Meeting Minutes (12-20-21)
The Council of the Village of Woodsfield
December 20, 2021
The Council of the Village of Woodsfield met in Regular Session on December 20, 2021.
I. Roll Call:
Present: Council Members; Dale English, Tom Kirkland, Jamie Hill, Carol Hehr, D. Ray Hughes; Mayor Mike Ricer, Village Administrator Kevin Brooks, Fiscal Officer Lori Cunard.
Absent: Council Member; Anthony McDaniel.
II. Pending Meeting Minutes Approval:
Councilman Dale English made a motion to accept the December 6, 2021 meeting minutes. Tom Kirkland second, Jamie Hill – Abstain. Motion passed 4-0.
III. Registered Visitors/Guest:
Uriah Wilson – Mr. Wilson is attending the meeting to discuss 328 S. Main, regarding zoning it as commercial rather than residential. It is a small 1/10th acre lot. Mr. Wilson is the owner of Good Fellers Tree Trimming and Tree Removal, he would like to build an office building for his business and use it as a meeting point for his crew on the lot. Mr. Wilson assured Council that any building he does put on the lot would blend in with the architecture of the St. Sylvester Church and surrounding buildings and he is planning on doing some landscaping. He would also like to do away with the 2 parking spots in the front. The lot is currently deemed residential but based on the location being close to the St. Sylvester School and church he feels it would be a good area to be zoned commercial. Mr. Wilson said he also would like to purchase the lot next door if it comes up for sale. Councilwoman Carol Hehr asked if he is asking for a variance to re-zone and Mr. Wilson replied yes he is. Councilman Tom Kirkland then asked Mr. Wilson if he has spoken to the school, the church or any other residents. Mr. Wilson said that the only resident he has spoken with was the very next-door resident but she is no longer there, her property has been passed to her descendants. Village Administrator Kevin Brooks spoke up and said that all adjoining property owners will be notified via mail of the proposed change and a public hearing must be held to give the residents a chance to attend and express their concerns. After the public hearing takes place the zoning on the parcel can be changed if Council agrees. However, Mr. Brooks said this is considered spot zoning which is highly frowned upon. Mr. Brooks also asked Council what happens when someone else asks for a change in zoning, where do you draw the line?? This sets a precedent moving forward and spot zoning is not a good thing, and this was not the intent when the Planning and Zoning Code was redone this year. Councilman Ray Hughes asked Mr. Wilson what kind of equipment he was planning to store at this location? Mr. Wilson replied that if he had to he could keep the equipment parked at home but he has a couple trucks with pull behind equipment. Ray Hughes asked then if this would primarily be a meeting point for crew members to be dispatched from every morning to which Mr. Wilson replied not necessarily, that will be an option if they have to do that. Ray Hughes said he is just trying to get a clear picture of what exactly the property will be used for. Mr. Wilson said he would be glad to attend a meeting and speak to any residents that are concerned about what his plans are but it would mainly be used for an office building. Carol Hehr asked if he had looked at property’s in the Village that are already zoned commercial and she said she would have a problem with changing a residential lot to commercial because as Mr. Brooks said, where do you draw the line and how do you tell the next person no? Mr. Wilson asked if he put up a building as an office downstairs but had an apartment upstairs would that make a difference and Mr. Brooks replied it would still be considered a business and have to be zoned commercial. Kevin Brooks explained to Mr. Wilson that he has made his request and Council would probably take a couple of weeks to think on it, discuss it and decide if they want to move the process forward. If Council wants to move forward with the request the adjoining residents would have to be notified and a public hearing set, generally 15 minutes before council meeting, and then Council would decide on whether they want to re-zone the parcel or not. Kevin Brooks said that it would have been better if Mr. Wilson had already purchased the property next door and be asking for the change on both property’s rather than asking now and asking again later and having 2 separate requests. Mr. Brooks believes that Mr. Wilson has good intentions for the property but Mr. Brooks is very concerned at the ramifications if Council goes through with the request. Mr. Brooks stated that the next council meeting will be January 4th, 2022, council can let him know at
that time if they want to continue with the request and notify adjoining residents for a public hearing or not.
