Meeting Minutes (11-7-22)
The Council of the Village of Woodsfield
November 7, 2022
The Council of the Village of Woodsfield met in Regular Session on November 7, 2022.
I. Roll Call:
Present: Council Members; Dale English, Tom Kirkland, Leann Harper, Tiffany Ramsay, Matt Schaber; Mayor Carol Hehr, Fiscal Officer Lori Cunard, and Village Administrator Kevin Brooks.
Absent: Councilman Anthony McDaniel.
II. Pending Meeting Minutes Approval:
Dale English made a motion to accept the October 17, 2022 meeting minutes. Leann Harper second. Motion passed 5-0.
III. Registered Visitors/Guest:
Brent Bosley and John Rieck – Mr. Bosley and Mr. Rieck attended the meeting to update Council on the Veterans Day Parade. The parade will be held on Friday, November 11th @ 6:00 p.m. for Vietnam Veteran’s. Through the generosity of the community and citizens outside of the village they have raised enough money to replace flags and flag poles for every parking meter on Main Street, Court Street and Church Street. The flag holders were made by a local business at no cost. So as of yesterday, every parking meter on Main, Court, and Church Streets have flag holders on them. They have also been given enough donations for decorations, including a 20X4 foot banner that will be put on the Courthouse as well as 10 other banners for floats. Mr. Bosley is not sure how many veterans will be riding floats in the parade but there will be several in attendance watching the parade and he just wants them all to know how much we appreciate their service. He knows that all fire departments and every squad in the county will be in attendance as well as the possibility of several outlying departments and law enforcement agencies. Mr. Bosley would like Chief Corey Jones to lead the parade and the first float behind him will be the Vietnam Veteran’s. He stated that they would proceed down Main Street and when they get to the downtown square they will stay to the right and stop for an Invocation, national anthem and giving thanks to our veterans. Village Administrator, Kevin Brooks asked Mr. Bosley if he had talked to ODOT and he replied that he had spoken with them and they know the dates and times of the parade. Mayor Carol Hehr said she really appreciates the work they have done organizing the parade. Mr. Bosley thanked Council for all their support.
Dr. Amos Loveday – Mr. Loveday is attending the meeting to address questions regarding historic preservation, mainly federal historic preservation and legislative law. There are 3 levels of historic preservation: Federal, State, and Local. Mr. Loveday reviewed the National Historic Preservation Act with Council such as who determines what goes on the registry and what makes it eligible to go on the registry. The area around the downtown square was determined by ODOT to be eligible for the National Historical Registry. Originally the plan was to remove the islands but there were individuals that said it could not be done because they are historical. ODOT did a survey which identified the district around the square and it was determined to be eligible by the State Historic Preservation Office of Ohio and any agency that comes in to work has to honor that eligibility and must mitigate and identify any effects of work to be done. Mayor Hehr asked if before ODOT came in and started construction there was no use of federal funds in the square was it a historical site? Mr. Loveday stated it was eligible with the National Historical Registry, so before the use of federal funds we could have done what we wanted with the islands. Mr. Loveday stated there are 3 buildings downtown that are listed on the National Registry, the courthouse, bank building, and post office. Mr. Loveday said to keep in mind the National Registry only applies to federal agencies, the monies the federal agencies grant and the commissions the federal agencies grant. As a Village, the money we spend that has no federal handle is not subject to the National Historic Preservation Act. Mayor Hehr asked if it is subject because of the ODOT Project? Mr. Loveday said not unless there is federal monies or federal commissions involved you do not have to comply with National Historic Preservation Act. Mr. Loveday gave a handout to Council and asked them to read the section on adverse effects. He said that it was pointed out to ODOT before the project started there was belief if the project was done that the islands could not be maintained. ODOT said they had assurances from the Village that would not be the case and there would be no actions taken that would affect the character or quality of the historical sites. If there are actions taken by ODOT that
affect the character or quality of the historical sites, they could be held liable. Councilman Matt Schaber asked that if the Village owns the property doesn’t there have to be permission from the owner to place it on the Historical Registry? Mr. Loveday said that any public property that meets the criteria can be eligible. Matt Schaber asked how long after it is determined eligible before it is listed to the registry? Mr. Loveday said that someone has to take action to nominate it to the National Registry. Mayor Hehr stated that we are trying to preserve the islands, but we are concerned with the flow of traffic when the project is finished that traffic will run up over the islands. What do we have to do in order to build up the islands to keep traffic out of them. Mr. Loveday stated that we could go to ODOT and tell them there are adverse effects and seek mitigation strategies. If ODOT would not do anything we could file a complaint with the National Preservation Act. We could also hire a historical landscape architect to do a design for the islands to keep traffic out. Mayor Hehr asked if we were to meet with an advisory committee and tell them what we would like to do and get input from them, would we still have to hire a landscape architect? Mr. Loveday stated that we do not have to hire a landscape architect, if we want to demonstrate that we want to honor the intent of the act then we need to have somebody’s stamp of approval on the plans that we have that has expertise in that area, and he said ODOT should have done this for us. Mr. Loveday’s advice is to look at the rules and honor them and if we can’t, then honor the intent. Mr. Loveday said if there is anything he can do to help out to let him know and we have his word that he would help.
