Meeting Minutes (2-21-2022)
The Council of the Village of Woodsfield
February 21, 2022
The Council of the Village of Woodsfield met in Regular Session on February 21, 2022.
I. Roll Call:
Present: Council Members; Dale English, Tom Kirkland, Anthony McDaniel, Jamie Hill, Carol Hehr, and D. Ray Hughes; Mayor Mike Ricer, Solicitor Kristy Rothenbuhler, Village Administrator Kevin Brooks, Fiscal Officer Lori Cunard.
II. Pending Meeting Minutes Approval:
Councilman Dale English made a motion to accept the February 7, 2022 meeting minutes. Ray Hughes second. Anthony McDaniel – abstain. Motion passed 5-0.
III. Registered Visitors/Guest:
IV. Old Business:
Councilman Jamie Hill brought to attention the plugged drain on 407 Holiday Ave. During the heavy rain we had last Thursday it was literally a pond. Village Administrator said the individuals on the alley need to talk to Street Superintendent Andy Copley. After paving, the asphalt is raised and doesn’t allow the water to drain.
V. Administrator Report:
Village Administrator Kevin Brooks reported that tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. will be the first teleconference with CT Consultants regarding the conceptual floor plan of the new Village Municipal building. CT Consultants will be meeting online with Chief Corey Jones at 1:30 p.m. to discuss the Police Department in the new building. When deciding the floor plan and throughout the whole process we will be meeting with department heads and individuals holding offices in the building to discuss the space needs of the different departments. Any of Council that would like to attend tomorrow are welcome. Mr. Brooks said that to look at the lot can be deceiving because the Village does not own the grass area the whole way over to the neighboring property and we want to utilize the area the best we can.
Kevin Brooks stated that the Itron handheld metering device is out of service. We have no way of getting technical support on them anymore, the support expired as of 12/31/2021. We have reached out to some different companies and have secured replacements and replacement parts for the Itron so we are going to purchase another Itron to have one on hand when needed. This brings up the subject of the AMI Metering and where we are with the project. Because there are projects currently in progress and projects needing done in the Water/Sewer Department it does not make sense to tasking them with the project of replacing meters for the AMI Project. We do not want to hire contractors for the job because it involves sending strangers into residents’ homes due to most of the water meters being inside. In order to mesh the network we need 40 water meters to be installed and have the electric meters installed. So in 2022 we are looking at having the AMI networking installed in all the electric meters and installing the 40 meters on the water/sewer side to mesh the network. Moving forward, when some of the projects get completed in water/sewer we will then install the remainder of the water meters. With the SCADA System going in and the GIS Mapping, it would be too much to add the task of installing over 1200 water meters. Steve Eikleberry, Park Superintendent, is currently reading meters but in about a month mowing season will begin for him. As the projects wrap up and time allows we can begin installing the new water meters and we will get pricing and do the electric networking. We are using the ARPA Funds for some of the SCADA upgrade which was going to be a big portion of paying for the AMI Metering. Councilwoman Carol Hehr asked if we hired a third-party contractor to replace meters if a Village employee could go with them. Mr. Brooks replied that the job is probably going to involve evenings and weekends to be accommodating to people’s schedule. Councilman Ray Hughes asked if the 40 meters needs to be grouped in an area together or just 40 throughout the Village. Mr. Brooks replied that he believes 40 throughout the Village to build the network. Ray Hughes asked if it
would help to print a notice on the bills asking who would like to have the meters replaced, maybe this would help with scheduling. Mr. Brooks replied that he doesn’t think that 40 meters will be an issue
scheduling but it will be the remainder. Mr. Brooks also stated that we will be looking at the exact population of meters that will need to be replaced because there are some meters within the Village that are not that old and we can just replace the logic but not the meter. The Munibilling Software in the utility office will track the age of the meters. Mr. Brooks said that 2 ½ years ago when we re-structured the water/sewer and electric departments, we were going to hire crew members for each department who were going to start replacing meters, but we have fell short on that and meters have not gotten replaced in a timely fashion. We will start moving the project forward and replace electric meters and the 40 water meters so that we can have the network meshed together and then instead of reading 3,200 meters per month we will only be reading 1,214 meters. Also, we have dealt with AMP on the AMI Metering for a year and every time we go back to them the price seems to get more advantageous for us. Mayor Ricer stated that with only one Itron then only one person can read meters and that is not what was agreed on. It takes too much time for one person to do it alone and this had been discussed with Council at an earlier time that more than one person is to read meters. Mr. Brooks said that Mr. Eikleberry generally reads meters from about November thru March. During the other months the departments are responsible for reading their own meters but most of the time Electric is doing the meter reading. Mayor Ricer stated that there seem to be a lot of re-reads that need to be done and Kevin Brooks replied that a lot of the mistakes are not handheld related but mistakes we are making because there is a multitude of staff with varying experience doing the reading. Mr. Brooks replied that he would get with Claudia and get the other Itron ordered, we should have it in a week.
Council has in front of them the 2022 Appropriation Budget. Chris Kerby, traveling clerk, worked with the Fiscal Office to get the budget completed. Mr. Brooks pointed out that most capital items requested by the departments were honored and included in the budget. The biggest item Mr. Brooks wanted to point out was the 2022 carryover to 2023. Despite an increase in salaries, increase in fuel, etc. our carryover is steady with carryovers from past years. Mr. Brooks told Council to remember that when they approve the budget they are approving it as presented which means they are approving the capital purchases that will be made throughout the year. However, when the capital purchases are going to be made they will still be brought before Council. Mr. Brooks asked for any comments, questions from Council. Councilman Ray Hughes asked Fiscal Officer Lori Cunard how she felt about the budget, if she felt comfortable now that it is cleaned up and streamlined. Lori stated that she did feel comfortable with the budget.
