GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis City Commission met this week, discussing improvements at the municipal pool, the “bird issue” and road repairs.
Commissioners met for their regular meeting on Tuesday. In attendance were Commissioners Cody Caldwell, Tony Gallagher, Mike Fulks, Mike Brown, Beau Sang, City Manager Led Lozier, City Clerk Annette Landers and City Solicitor Brynn Noe.
Lozier reported the remaining balance of money from the Ohio Department of Nature Resources (ODNR) NatureWorks Grant used at the Gallipolis Public Use Area and City Park has been moved to Haskins Park and Pool through a capital bill passed this summer.
The grant award was for $52,144 which was re-appropriated to the city with ODNR taking a two percent administrative fee, leaving the balance at approximately $52,100.
The money will be used for improvements at the pool such as purchasing sand filters, pumps, possible roof repair, door replacement and mitigating the “bird issue” at the pool. The grant money may not pay for all the improvements, with a final total on those improvements still being calculated. Lozier plans on returning the grant packet to ODNR before the end of the year so the city can begin work before the upcoming swim season in 2021.
As for the “bird issue,” Lozier said the city has been in touch with ODNR and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding dealing with the buzzards which congregate near the Haskins Park area and municipal pool. Lozier said he recently counted at least 110 of the birds who aren’t just roosting but cause “destruction.”
The birds are protected and require consultation with ODNR and USDA in regards to mitigation strategies. Sang brought up resident complaints he had received concerning the birds at a previous commissioner meeting.
Commissioners passed a motion for Lozier to proceed in mitigating the bird issue due to health/safety/nuisance issues at the community pool area. Lozier plans to update commissioners at the next meeting on any guidance from ODNR and USDA.
Lozier also reported on the road repair work along Ohio 588, saying a retaining wall was in place, along with backfill, and a new road culvert was installed Tuesday. Paving is planned for this Friday, weather permitting, with road striping next week. The road is scheduled to be opened on Dec. 1.
The “top side” or “upper part” of the 588 project is complete with the road paved, drainage ditches in place, etc. The completion deadline of Nov. 14 was reached, which was significant in regards to funding. By hitting that deadline, the repair work for the project was paid for through a federal grant the city received.
Lozier also reported work is ongoing on Chillicothe Road, which has included repair of a road slip. The road is not yet ready for travel. A new road culvert was to be delivered Wednesday and placed this week. A section of sewer line is also being replaced this week among other repairs. No completion date has been announced, yet.
Paving and striping “in town” is nearly complete, Lozier added. Also, four speed bumps have been placed in the Public Use Area near City Park.
Lozier told commissioners decorating was continuing at City Park by the volunteers with Gallipolis In Lights. He said he didn’t know the time regarding when the lights would go on but stated it should be soon. Lozier reminded the group was not advertising when the lights will be turned on. The group will provide a video of the park lighting for the public to view at home because the in-person park lighting was canceled this year due to concerns over a large crowd and COVID-19.
Fulks stated he’s hearing multiple complaints regarding some city streets, mentioning the state of Vine Street as well as Second Avenue. Fulks suggested a meeting with representatives from both Columbia Gas and R&R Pipeline with Brown agreeing. Brown added he would like to see company executives at the meeting. Lozier said he’d coordinate the requested meeting.
In other business, the following ordinances were passed:
Approved employee health insurance coverage, which saw a 2.21 percent increase in major medical and drug coverage, though there was no increase in dental coverage. Landers said this 2.21 increase was the “smallest increase” the city has seen in years. This was a second reading of the ordinance.
Approved a one-time bonus for volunteer firefighters of $100. This bonus is for firefighters who are not city employees already receiving a bonus. A list of 25 firefighters will receive the bonus.
Approved a one-time bonus/clothing allowance for city employees based upon full time and part time employment with full-time employees receiving $300 and part-time employees receiving $100.
Approved letter of agreement with Dr. Jeanne Ingles, FNP-BC for health care services for city employees and elected/appointed officials.
Approved pursuing the state capital award for the city pool improvement project.
Approved an agreement with the state auditor’s office for a compilation report at a cost of $7,700.
Accepted an annual community reinvestment check from Volunteer Energy, which the city partners with regarding its gas aggregation program, for $3,675.
Commission meetings are scheduled for 6 p.m., Dec. 1 and Dec. 8.
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Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.