V. Old Business:
SOLSD Memorial Park Community Center Contract- The contract was delivered to the school and we are awaiting payment from them.
DORA- nothing can be done until we hire legal counsel.
VI. Administrator Report:
Kevin Brooks reported that we are requesting a payment be made to CT Consultants in the amount of $1,800.00 for cost estimate and grant application for Appalachian downtown revitalization project. The $1,800.00 will allow us to look at additional decorative lighting as well as trash receptacles, benches, and sidewalks. This will be from State Rt. 800 to Marietta Street. We currently have 15 light poles but we would like to ask for 30 poles to line them up across from each other. The big issue is getting electric to all the poles. The feed would be back alley’s and we would have to bury the line underground which would be costly but if we are going to replace sidewalk in some of the area’s it can be part of the project. There are going to be some large concrete sections downtown where it will be nice to put benches. If Council will agree to the $1,800.00 payment request, we can get CT Consultants started on the formal cost estimate. We have also talked about pulling the downtown plaza out of the building project and applying for it separately and Mr. Brooks thinks that is a good strategy because it will reduce the cost of the new building project from $3.5 million to $2.5 million, the issue is that the plaza cannot be built until the old building comes down. Councilwoman Leann Harper made a motion to approve the $1,800.00 payment be made to CT Consultants. Tom Kirkland second. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Motion passed 5-0. Mayor Hehr said the issue with pulling the plaza out of the project is that the funds from the Appalachian Grant have to be spent by 2026. Kevin Brooks replied that he thinks that would be doable and if it doesn’t work, we can move on to something else.
Kevin Brooks stated that the big issue with the new building is that we have to find funding. We had never intended on putting up all the money for the building. We do have a good balance in the Capital Projects Fund, but we want to get some grant money. As of now there aren’t a whole lot of brick-and-mortar type grants for the construction of the new building. But as we get into the winter months that will be changing and we plan on applying for as much as we can to supplement the funds we currently have for the cost of the new building.
Mr. Brooks reported that Antero will be setting up and serving pizza and hot chocolate again this year for the Christmas tree lighting and they will also have a few gift bags. We are still working with Gulfport because they would like to be included as well. We are working on getting Santa to hand out gifts but that has not been finalized as of yet. Mayor Hehr has talked to the school about Christmas caroling and Mr. Brooks also talked to Brent Dick about using his sound system to play Christmas music.