IV. Old Business:
V. Administrator Report:
The Monroe County Beacon inquired on whether the Village would like to do a Christmas ad. The Village had done a Christmas ad in the past. The cost is $64.00 for the ad and it is the same ad as last year’s. Carol Hehr made the motion for the Village do a Christmas ad in the Beacon for $64.00. Jamie Hill second. Motion passed 5-0. Mr. Brooks reported that the Wolfpen project has been greenlighted by FEMA. There will be a pre-construction meeting next week with Triad and Bear Contracting so the project can get moving. It will intertwine with the road bore that is being done for the sewer separation project and will dove-tail into the Poplar FEMA project. FEMA has still not green-lighted the Poplar project but hopefully it will be approved by FEMA while the Wolfpen and road bore projects are being done so it can all be completed in one round. FEMA did grant a 6-month extension, so we have until June 30, 2022 to complete the projects.
We are at a standstill with the fire hydrant project because of a mismatch with the design due to 4-inch and 6-inch lines so we are moving 4 hydrants around to match lines.
Per the conversation at the last meeting, we are moving forward with the GIS Mapping. Paul Robinson, water/sewer superintendent, has presented a schedule to RCAP so the project should start soon.
Kevin Brooks reminded Council that this week and next week the building is closed on Friday and Monday for both the Christmas/New Year holiday weekends and that includes the utility office.
Mr. Brooks stated that the Safety Meeting was a success and well attended. He also stated that Kristy Rothenbuhler and her secretary attended. Kristy Rothenbuhler was to attend Council meeting this evening to meet everyone but due to illness she could not make it.
VI. Fiscal Officer Report:
Lori Cunard stated that her and Brenda Mauck are working on year-end with Chris Kerby. We may have to have a special meeting next week to approve some appropriation changes and approve some bills that will need to be paid before year-end. Kevin Brooks spoke up to say that spending was cut-off as of December 10th but with bills still coming in and some of them needing paid before the end of the year there may be some changes needed on appropriations. Getting as many of these bills paid before year-end will make it easier for the Fiscal Office to close out 2021. Lori Cunard should know by Wednesday if the special meeting will be necessary, she will let everyone know.
VII. Committee Chair/Council Reports:
Dale English – Councilman Dale English reported that a new truck is needed for the Cemetery. Knowlton Ford has a 2019 Ford truck with very low miles and carries a 3 year/36,000-mile, 5 year/60,000-mile warranty. The price of the truck is $41,125.00. Village Administrator Kevin Brooks spoke up to say that we would be liquidating some funds from the Brague Endowement Account to pay for the truck. Taking the $41,125.00 from the account will still leave us above the compliance threshold. The last time funds were disbursed from the account was in 2017. Mr. Brooks said that he did call Doan Ford to check into buying a new truck using the state purchasing program but 2021’s are gone and 2022’s will probably not be available until July 2022. Originally the Village was looking at only spending $10,000-$15,000 but by purchasing something newer it should last the Cemetery a long time. Jamie Hill made the motion to liquidate a portion of the Brague Endowment Funds for the purchase of the 2019 Ford truck in the amount of $41,125.00. Carol Hehr asked if the value of the truck was checked to make sure the price is in the range it should be and Mr. Brooks replied that yes it was checked. Dale English second the motion. Motion passed 5-0. Kevin Brooks said that the old truck from the Cemetery will be sold and the proceeds re-invested in the Brague Endowment Account.
