GALLIPOLIS — The Gallipolis City Commission met in a special session on Tuesday evening to discuss the ongoing business of the City of Gallipolis.
Gallipolis City Manager Randy Finney reported to the commission, discussing several continuing and upcoming projects within the municipality.
According to Finney, a completion date for the administrative office building being constructed in the 300 block of Third Avenue is still being projected for mid-February.
“They are shooting for February the eighth to have their work done, and, probably a week just to clean things up and get the phones in place and all that,” Finney said. “So far it looks really good from what I’ve seen of what they’ve done.”
Finney reported that the grids for the ceiling tiles have been installed in the ceilings of the facility, duct work and moulding is being installed, a final coat of paint is being applied and most of the doors in the building have been put in place. Carpeting is expected to be installed this week, as well, according to Finney.
Slip repair work is also reportedly ongoing on the original road to Mound Hill Cemetery.
According to Finney, as of Monday, approximately 10 pilings had been installed along the roadway that was closed in early 2011.
“They’ve had good weather the last couple of days to move forward, [but], they are working in pretty much any kind of weather right now. It was snowing the other day, Friday, and they were out there working in the snow, so, it doesn’t seem to bother them,” Finney stated.
Finney also reported that a representative with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be present at the next city commission meeting to discuss the sewer plant upgrade with the commissioners.
Finney reported that the city has applied for a loan through the Ohio EPA for the upgrade to the sewer facility. The total project cost is estimated at $8.2 million.
“He [the Ohio EPA representative] wants to come down and go through [the project] and make sure everyone is on the same page,” Finney said while reporting that it has been approximately 25 years since the plant has seen an upgrade.
“It’s something that we need to do,” he said. “The plant is starting to get some age in it, and we’re having a lot more issues with it.”
The city manager also reported that he has applied for an Ohio Public Works Commission funding for the plant upgrade. This money could equate to approximately $500,000 for the project.
Also during the discussion, Finney reported on recent phone issues that have plagued the workers at the new Gallipolis Justice Center.
“We are struggling at the justice center. The fiber coming into the building from Horizon is very poor,” Finney stated while adding that approximately three out of the last six days the phone lines have been down at the facility located on Second Avenue.
“They [Horizon Telcom] told me yesterday that if they can’t get it working … they are going to help us switch back to our old provider,” Finney said. “That’s not a real good option.”
Horizon, a broadband service provider, that currently provides broadband to “community anchor institutions,” such as schools and hospitals in the area also provides phone service to those institutions, including the city.
“It’s kind of strange because every bank, pretty much, in town, the hospital’s on it, the schools are on this same system. Everybody is using it and they are not having these kind of troubles. I’m not sure what’s going on, totally,” Finney said. “We can’t afford to have the phone system down in the offices in there.”
Finney told the commission that he had put calls into other companies that may be able to provide a similar service, and he is hopeful to find other options that may alleviate the problems with the justice center’s phone lines.
“It’s becoming a real issue for us. When we’re down, it’s not for an hour or two, we’re down four and five hours at a time with this system,” he said.
Also during Tuesday’s special meeting, two new firefighters were appointed by the city commission, joining the ranks of the Gallipolis Fire Department.
Josh Staley, who has been a member of the explorer program with the fire department for several years, was the first appointee.
According to Gallipolis Fire Chief Keith Elliott, the explorer program ends for individuals at the age of 21, and Staley, who is no longer eligible for the program, has approached the fire department’s membership seeking to be appointed as a firefighter.
“He’s now wanting to join the fire department as a fireman. He was brought up before the membership, they voted and unanimously recommended that he be put on as a fireman,” Elliott told the commission.
Also appointed to the fire department was Joseph Woodall.
Woodall, according to Elliott, has worked for the city for several years, and also wished to join the ranks of the fire department.
“He, again, wanted to join the department; the membership also unanimously recommended that he be appointed,” Elliott said.
During a vote, the commission unanimously approved to two appointments.
The commission also appointed Jim Osborne to the recreation board.
Only one ordinance was passed by commission on Tuesday — an emergency ordinance setting temporary appropriations for current expenses for the city for the calendar year 2013.
Following the open session, the commission entered executive session with Finney to discuss an information technology services contract that may be entered into between the city and Gallia County.
At the conclusion of executive session, the commission held a budget study session and discussed the 2013 proposed budget for the municipality.