Meeting Minutes (10-18-21)
The Council of the Village of Woodsfield
October 18, 2021
The Council of the Village of Woodsfield met in Regular Session on October 18, 2021.
I. Roll Call:
Present: Council Members; Dale English, Tom Kirkland, Anthony McDaniel, Jamie Hill, Carol Hehr, D. Ray Hughes; Mayor Mike Ricer, Village Administrator Kevin Brooks, Fiscal Officer Lori Cunard.
II. Pending Meeting Minutes Approval:
Councilman Ray Hughes stated that under Old Business the times for Trick or Treat was stated from 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. but it had been discussed at a previous meeting to have Trick or Treat from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Dale English made the motion to accept the minutes with corrections. Ray Hughes second. Motion passed 6-0.
III. Registered Visitors/Guest:
Angela Beardmore – Ms. Beardmore attended the meeting to speak up about the letter that was sent to Mr. Mick Schumacher in regards to the islands. She stated that the fall mums that have been planted in the islands are beautiful and are an asset to our community. She also stated that the last she heard the ODOT project is to start in the fall of 2022 and asked if this is correct. Council corrected and said the ODOT project is to start in the spring of 2022. Ms. Beardmore also asked if the islands were going to be staying and Council replied yes that they would be. Ms. Beardmore feels the letter sent to Mr. Schumacher could have been worded a little differently. She knows that he puts in a lot of work and time on the islands planting flowers for the spring, summer and fall and making the community look nice. She also feels the letter did not thank him for the effort he makes in making the islands look nice during each season and holidays and she feels that he should be owed an apology. She does understand that for safety reasons people should not be in the street and blocking traffic. Ms. Beardmore said that she feels that the letter being delivered by an Officer could have been handled a little differently. The Mayor spoke up and said that letters from the Village to residents are quite often delivered by an Officer. He also stated that not allowing Mr. Schumacher on the islands is primarily for safety reasons due to the ODOT project, we cannot allow someone on the islands when construction is being done. Councilman Jamie Hill wanted to let visitors know that 3 feet of the islands will be coming off during ODOT construction but that is for crosswalks. The remainder of the islands will be left intact. Jamie Hill also stated that when construction is complete we would welcome Mr. Schumacher back to continue the work he has been doing on the islands and Council does appreciate what he has done however, we may ask for a waiver to be signed by whoever it is that will be working in the islands. Councilman Ray Hughes stated that the letter was direct communication to Mr. Schumacher and not meant to be a social matter but when Mr. Schumacher posted the letter on social media it became a social matter. Ms. Beardmore understands the issue with safety in a construction zone but she still feels, along with others, that the wording of the letter could have been different. Councilwoman Carol Hehr spoke up to say that Council does appreciate everything Mr. Schumacher does in the square. She also stated that residents need to communicate more with Council. If residents want to do something in town, such as planting flowers in the square, let Council know. Ray Hughes agreed that communication is important, its important Council knows what is going on in the Village because it is Village property. He also stated that there were multiple calls from people regarding the U-turns in the square and blocking of traffic and this is a public safety issue that they had to address. Mr. Hughes also stated again that the letter was meant as direct communication for Mr. Schumacher and not meant to be put on social media and he fully stands behind the letter, the wording and how it was delivered. Councilman Tom Kirkland agreed that the letter was meant as direct communication. Councilman Anthony McDaniel also spoke up to say that he stood behind the letter and its intent and will not apologize to Mr. Schumacher, Council agreed.
IV. Old Business:
Councilman Jamie Hill asked Village Administrator Kevin Brooks to explain the D.O.R.A. District to those in attendance. Village Administrator Kevin Brooks reported that the Village is compliant with the liquor license within the district and times for D.O.R.A. have been discussed but it is still pending
because he has not been able to meet with Kristy Rothenbuhler, Solicitor, due to scheduling conflicts and there are still certain Legislative benchmarks that need to be met.
V. Administrator Report:
Village Administrator Kevin Brooks stated that Council has a copy of the Audit report which is now public record. There were no major findings on the audit other than a few repeat issues that is being worked on with the traveling clerk Chris Kerby. Mr. Brooks feels the Village is doing well with healthy balances with the exception of the Water Department. We are currently having an analysis done for the
Water Department with E. L. Robinson, it is almost complete and will hopefully be presented to Council the first meeting of November. The last rate increase was January, 2021 but there are a lot of capital needs that still need to be addressed. As mentioned in the audit report there is a large amount of long-term debt with the Village and most of that is Water which is addressed in the analysis.
Council has an Ordinance that was discussed at last Council meeting regarding mowing of non-compliant property’s that is being presented tonight. The dates for mowing were changed from October 1 to November 1 in the Ordinance.