Tom Kirkland – Nothing to report
Anthony McDaniel – Absent
Jamie Hill – Nothing to report
Carol Hehr – Nothing to report
Ray Hughes – Nothing to report
VIII: Solicitor’s Report:
IX: Mayor’s Report:
The Mayor asked for a motion to pass, by its second and third reading, Ordinance #03-2021, An Ordinance to Increase Water and Sewer Rates to Consumers. Ray Hughes spoke up and said that this is just the second reading not second and third reading. Village Administrator said that yes, it is the second and third reading. Councilman Jamie Hill spoke up and said he didn’t think it should be an emergency. Carol Hehr and Ray Hughes said we have to have three readings. Mr. Brooks said that this has already been discussed, the third reading is as an emergency. He stated this cannot be drug out for 30 days because it will take us into February billing cycle. Councilman Ray Hughes stated that it is not a matter of convenience, public safety is justification for it to be an emergency. Kevin Brooks replied, it is justified per legal counsel to meet the 2022 billing cycle to which Ray Hughes asked to see it in writing and that he had already asked to see it in writing. Ray Hughes also said that the public needs a chance to respond. Councilman Dale English stated that according to past training he had been to, council can do a first reading and then a second and third reading as an emergency. Councilman Ray Hughes said that according to Ohio Revised Code #731.30 and the Village handbook, passing as an emergency is justified by public peace, safety, and health. He feels that by Council passing Ordinances without giving the public a voice and a chance to respond it is making us look like the “bad guys”. Mayor Ricer asked Ray Hughes what he is wanting us to do?? Ray Hughes responded and said he just wants to follow proper procedure when passing this Ordinance. Councilwoman Carol Hehr asked if we could do the third reading if we have the special meeting next week. Kevin Brooks replied that they can do as they so choose. Kevin Brooks feels that Ray Hughes is not interpreting the ORC and the handbook correctly. He said that this was already given to legal counsel and approved for second and third reading and Ray Hughes again asked to see this in writing from legal counsel. Kevin Brooks stated again that it was to be passed by second and third reading this evening because of the 2022 billing cycle which constitutes an emergency. Carol Hehr asked if we could post it in the Beacon for Thursday and then possibly have the third reading if there is a special meeting next week. Ray Hughes said that all he wants is for the public to have the opportunity to voice their opinion if they so choose and have three readings on the Ordinance. Kevin Brooks said that this is not worth the argument and let it carry out to the January 4th, 2022 meeting for the third reading. The Mayor then asked for a motion to pass, by its second reading, Ordinance #03-2021, title only, An Ordinance to Increase Water and Sewer Rates to Consumers. Carol Hehr made the motion. Ray Hughes second. Councilman Jamie Hill then asked, since he was absent at last meeting, if the consensus was to raise all rates. Ray Hughes replied that E. L. Robinson recommended raising base rates and overage rates for water and sewer all at once but the Utility Committee came up with the plan of doing it over a period of 3 years rather than all at once and the water rate has to be increased now. Also, over the 3 year period the rate increase is less than E. L. Robinson’s recommendation. This will give the Village time to adjust operating costs. Kevin Brooks also wanted Council to know that the reason there has been nothing from legal counsel in writing was because of illness. Motion passed 5-0. Carol Hehr – Yes, Ray Hughes – Yes, Dale English – Yes, Tom Kirkland – Yes, Jamie Hill – Yes, Anthony McDaniel – absent.
The Mayor asked for a motion to pass Ordinance #04-2021, Providing for Amending and Revising Specific Line-Items in the Appropriations of Expenditures for the Village of Woodsfield for the Calendar Year 2021 and Declaring an Emergency. Let it be noted: A motion to suspend the three-reading rule and pass this ordinance as an emergency measure was made, seconded and passed with 5 affirmative votes. Carol Hehr made the motion. Jamie Hill second. Motion passed 5-0. Carol Hehr – Yes, Jamie Hill – Yes, Dale English – Yes, Tom Kirkland – Yes, Ray Hughes – Yes, Anthony McDaniel – Absent. The Mayor then asked for a motion to pass and adopt Ordinance #04-2021. Ray Hughes made the motion. Dale English second. Motion passed 5-0. Ray Hughes – Yes, Dale English – Yes, Tom Kirkland – Yes, Jamie Hill – Yes, Carol Hehr – Yes, Anthony McDaniel – Absent. Ordinance #04-2021 adopted.
The Mayor asked for a motion to approve the payment of the bills. Carol Hehr made the motion. Ray Hughes second the motion. Motion passed 5-0.
The Mayor stated that the Police Department is doing a very good job. Collections for Mayor’s Court has been good. The Mayor asked for a motion to approve the Mayor’s Court Report. Jamie Hill made the motion. Dale English second the motion. Motion passed 5-0.
Kevin Brooks let Council know that First Settlement Physical Therapy in the Ohio Hills Health building has sponsored parking meters for the first 3 months of 2022.
X. Un-Registered Visitors:
Carla Wobschall of the Monroe County Beacon received a call from a person wanting her to ask a question. They were asking if there is a fracking disposal well behind the Monroe County Sheriffs Department. They are wanting to know if it could impact Village water. Kevin Brooks said that it would
be monitored. Dale English said that it is county property and Ray Hughes said to check with County Commissioner’s. Charlie Brooks said that there is an injection well going in on the property.
Kevin Brooks reminded Council before adjournment that the next meeting is Tuesday, January 4th, 2022 due to the building being closed on January 3rd for the holiday.
Councilman Dale English made the motion to Adjourn from Session. Ray Hughes second the motion. Motion passed 5-0. Meeting adjourned at 6:47 p.m.
Michael E. Ricer, Mayor Lori Cunard, Fiscal Officer