Meeting Minutes (3-7-2022)
The Council of the Village of Woodsfield
February 7, 2022
The Council of the Village of Woodsfield met in Regular Session on March 7, 2022.
I. Roll Call:
Present: Council Members; Dale English, Tom Kirkland, Jamie Hill, Carol Hehr, and D. Ray Hughes; Mayor Mike Ricer, Solicitor Kristy Rothenbuhler, Village Administrator Kevin Brooks, Fiscal Officer Lori Cunard.
Absent: Anthony McDaniel.
II. Pending Meeting Minutes Approval:
Councilman Jamie Hill made a motion to accept the February 21, 2022 meeting minutes. Carol Hehr second. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Motion passed 5-0.
III. Registered Visitors/Guest:
John Williams, Fair Board President – Mr. Williams attended on behalf of the Monroe Agricultural Society Fair Board. He is attending regarding the way they are being billed for electric at the fairgrounds. Mr. Williams stated that in September or October of 2021 they found out that they now have a meter at the fairgrounds that is called a primary/demand meter that has a 400 multiplier on it. Mr. Williams understanding is that any kilowatts that goes through the meter is being billed as 400 times. The Monroe Agricultural Fair is a non-profit organization and Mr. Williams stated there is no way they can afford $1,000-$2000/month electric bills. He would like to know why they have a meter that has a 400 multiplier on it when they are a non-profit organization?? Village Administrator Kevin Brooks said the meter is based on voltage and that is the meter they need at the fairgrounds. Mr. Brooks said t Sawvel did an audit on the accounts at the fairgrounds because they have multiple accounts and we are accurately billing the accounts. There has been a 400-multiplier meter at the fairgrounds for about 22 years and we were calculating the bill based on an 80 multiplier, an error on our end. When the new billing software was installed approximately a year ago, we had to re-key information to the system and found some errors, the fairgrounds being one of them so for about 22 years they have been under billed but we did not go back and try to collect anything because it was our mistake. Moving forward we will be billing correctly. We also looked at demand, non-demand and the change about a year ago was to bill as non-demand which resulted in a savings to their overall bill. We are providing them energy at the lowest possible rate according to our rate schedule. There are multiple accounts at the fairgrounds but the one with the bulk of usage is on the multiplier. Looking at the low usage accounts, we compared them to South Central and our rates are significantly lower. The account that has the most usage, we are 6% higher than South Central and the 6% equals $1,300.00. Mr. Brooks said he discussed with Sawvel a special tariff, we can discuss, which would allow us to charge a different rate for the fairgrounds moving forward that would give them a reduction of 10% which means we would then be lower than South Central on the bulk usage account and substantially lower on the minimum usage accounts. The fairgrounds electric billing for last year was just a little over $13,000.00. There have been several conversations regarding reliability, brown-outs, and outages at the fairgrounds. Mr. Brooks has spent time the last couple of weeks looking for answers to those issues and found that it is on their end and not on our end. Mr. Brooks said there has been complaints that we cannot supply enough energy to the fairgrounds which is absolutely not true, we can supply all the energy they need. The issue is with the secondary services, the campgrounds, they are overloading the service by hooking 5 campers up to 120- or 200-AMP service. We spoke to Andrew Ogden, he confirmed that they are overloading the circuits at the campgrounds. This has been an issue for several years, the conversation has taken place with our electric department, the fair board, and Andrew Ogden. Mr. Brooks stated that he is willing to come up with a reduced rate but the other option the fairgrounds has is to contract with South Central, they are not tied to us and if South Central can offer a better rate it is the fair board’s prerogative to change. Mr. Brooks also said that we are normally out at the fairgrounds a couple of weeks before the fair, some during fair week, we installed five new poles last year and have never charged for any of those services, he feels we have done our due diligence. Mr. Williams stated that he attended just to discuss the way they have been getting billed. Mr. Brooks stated again that the 400-multiplier meter that is installed at the fairgrounds is not a new meter, it is the meter they have