Kevin Brooks stated that there was a meeting with ODOT last Wednesday. The final plans for the downtown construction project were presented. The plans are now for public view. The cost of the construction is $1.1 million which is 100% funded from ODOT and will begin next spring. The construction schedule is as follows: Go to bid late this year or early 2022 and hope to have a contractor by February or March. Hope to start construction about April when the weather breaks. Construction will last approximately 90 – 120 days. Some concerns are: getting through the bid with an apparent low bidder within the award range of the engineers estimate and the lead time for the poles for the mast arm signalization which is about 4 months. This is why it is important to get a contractor so these can be ordered and not delay the construction process. Mr. Brooks also has a set of plans in his office for anyone wanting to look at them.
Mr. Brooks said there are some changes that Council will need to act on tonight concerning the construction plan that were discussed at the ODOT pre-bid meeting, one being the decorative lamps. There is no additional cost for the lamps and it is our choice if we want them or not. Also, it was discussed to use red brick inlay on the four bulb outs. The next decision is the color of the mast arm signalization which is powder coat black and then getting paint and painting the additional light poles in and around downtown.
Since reverse-angle parking will be used after the project is complete, there will be no parking meters. The Village will be putting in four parking stations that the Village will pay for as an addition to the Project. The parking stations will be put in at each bulb out. The meters will be a kiosk and you will have the option to pay cash, coin, or credit/debit card. ODOT will install the parking stations at no cost to the Village.
Mr. Brooks will also need Council to approve the signalization for pedestrian’s crossing the road in and around downtown. The signals will be countdown so that way pedestrians will know how long they have to cross the street which is a huge improvement in terms of safety.
Kevin Brooks stated that ODOT was asked if the decision to restrict access to the islands was the correct decision and ODOT replied that it was absolutely the right decision. There will be daytime and nighttime construction and detours around the square. There will also be constant Police presence in and around the square and ODOT has asked to provide off duty Officers during any point of construction.
Councilman Jamie Hill asked about putting the luminaries on the islands at New Year’s. Kevin Brooks replied that is why the time frame of the first of 2022 was the date stated in the letter restricting access to the islands. As Mr. Brooks stated earlier, he has drawings of the finished construction of the downtown area available and with the bulb outs there will be more greenery when completed than there is currently. However, the trade-off for keeping the islands is some concern with traffic congestion especially at the 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. times. But ODOT will work with the Village for 6 months after completion on the signalization timing to prevent as much congestion as possible.
Councilman Tom Kirkland spoke up to say that there will be all new lighting in the square also. There is no electric in the north island and the electric in the south island needs repaired. This will all be done by ODOT during construction.
Councilman Ray Hughes asked if the crosswalks will be stamped concrete. Kevin Brooks replied that the crosswalks and all lines in the downtown area will be thermoplast which is guaranteed to last 14 years.
Village Administrator Kevin Brooks asked for a motion for installation of decorative lamps, red brick inlay in the four bulb out areas, the powder coat black mast arm signals, and the countdown pedestrian crossings for the downtown ODOT Construction Project. Carol Hehr made the motion. Tom Kirkland second. Motion passed 6-0.
Mr. Brooks requested Executive Session at the end of the meeting concerning Personnel and an update on pending litigation and Bill Frank will also be in Executive Session with an update on litigation.
VI. Fiscal Officer Report:
Chris Kerby would like to attend the Council meeting on November 15th to go over preliminary budget numbers for 2022. Lori Cunard and Brenda Mauck have been working with Mr. Kerby on the
2022 budget. Meetings will need to be scheduled with Department heads to discuss capital needs and plans for 2022. Lori Cunard stated that Chris Kerby will be here for training on October 29th.
Lori Cunard also gave a report of the $5.00 service fee that is taken in on utilities bills. Councilman Ray Hughes had asked how much revenue the Village receives and the expenditures of the revenue with the $5.00 fee. The service fee was implemented last year and it is important to show that we are spending it on what we said we were going to spend it on which is street paving. Village Administrator Kevin Brooks said that there was 1 street and 1 alley resurfaced and also 3 storm separation projects were done and a 4th one set to begin later this month. Mr. Brooks said the remainder of the fee is used for capital purchases for the Street Department, the Street Department is solely funded through the general fund which is income tax. The other thing funded by the fee is sidewalk replacement and property maintenance. There have been an unusually high number of sidewalk replacements this year
including one of our own. The fee funds demolition of run down property’s of 50% up to $1000.00 for demo and also the dumpsters during property clean-up weeks.
