GALLIPOLIS — The Gallipolis City Commission met this week for its regular meeting, passing an emergency resolution appointing a new city auditor.
The meeting was held in-person and via Zoom with four of the five commissioners present. Cody Caldwell, president and Beau Sang, city commissioner were present via Zoom. Michael Fulks, vice-president and Michael Brown, city commissioner were present in-person.
Brynn Saunders Noe, city solicitor, read the emergency resolutions for the commission to discuss.
The first emergency resolution was to appoint Shelly Clonch as the City of Gallipolis’ auditor. Fulks made the motion and Brown seconded with all present members approving.
There was an emergency motion to authorize Ronnie Lynch, acting-city manager, to prepare, submit and execute contracts — participating in the Ohio Public Works Commission State Capital Improvement and/or Local Transportation Improvement Program(s).
Lynch said a Ed Swisher, contractor, has agreed to help with writing the grant and an engineer has already been contacted to assist with the engineering aspect of the grant.
A motion was made by Brown and seconded by Fulks, with all members in favor.
The first reading of a resolution to allow Lynch to grant easement for AEP to install needed equipment to provide service on Sanders Hill Water Tower Facility, was discussed.
Annette M. Landers, city clerk, said this was an issue that came up Friday.
“We’ve been working diligently to try and get it all taken care of,” Landers said. “The lady from AEP was not able to find the deed that has the easement on it, because for some reason, the parcel number doesn’t have the page where it’s recorded, associated with it on the county auditor’s website.”
Landers said this is just to get a head start to help move the project forward. The motion was made by Brown and seconded by Fulks with approval by all members.
A second reading of an ordinance to allow Lynch to enter into an agreement with USI Insurance Services (PEP) for general liability and property insurance was discussed. Fulks made the motion to pass and Brown seconded with all in favor.
The ordinance allowing the city manager to enter into contract with Gallia County to furnish emergency management services was moved from an emergency resolution to a first reading.
Landers said this is an annual ordinance due at the beginning of each year and that the county was getting a head start on it. It was motioned by Fulks and seconded by Sang with favor from all members.
An emergency ordinance to amend a resolution setting appropriations for current city expenses during the 2021 fiscal year, ending Dec. 21, was moved to a first reading. It was motioned by Brown and seconded by Sang with all in favor. The additional funds were attributed to expenses associated with the housing of prisoners.
Landers also said the funding to repair the police department’s equipment was getting dangerously low.
“We didn’t want to leave them not being able to repair like a police car or something that they needed,” Landers said.
There was a budgeted five percent increase for the insurance lines, Landers said. The increase ended up being 10% increase. The insurance included property and casualty.
Landers said she was also reducing the number from the American Rescue Plan from the amount the city was originally told it would be getting to what it has received currently.
There was also Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) grants approved that the courts were not expecting, so Landers said the budget needed adjusted for the grant renewals. There was also a $50,000 increase for the construction line maintenance for a sewer project that quotes had been received. Landers said the budget had more than enough money for the project, it just had to be appropriated correctly.
The emergency ordinance for donating interest the city has on property was moved to a first reading and tabled until the next meeting due to needing favor from all five commission members and one was absent. This is the second time this ordinance has been tabled due to an absent member.
The last ordinance on the agenda was motioned by Fulks and seconded by Brown, authorizing the auditor to transfer or advance funds.
“This is for the pool, because it was not open as many days as what we had anticipated, [it] didn’t go into the hole as much as it would have,” Landers said. “Toward the end of the season, we’re actually having to make transfers from the general fund into the pool fund in order to keep it going.”
Landers said this resulted in a transfer reduction of $40,000.
Lynch said the city is working with Brett Boothe, county engineer on preparing a paving grant. He said traffic counts on the proposed paved roads are being done. Lynch reported a bid will soon go out for sand filters for the pool and the bathhouse will be receiving a new pool in the fall. Lynch said there is continuous work being done to repair and update water leaks. A wastewater grant is also being put together with the assistance of Boothe.
It was also clarified that no roads were repaired last year due to COVID-19 and due to the backlog of road repairs, it is unlikely it will happen this year. Both Lynch and Fulks talked of this issue.
Commissioners decided to bring their top three candidates for city manager to the next meeting to be discussed further.
Landers also asked if Lynch could in someway be retrospectively compensated for the extra work he has put in as city manager. It was motioned to retrospectively pay him $270 per week beginning the week the former city manager left. Brown motioned, Fulks seconded and all approved.
Brown initiated a discussion on the importance of ensuring drivers are aware that pedestrians have the right-of-way at cross walks.
The final decision made by the commissioners was to move from a unanimous vote of five to just a unanimous vote on needed issues. Fulks made the motion and Sang seconded it. Brown was against the motion. The motion passed with Caldwell, Sang and Fultz in favor.
Brown motioned to adjourn and Fulks seconded.
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Brittany Hively is a staff writer with Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (740) 444-4303.