MIDDLEPORT — Police department raises and grant funding applications were approved during the recent meeting of Middleport Village Council.
Middleport Village Council met in regular session on June 28 at village hall with Mayor Fred Hoffman presiding.
Present, in addition to Mayor Hoffman, were the following: Council members Matt Lyons, Brian Conde, Susan Page, Shawn Arnott, Ben Reed and Larry Byer. Also present were Fiscal Officer Susan Baker, Village Administrator Joe Woodall, Police Chief Mony Wood, Building Inspector Mike Hendrickson, village attorney Richard Hedges, and visitors Ben and Brooke See, Nancy Burns, Bill Lambert, Pomeroy Mayor Don Anderson, Pomeroy Council President Nick Michael, Pomeroy Police Chief Chris Pitchford and Michael Davis from the Meigs County Health Department
Mayor Hoffman introduced Anderson, Michael and Pitchford who reportedly expressed an interest in exploring the possibilities of some form of combined police protection in both communities. During the meeting, Anderson discussed the difficulties for small communities in finding and funding adequate police officers at this time and felt it would be a good idea to look at ways that would be beneficial for both communities in handling police protection. Hoffman stated that Middleport, as a start, would consider offering police services on a contract basis to Pomeroy with the possibility of working into other arrangements in the future. After a lengthy discussion by all parties, it was agreed to continue the discussion after Mayor Anderson had discussed options with Pomeroy council members.
Hoffman stated that police salary raises had been discussed for some time and that he had a recommendation on this subject along with a proposed raise for Public Works employees. His plan would be for a starting salary of $16 per hour for police officers to be increased to $16.50 after six months of employment. Raises would also be given to the existing police officers and to the Jail Administrator and Assistant Jail Administrator. After a lengthy discussion by all council members, the above recommendation was approved. Council members decided not to consider Public Works raises at this time since they had received a raise about six months ago.
The Mayor stated that Ohio Public Works applications for 2022 will need to be submitted in August this year and suggested that the village submit two applications.
The first would be a joint application with Syracuse and Pomeroy. This application would total $530,000 and would be divided as follows: Syracuse total $130,000 with a match of $33,800, Pomeroy total $70,000 with a match of $18,000, and Middleport total $330,000 with a match of $86,000. The Middleport portion would be the milling and resurfacing of all of North Second and North Third Avenue, Mill Street from South Fifth to First Avenue, and South Third from Mill to Hartinger.
The second application would be a Middleport only application and would be for a total of $249,000. This would be a $124,500 grant and a zero percent loan of $124,500 to be repaid over 15 years at $8,300 per year. This project would include the following streets: Railroad Street, Pearl Street (from Lincoln to Hartinger), North First Avenue, Hobson Drive, guardrail on Hobson Drive, Fairlane Drive, Headley, Russell and Maple Streets, and Park Street from Page to Fairview. Whatever projects gain approval would take place in August-September, 2022.
Hoffman stated that the parking lot in front of village hall has needed improvements for several years. He stated that he had received an estimate from Myers Paving in the amount of $26,500 for paving the area but we need to fix the drainage problem before paving. Administrator Joe Woodall has been talking to Chris Hutton about what type of drainage and the cost. Council requested to have all the cost involved before approving the project.
Michael Davis, Director of Healthy Communities for the Meigs County Health Department discussed with council some of the improvements that the health department would like to make at Hartinger Park with grant funds that are available to the health department. He stated they would like to pave the roadway into the park to at least the tennis court area which would make the area better for the handicapped and possibly put a walkway to several of the ball fields and maybe eventually put a paved path all the way around the park. Council voted to approve the items that Davis was talking about and thanked him for his efforts to improve our parks.
The Mayor stated that the village needs to purchase two police cruisers this year to replace aging vehicles. He stated that Woodall had applied for one through USDA but we were unsure whether it would be approved or not. Wood has located one for about $39,000 and would like to purchase it. After a short discussion, council approved the purchase.
The Mayor stated that the Ohio legislature had reduced the amount of funds which the village will receive under the American Rescue Plan. The federal law originally allocated $472,000 to Middleport, but this amount was reduced to $252,240 upon a recommendation of the Finance Committee of the Ohio House. This was eventually signed into law by Gov. DeWine. Conde commented that this would definitely affect the wish list for items which the village would like to use these funds for.
Woodall stated that there were several thing in HB 168 which could be beneficial to small communities. One of these was a pot of money which can be used for water and sewer projects. He stated these would probably be very competitive but the village could possibly get this type of project funded through that.
Conde stated that his neighborhood has had numerous problems with SuddenLink television service and wondered if other areas in town had problems. Byer said they had numerous problems with service at their home. It was agreed that the village will look into the possibility of filing an official complaint with SuddenLink on the service in various areas of the community.
Conde stated he had been in contact with Hamburg Fireworks, the Middleport Business Association, and a local resident to try to work out problems with the fireworks display which occurred last year. He stated that the area had been moved closer to the river at the suggestion of the fireworks company which should give a better trajectory for setting off the fireworks. Conde stated that it was agreeable to all parties involved on having the fireworks in that area. Conde stated that he had a copy of the liability insurance and council agreed to make every effort to find a different location next year.
Next regular meeting of council is scheduled for July 12 at 7 p.m. at Middleport Village Hall.
Information submitted by Middleport Mayor Fred Hoffman.