Lori Cunard stated that the audit was available for public view as of last Friday and asked for any questions or concerns from Council. Village Administrator Kevin Brooks stated that most of the audit issues were on-going issues and we are working with Mr. Kerby to clean those up. As talked about at the previous Council meeting we will be going on a bi-annual audit and will be saving $20,500.00 next year by not being audited.
VII. Committee Chair/Council Reports:
Dale English – Councilman Dale English asked if December 17th is a good date for the Safety meeting/Christmas luncheon. Council agreed to December 17th. Dale English made the motion to hold the annual Safety meeting/Christmas luncheon on December 17th. Jamie Hill second. Motion passed 6-0.
Tom Kirkland – Nothing to report
Anthony McDaniel – Councilman Anthony McDaniel has been in touch with EMS and they have repairs for the Village to look at. They will be making a list and sending it up. Village Administrator Kevin Brooks stated that apparently those with EMS did not know that the Village has money appropriated for repairs at the EMS Building but this has been communicated so they will be turning in the list for repairs.
Jamie Hill – Councilman Jamie Hill just wanted to thank the Electric Department for the tree removal out of the power lines on Westview and St. Rt. 78. He said they were very professional and followed all safety protocol.
Carol Hehr – Councilwoman Carol Hehr stated she had contacted ODNR regarding the Natureworks Grant and she was told that we would know in November if the Village was awarded the grant. Any
grant monies received will be used for exercise stations at the Walking Trail. Carol Hehr also asked for a motion to complete the Nativity Scene that was purchased last year by purchasing the 3 wisemen for the amount of $6,600.00 which will be taken from the Building Fund. Jamie Hill made the motion. Ray Hughes second. Motion passed 6-0. Village Administrator spoke up to say that he and Carol Hehr had discussed it and the Christmas decorations will be put up the week before Thanksgiving. The tree lighting date was set for December 17th @ 7:00 p.m.
Ray Hughes – Councilman Ray Hughes also thanked the Electric Department for replacing a street light around his residence and he agreed with Jamie Hill that they were all very professional and carried out all safety protocol.
VIII: Solicitor’s Report:
IX: Mayor’s Report
Mayor Mike Ricer asked for a motion to approve Ordinance #1302-2021, To Amend Chapter 913.01(b) Weeds, Grass, & Litter, amend dates of compliance from April 1 to November 1 and to suspend the three reading rule and pass this Ordinance as an emergency measure (refer to October 18, 2021 minutes). Anthony McDaniel made the motion. Jamie Hill second. Motion passed 6-0. Ordinance #1301-2021 adopted.
The Mayor asked for a motion to approve the payment of bills. Dale English made the motion. Carol Hehr second. Motion passed 6-0.
The Mayor asked for a motion to approve Mayor’s Court Report. Dale English made the motion. Jamie Hill second. Motion passed 6-0.
Administrator Brooks asked for Executive Session regarding Personnel/and Update of Pending Litigation. Bill Frank also attended the meeting to update Council on Litigation during Executive Session. Anthony McDaniel made the motion to go into Executive Session. Jamie Hill second. Motion passed 6-0. Executive Session entered at 6:46 p.m.
The Mayor asked for motion to return to Regular Session. Anthony McDaniel made the motion. Jamie Hill second. Motion passed 6-0. Returned to Regular Session at 7:14 p.m.
X. Un-Registered Visitors:
Deborah Howell – Mrs. Howell asked Council when it became illegal to make a U-turn at the square. She has been a resident of the Village for almost 30 years and didn’t know it was illegal to make a U-turn at the square. Council explained that it is illegal to do a U-turn in between the islands.
Jimmy Williams – Mr. Williams stated that the road running through the square is a city street before it’s a state road. He feels everyone in attendance of the Council meeting is entitled to their opinion regarding the construction at the square. He drives a semi and he feels that when the ODOT Project is complete it will cause a lot of congestion of traffic because of the reverse-angle parking. Members of Council replied that the left-hand turn lane will be eliminated, it will become the thru-lane and the right lane will be a service lane for parking. Mr. Williams still feels that it’s going to cause a lot of traffic congestion and may hurt some businesses because of it.
Councilman Anthony McDaniel spoke up to say that he appreciates everyone’s input but it would have been nice to see this many people attend a Council meeting when the pavilion was being vandalized at the City Park. He also said there is a lot of misinformation out there. Council has just seen the finalized plans from ODOT themselves. Councilman Tom Kirkland also spoke up to say that he thinks the ODOT Project will really enhance the downtown area. Councilman Jamie Hill said he appreciates all the attendance and the input.
Councilman Anthony McDaniel made the motion to Adjourn from Session. Jamie HIll second the motion. Motion passed 6-0. Meeting adjourned at 7:16 p.m.
Michael E. Ricer, Mayor Lori Cunard, Fiscal Officer