as a grant to the Arts Council to assist them with income loss during the pandemic; and possibly $37,280 to be used on the parking lot project. Council members discussed the recommendation but made no final decision on these allocations.

Hoffman stated that the parking lot is still in need of much work to make it acceptable for village hall. He stated that he did have an estimate for paving at $26,500 but it would not be a good idea to pave with all the drainage problems. He stated he had an estimated cost to install a drainage system at $58,604 for a total project cost of $85,104. He suggested that the project be advertised for bids with funding being divided among various departments that use the building and possibly some funds from the American Rescue plan. Several other ideas were suggested by council members including borrowing some funds and repay from various funds rather than using local funds all at one time. After a lengthy discussion, it was decided to table the idea and consider at a later date.

Baker stated that the fund for the new trophy case to be built in the lobby had reached slightly over $6,000.

Police Chief Mony Wood stated that he was invited by the sheriff's department to a meeting where a discussion was held on the possibility of creating a task force comprised of the sheriff's department and Middleport and connected with various other entities from surrounding counties. At present, both are working with the Gallia-Meigs task force. Wood stated he thought this would be a much better working arrangement and more agencies involved. In response to a question from Conde, Wood stated that he was working on some rules for the canine officer and dog.

Building Inspector Mike Hendrickson informed council that the CDBG house demolition grant was moving along and that Buckeye Hills had hired someone to do the asbestos survey as required. After this is completed, the demolition project can be advertised for bids, with the results of the asbestos survey determining the number of demos which can take place.

Conde stated that he had a request from the Veterans Service Office on Race Street for a sign reserving a parking place for veterans in front of their office. The Mayor stated he thought this was needed and he would take care of it.

Next regular council meeting is July 29 at 7 p.m.

Information provided by Mayor Fred Hoffman.

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