The Council of the Village of Woodsfield
January 15, 2024
The Council of the Village of Woodsfield met in Regular Session on January 15, 2024.
I. Council Members take Oath of Office:
Council members, Thomas Kirkland and Matt Schaber, elected to serve from January 1, 2024 to December 31, 2027 and Council members, Leann Harper and Tiffany Ramsay, elected to serve from January 1, 2024 to December 31, 2025 were sworn in by Mayor Carol Hehr.
!I. Roll Call:
Present: Council Members; Dale English, Tom Kirkland, Anthony McDaniel, Leann Harper, Tiffany Ramsay, Matt Schaber, Mayor Carol Hehr, Fiscal Officer Lori Cunard, Solicitor Ryan Regel, and Village Administrator Kevin Brooks.
II. Pending Meeting Minutes Approval:
Leann Harper made the motion to accept the December 29, 2023 meeting minutes. Tiffany Ramsay second. Motion passed 6-0.
III. Registered Visitors/Guest:
IV. Old Business:
DORA – Solicitor Ryan Regel received the platt map which he forwarded to the Division of Liquor Control, and we are now waiting for a response.
POLICE LEVY – Solicitor Ryan Regel received the final language from the Secretary of State. He emailed it to all Council members. Everyone on Council is ok with the language, Mayor Hehr can approve it by signature, and he will return it to the Board of Elections Office which should be the last step.
V. Administrator Report:
Village Administrator Kevin Brooks stated that he and Brian Harrigan, Water and Sewer Superintendent, have been reviewing the water and sewer tap fees. The last time these fees were updated was in 2012. He feels the fees are unreasonably low and it is written such that we can charge for materials and extra items. Mr. Brooks is proposing the Village double the tap fees with all materials and installation to be included in the fee. So for instance, the current tap fee for three quarter inch is $1,000.00 with a proposal to make it $2,000.00. The current tap fee for one inch is $1,500.00 with a proposal to make it $3,000.00. The proposals include all materials and installation. The average rate around us is $1,800.00 not including installation so they don’t feel these proposals are out of line. They propose doing the same with Sewer taps, which are currently $1,000.00 for residential and $2,000.00 for commercial making them $2,000.00 for residential and $4,000.00 for commercial including materials and installation. Currently, Superintendent Brian Harrigan keeps a running total for the fees, materials, and installation when he does a tap, and it usually totals around $1,500.00 to $1,800.00 so that’s why they feel doubling it would be accurate and by charging a flat fee it would make it much easier for Harrigan to invoice. Mr. Brooks would also like the amendment to state that one-half of the fee is due up front and the other half due at completion. Mr. Brooks said Council can think on this and decide later, it does not have to be done this evening. He said he will get with Solicitor Ryan Regel, it is part of the water and sewer regulations however, he feels it does fall within the confines for an Ordinance. Council agreed to have Solicitor Ryan Regel put it in writing to have for the next Council meeting.
Kevin Brooks reported that due to the weather conditions, they started peak shaving at the Electric Department and will be peak shaving all week. He said they have been having some maintenance issues with the diesel generators because they have not been run in a while and they are 60+ years old. The biggest issue is that the parts are no longer available, so when we need something, it has to be fabricated but the generators are well past their run time. We are going to look into a solar option, which we have looked at before, but it is not cost effective unless we have a battery backup because we do not get the sun enough to peak shave with the solar option. Kevin Brooks said we can also retrofit
diesel generators to natural gas but then we will still have 60+ year old units and he doesn’t think that is much of an option. Mr. Brooks said he feels we will get into 2026 and probably 2027 with the diesel generators and then we will have to do something if we are going to peak shave. Last year we saved our customers over $175,000.00 in transmission fees by peak shaving, that is the impact of peak shaving. By running the generators when we think we are going to have a high load day we are reducing the amount of energy used by our customers on the open market. Kevin Brooks feels the solar option may work for us because if we sign a 25 – 30 year agreement, our only obligation is to buy the energy that is generated. The problem comes in where the provider or solar field owner is going to want to take the peak shaving savings. We will have to be careful when signing an agreement because we want the savings to go to our customers not the provider. Mr. Brooks still has the documents from the talks we had previously if anyone would like to look them over. There were 3 different locations where we could put the solar field, one of which we own and the other two where we would have to enter into agreements with the landowners. We would also have to have a battery back-up in times that we don’t have the sun. We are in a situation where we peak shave not only in the winter months but also the summer months. Council member Matt Schaber asked how big a field we are looking at with the solar panels. Kevin Brooks stated he believes 100 megawatts, but he is unsure of that. Kevin Brooks said the one location is above the current substation and it was suggested to use trackers so the solar panels would move with the sun. He stated that the property we own behind the Arbors is where we would like to put the solar field, but it is about 1.7 miles from the electric plant, and no one wanted to do that. The third property is also closer to the substation but neither of the property owners of the 2 locations were ever contacted because discussions never made it that far.