Kevin Brooks reported to Council that last week they had a sit-down meeting with our new legal counsel, Kristy Rothenbuhler. There were several pending issues that were talked about at the meeting, she did the contract with Officer Jacob McNerney for the K-9, Mr. Brooks appreciates the time Kristy Rothenbuhler spent with them.
VI. Fiscal Officer Report:
Fiscal Officer Lori Cunard asked that Council approve the 2022 Permanent Budget. Tom Kirkland made a motion to approve the 2022 Permanent Budget. Jamie Hill second. Motion passed 6-0. Village Administrator Kevin Brooks asked Lori Cunard to check with Mr. Kerby regarding writing up the Ordinance for the 2022 budget. Legal Counsel Kristy Rothenbuhler stated that she did not think it is absolutely necessary to do an Ordinance for the budget, however, if that has been our best management practices in the past then we should do an Ordinance. Lori Cunard said she will talk to Chris Kerby about the Ordinance.
VII. Committee Chair/Council Reports:
Dale English – Nothing to report
Tom Kirkland – Nothing to report
Anthony McDaniel – Nothing to report
Jamie Hill – Councilman Jamie Hill asked if we have heard anything from Jason Hamman. Kevin Brooks replied that no we have not heard from him in about 3 months. We have not been invited to any Port Authority meetings since they have changed the location of the meetings.
Carol Hehr – Councilwoman Carol Hehr stated that her and the Mayor attended a meeting regarding the landbank last week and they will be attending another tomorrow. Carol Hehr and Mayor Ricer have talked to 4 people regarding properties in the Village and if they go into the Courthouse, Treasurer’s Office and sign documents these 4 properties can be used for the landbank. Carol Hehr also stated that they think there is enough CDBG grant funds for a pickleball court at the Park. She talked to Steve Eikleberry, Park Superintendent, about getting a bid to add this to the Park and she would let Mary Jo Westfall know to add this to the CDBG Grant. Mayor Ricer asked Carol Hehr about some of the projects that were to be done at the Park that have not been completed and why they haven’t been completed. Carol Hehr stated that painting the tennis courts was not included in the Natureworks Grant and it was going to cost $22,000 for the painting. Also, when a Natureworks Grant is written it can only be for one site, not multiple sites. Mr. Brooks stated that the CDBG Grant for the walking trail is paving and the Natuerworks Grant is for exercise equipment and the projects not completed on the CDBG side were due to cost constraints. When we went to bid for the walking trail we had $125,000 and that bid came in at $200,000 so it was done in phases. In late 2021 when we took bids for paving, JT Paving gave a bid of $48,000 but we decided it was too late in the year to do the paving but JT Paving said they would hold that bid until April of this year so that bid is still on the table. The fire hydrant project is held up due to materials not being delivered. There is also fencing that needs put up around the basketball court. We are still in the parameters of the grant because there have been extensions on the CDBG Grant and everything is expected to be done by the end of 2022. Carol Hehr also stated that the Village enrolled in Spokeo to get phone numbers and addresses. This was done so she could get phone numbers for some property owners for landbank and property maintenance violations.
D. Ray Hughes – Councilman Ray Hughes asked what the status is with the locomotives that the 2 gentlemen from Colorado are interested in. Mayor Ricer said he is going to contact John Ogden, there may be an issue with ownership. Kristy Rothenbuhler agreed that there definitely could be an ownership issue.
VIII: Solicitor’s Report:
IX: Mayor’s Report:
The Mayor asked for a motion to approve the payment of the bills. Tom Kirkland made the motion. Ray Hughes second. Motion passed 6-0.
The Mayor asked for a motion to approve the Mayor’s Court Report, January, 2022. Jamie Hill made the motion. Anthony McDaniel second. Motion passed 6-0.
Mayor Ricer reported to Council that he and Lori Cunard met with a representative regarding the Gaming License. The Village is no longer responsible for collecting the money for gaming license, it will be done by the State of Ohio.
X. Un-Registered Visitors:
Mayor Ricer then asked for a motion to go into Executive Session regarding Litigation under O.R.C. 121.22G3 and there may or may not be action taken. Tom Kirkland made the motion. Anthony McDaniel second. Motion passed 6-0. Executive Session entered at 6:28 p.m.
Mayor Ricer asked for a motion to return to Regular Session. Jamie Hill made the motion. Dale English second. Motion passed 6-0. Returned to Regular Session at 7:05 p.m.
Solicitor Kristy Rothenbuhler will be attending the County Commisioners meeting on behalf of the Village regarding the on-going sewer issues at the County Jail. When meeting with Commissioners, Council would like her to state that they have until March 7th (next Council meeting date) to respond and give Council an answer as to what their plan is for correcting the sewer issue, otherwise things will
be escalating because the issue has to be corrected. Council also stressed that Kristy Rothenbuhler remind them that on numerous occasions Mayor Ricer and Kevin Brooks asked for communication from them and heard nothing. If there is no communication regarding a plan of action from the Commissioners the EPA will be contacted because the sewer issue is an EPA violation. Ray Hughes made a motion to have Solicitor Kristy Rothenbuhler attend County Commissioners meeting on behalf of the Village of Woodsfield giving them until March 7th to have a plan of action regarding the sewer situation at the County Jail. Anthony McDaniel second. Motion passed 6-0.
Councilman Anthony McDaniel made the motion to Adjourn from Session. Jamie Hill second. Motion passed 6-0. Meeting adjourned at 7:09 p.m.
Michael E. Ricer, Mayor Lori Cunard, Fiscal Officer