Kevin Brooks said we are looking into changing health insurance from Anthem to United Healthcare. It would save the Village and employees a good bit of money to switch to United Health. Mayor Hehr suggested setting up an insurance committee to discuss the change. The feedback from employees is to go ahead with the change, it is comparable to the Anthem health we currently have and much more cost effective. Mr. Brooks said we are looking at saving approximately $122,000.00 for the Village next year in health insurance premiums so he is suggesting the Village do a give back and pick up an extra 5% for the employee’s share. We are currently paying 85% for employee’s health premiums so the extra 5% would put us at 90%-10%. Mr. Brooks also told Council that this is a 1-year deal. We would be looking at renewing in September 2023 and rates could be high so in that case we may be looking at other insurance again next year. Mr. Brooks said he does not like to keep switching around, but we are looking at a savings of six figures by switching now. He said if Mayor Hehr wants to set up a committee to look at it that is fine, but we do have to make a decision by mid-December. Councilwoman Leann Harper asked about setting up a Salary and Benefits Committee to review benefits every year? Kevin Brooks stated that currently we have been reviewing salaries every 18 months and we are up for salary review and possible increase the middle of 2023. However, after talking it over with Finance Committee any increase will probably be pushed back to January of 2024. Mayor Hehr stated that we do have the Finance Committee and they look at salaries, but they don’t necessarily look at the benefit side. Mayor Hehr told Leann Harper that this would be something to talk about and if they decide to set up a committee, they could do it in January. She also said that she would like everyone to have a copy of the information packets that were handed out by the agent regarding the insurance. She asked if anyone would like to volunteer for the insurance committee? Mayor Hehr asked if the Policy and Procedures Committee (Kirkland, McDaniel, and Ramsay) would take a look at the insurance packets and come back in two weeks and let Council know if they are satisfied with the change or not? Councilman Tom Kirkland spoke up and said that after attending the meeting and listening to Matt Foley, Foley Benefits, that he is satisfied with switching to United Health. Kevin Brooks spoke up to say that there is nothing wrong with our current insurance, but when you are looking at a plan that will save the Village approximately $122,000 next year, you have to take a look at it plus the premium is lower for the employees and the feedback he is getting from employees is they want to switch. Mayor Hehr also stated that next year we will get the renewal in September so we will have time to shop around if United Health increases the premiums by a large amount. Mr. Brooks just wanted to verify with Mayor Hehr that the Policy and Procedures Committee will meet and review the United Health coverage and will report back to Council in two weeks and Mayor Hehr replied yes, she would like them to review it. Tom Kirkland said he would get the meeting set up.
Kevin Brooks reported that there are some issues with the ODOT project. The brick in the curb islands does not match the brick in the in-lays of the sidewalks which was a specific request. He said he will check in to this.
Mr. Brooks requested Executive Session at the end of the meeting regarding Personnel/Compensation and action may or may not be taken.
VII. Fiscal Officer Report:
Fiscal Officer Lori Cunard has Ordinance #12-2022 for Council to pass. This Ordinance is to amend and revise a few line-items to get us through the end of 2022. Mayor Hehr asked for a motion to pass Ordinance #12-2022, An Ordinance Providing for Amending and Revising Specific Line-Items in the Appropriations of Expenditures for the Village of Woodsfield for the Calendar Year 2022 and Declaring an Emergency. Matt Schaber made the motion. Tom Kirkland second. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Dale English – yes, Leann Harper – yes, Tiffany Ramsay – yes. Motion passed 5-0.
The Mayor asked for a motion to suspend the rules and pass Ordinance #12-2022 by its second reading, Declaring it an Emergency. Dale English made the motion. Matt Schaber second. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Tom Kirkland – yes, Leann Harper – yes, Tiffany Ramsay – yes. Motion passed 5-0.
The Mayor then asked for a motion to suspend the rules and pass Ordinance #12-2022 by its third reading, Declaring it an Emergency and adopt. Matt Schaber made the motion. Tiffany Ramsay second. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Dale English – yes, Tom Kirkland – yes, Leann Harper – yes. Motion passed 5-0. Ordinance #12-2022 adopted.
Fiscal Officer Lori Cunard also had Resolution #2022-02 for Council to pass. This Resolution is the cooperative agreement with Monroe County Emergency Management Agency for year 2023. Mayor Hehr asked for a motion to pass Resolution #2022-02, To Authorize Mayor Carol Hehr to Enter into a Cooperative Agreement for Provision of Emergency Management Services for the Municipality of Woodsfield, Ohio by the Monroe County Emergency Management Agency from January 1, 2023 through December 31, 2023. Council also authorizes payment of the annual sum of $1,019.40 to Monroe County EMA Fund for services indicated in the resolution. Leann Harper made the motion. Tom Kirkland second. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Motion passed 5-0.