Kevin Brooks said that last week they had a video meeting with Lexipol. Lexipol is a professional regional training and policy agency. They will provide us, for a price, with training, policy management, and policy updates. Lexipol has a tremendous amount of leadership training. Mr. Brooks said that our training tends to be on safety and very job specific but sometimes things that are very relevant slip through the cracks. He has talked to the department heads about it and there appears to be interest because we have given them leadership roles but no leadership training. Mr. Brooks also talked to Chief Jones about it because Lexipol was started by former Police Officers. Chief Jones is very familiar with Lexipol and has used some of the policies that are Police Department specific for department policies. Everything is internet based so we would set a day and time for everyone to gather for training. Mr. Brooks thinks it is something that would be very beneficial, and it can be done without sending anyone out of town for training. He said he is not expecting an answer tonight just explaining why the interest. He feels it is a cost-effective way to get training that we cannot offer, and it is something for Council to think about. Mr. Brooks said Council is welcome to call and talk with the contact person at Lexipol for more information. He said we can design our own training schedule and sessions based on what we purchase from the Lexipol portal. Leann Harper asked if this training covers all departments and if they have a one-time setup cost for the policy manual. Kevin Brooks said it will cover all departments and he believes the current policy manual is not a bad document, but he knows there are some updates that need to be made. He said the cost would include a review and then update anything needing updated. Leann Harper also asked if the cost would be split amongst all departments since it affects all departments and Mr. Brooks said it would be based on what departments participate and how many participate. If we do this, the training would be a requirement and the employee would have to sign off on completing the training within 24 hours. Mayor Hehr stated that she thinks the training should all be done here at the office.
Kevin Brooks said that Andy Copley, Street Department Supervisor, usually keeps an eye on the weather and the need to start snow plowing. However, we rely on the Police Department to initiate the calls since they are out and on the roads.
Kevin Brooks requested Executive Session at the end of the meeting regarding Personnel with no action to be taken.
Mr. Brooks said that Mark Haralson, Water Department, is retiring by the end of January. Wyatt Goodrich was hired as a temporary employee for the Water Department and worked through December 31, 2023. We would like to hire Mr. Goodrich back to take the place of Mr. Haralson once he retires. We would like to do away with the weekends at the Water Plant but until we have a good internet
source it cannot be done. MCTV is expanding and will be extending internet to the Water Plant but until that is done someone will have to be at the Water Plant on the weekends.
VI. Fiscal Officer Report:
Fiscal Officer Lori Cunard reported that the audit report has now been released. We received 3 stars out of 4 for the audit, which is a significant achievement.
VII. Committee Chair/Council Reports:
Dale English – Dale English asked Kreg Robison, MC Beacon, what he has against the Village. He stated that during Christmas there was nothing in the Beacon regarding the Village but yet the county tree lighting and parade was put on the front page of the paper. Also, the tree lighting and activities at Modern Hardware were put on the front page of the paper but the Village had a tree lighting and the Monroe Central band played, there were activities for the kids, and it was a very nice evening but not a thing was mentioned in the paper about it. Kreg Robison said it is impossible for them to be everywhere because there are only 2 of them. Dale English said they took the time to acknowledge the Christmas tree lightings and activities done elsewhere in the County but never any mentions of the Village’s tree lighting and activities. Mayor Hehr suggested the meeting move on and Dale English and Kreg Robison could have a discussion afterwards.
Tom Kirkland – Nothing to report.
Anthony McDaniel – Anthony McDaniel asked for Executive Session at the end of the meeting regarding Personnel with possible action to be taken.
Leann Harper – Nothing to report.
Tiffany Ramsay – Nothing to report.
Matt Schaber – Matt Schaber reported that the artwork for the control boxes done by Monroe Central Art Class is completed, and he has been in contact with MACO. Matt Schaber said that MACO will charge for one color and will donate multiple color price. The price for one box will be approximately $500.00 and will take a couple of weeks to complete. Mayor Hehr asked if all the art will be on one box, Matt Schaber stated that since there are 5 drawings, they would be switched out every so often.
VIII: Solicitor’s Report:
Nothing more to report.
IX: Mayor’s Report:
Mayor Hehr gave everyone a copy of the committees. She said if anyone has a problem with the committee she has put them on to let her know and maybe she can change it.
Mayor Hehr asked for a motion to approve the payment of bills. Leann Harper made the motion. Tiffany Ramsay second. Motion passed 6-0.
Mayor Hehr asked for a motion to approve the Mayor’s Court report, mid-January 2024. Dale English made the motion. Matt Schaber second. Motion passed 6-0.
X. Un-registered Visitors:
Mayor Hehr asked for a motion to go into Executive Session regarding Personnel/Employment. Anthony McDaniel made the motion. Tom Kirkland second. Motion passed 6-0. Executive Session entered at 6:15 p.m.
Mayor Hehr asked for a motion to go back into Regular Session. Leann Harper made the motion. Dale English second. Motion passed 6-0. Regular Session entered at 6:28 p.m.
The Mayor asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Matt Schabert made the motion. Leann Harper second. Motion passed 6-0. The meeting was adjourned at 6:30 p.m.
Carol Hehr, Mayor Lori Cunard, Fiscal Officer