VIII. Committee Chair/Council Reports:
Dale English – Councilman Dale English reported that they have done 4 interviews for the Cemetery position. They are going to try and interview 1 more. Kevin Brooks spoke up to say that they are looking at a January 2 hire date, but they have also discussed having them hired the end of December for the purpose of health insurance.
Tom Kirkland – Nothing to report
Anthony McDaniel – absent
Leann Harper – Nothing to report
Tiffany Ramsay – Nothing to report
Matt Schaber – Nothing to report
IX: Solicitor’s Report:
X: Mayor’s Report:
The Mayor asked for a motion to approve the Mayor’s Court Report, October 2022. Dale English made the motion. Matt Schaber second. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Motion passed 5-0.
The Mayor asked for a motion to approve the Income Tax Report, October 2022. Leann Harper made the motion. Tom Kirkland second. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Motion passed 5-0.
The Mayor asked for a motion to approve the payment of bills. Leann Harper made the motion. Tiffany Ramsay second. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Motion passed 5-0.
Mayor Hehr gave a copy of the revised 2023 committees to each Council member. A Committee has been added which is the Utility Committee. The reason this was added is because of discussion that was had with landlords regarding concerns with utilities and their renters. Kevin Brooks stated that we had added a utility committee about a year and a half ago when we talked about raising utility rates and how we were funding and supplementing the utilities as well as how we were funding and supplementing the storm utility. The Committee was disbanded after we passed the rate increase that would be a 4-year plan. The Utility Committee set the policy on payment arrangements. We are not entering into any payment arrangements that go beyond 30 days so if you owe $700.00 it has to be paid within 30 days. Also, we only allow each customer one payment arrangement every 12 months. Kevin Brooks said any unpaid utilities follow the property not the person and why should we have to act as a collection agency. Mr. Brooks feels that if landlords do their due diligence they would not have to chase after former renters for utility money.
Mayor Hehr reported that the employee safety meeting/luncheon will be December 16th. There has been concern about doing the meeting/luncheon due to increasing costs, but employees seem to enjoy it. At the Superintendents meeting this morning she asked if employees appreciated it and they all responded yes it is appreciated. Mayor Hehr said she will have more information to report on this at the next council meeting.
Mayor Hehr reported that she attended a meeting regarding the Appalachian Grant for downtown revitalization. The guidelines for the grant were supposed to be out on August 1st and they just came out about 10 days ago. Tomorrow Mayor Hehr has a meeting with Buckeye Hills and she hopes to come back from it with more information.
Mayor Hehr stated she wanted to acknowledge the Street Dept. for putting together the 5 pieces of exercise equipment, 2 picnic tables, and 3 benches for the walking trail. She also acknowledged the Electric Dept. because they went up and helped the Street Dept. place and set everything up along the trail. She encouraged everyone to go up and take a look at it, everything looks very nice.
XI. Un-Registered Visitors:
Drew Eberle and guest – Mr. Eberle is from Swiss Valley Associates to let council know they are available and would like to help with any upcoming projects we may have. They have done the Senior Center design, they are in the progress of re-designing the second floor of the theater, and they have done a lot of work for M.A.C.O. They just wanted to touch base and let council know they are available.
Councilman Dale English made a motion to go into Executive Session regarding Personnel/Compensation with possible action. Tom Kirkland second. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Motion passed 5-0. Executive Session entered at 7:15 p.m.
Mayor Hehr asked for a motion to go back into Regular Session. Tiffany Ramsay made the motion. Leann Harper second. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Motion passed 5-0. Regular Session entered 7:37 p.m.
The Mayor asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Matt Schaber made the motion to adjourn. Leann Harper second. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Motion passed 5-0. Meeting adjourned at 7:40p.m.
Carol Hehr, Mayor Lori Cunard, Fiscal Officer