always had, it is based on the voltage and up until last year they were only being charged for an 80-multiplier meter. Mr. Brooks stated that based on the discussion they had a week ago, he thought the special tariff was an option, Mr. Williams stated he could not give an answer regarding the special tariff, that would be a board decision. Mr. Williams stated that he attended to get an understanding of why there should be a 4oo-multiplier meter installed on a non-profit organization that has no income other than the week of the fair? Mr. Williams also asked if any of the other four meters at the fairgrounds were drawing power from the demand meter because if so, they are paying for electric twice. Mr. Brooks stated they are not, that has been verified and he is 100% sure their bill is accurate and they are being billed correctly. Mr. Brooks said that is why we had Sawvel do the audit on all the accounts and he had provided Mr. Williams with a rate study in comparison to AEP and South Central. AEP is not a fair comparison because they were part of a class action lawsuit because they represent a service zone that has multiple county fairs, not sure how many fairs South Central services. Mr. Williams stated that it was not a class action lawsuit but in regard to House Bill 6 which prohibits companies such as AEP and South Central Power that generate their power from using a multiplier on organizations such them. Mr. Williams said there are exemptions in House Bill 6 for municipal power companies that do no generate power. He stated that during the week of the fair every generator the Village has will be running. Mr. Brooks replied, no, absolutely not, we do not have permits to generate unless it is an emergency situation or we are peak shaving. The Village has 6 diesel generators, 3 are permitted which allows us to peak shave up to 600 hours per year per diesel generator, we are only allowed to use the additional generators in the case of an emergency. Mr. Williams stated that he is attending tonight on behalf of the fair board and there is no way they can afford $1,500.00-$2,000.00 electric bill each month being a non-profit organization. Councilman Jamie Hill asked what is running at the fairgrounds in January that would create a $2,249.00 electric bill. Mr. Williams said that the only thing is the preschool and security lighting but they have tried to keep some of them off. Councilwoman Carol Hehr asked how many days a week they have preschool and Mr. Williams stated Tuesday-Friday. Jamie Hill asked what the bill generally is at fair time, for August and September, to which Mr. Williams replied $8,000.00-$10,000.00. Mr. Brooks stated that the problem is they had been being undercharged for many years which was the fault of the Village but with the new software billing system it was found and now they are being billed correctly. Mr. Brooks said the Mayor, Council and himself can sit down and discuss with the fair board what an acceptable tariff would be or the fair board has the option of checking with South Central to see if they can offer a cheaper rate and go with them. Councilman Jamie Hill spoke up and said he would hate to lose the fairground to South Central so hopefully they can get something acceptable worked out and he asked if there are any other businesses with the 400-multiplier? Mr. Brooks replied no, the 400-multiplier is the largest and it is strictly based on the voltage. Jamie Hill also asked if on the off-season we could not do the 400-multipier which Mr. Brooks replied that is what he is proposing. Mr. Brooks also stated that he’s thinking that the fair board would like to pay what they were paying when they were being billed erroneously but that is not a decision he can make himself. Mr. Williams asked if the other 4 meters aren’t drawing any power, everything else at the fairgrounds is shut down, then where is the power that is going through the demand meter that they are being charged for going to. Mr. Brooks replied that it is the building that is active, there is one building that is being used and the power is being used there. The building is the Monroe Agricultural Society and Mr. Brooks said when the building was built there was some debate about the metering situation but the Village did as they were told. Mr. Williams said it was done that way so that when the building was rented they would know how much power was used during the rental. Caro Hehr asked if the building was heated by electric to which Mr. Williams replied no it is gas with electric fans so basically the only thing running is the fans and lighting. The Mayor asked for Mr. Williams to get with the fair board and put a list of questions together and they could schedule a meeting at a later date because they don’t seem to be getting anywhere this evening. Mr. Brooks also suggested he get permission from the board to negotiate a rate that they are comfortable with and the Village would be comfortable with. Jamie Hill stated that they do want to work with them and come to an acceptable agreement for all.
IV. Old Business:
Mayor Ricer stated they are correcting the drainage issue on Holiday Ave. that Jamie Hill had brought up at last Council meeting. Kevin Brooks said what they are doing should make a big difference but he couldn’t promise it would correct it completely. Jamie Hill also said residents Brent and Julie Huffman also have a drainage issue they would like to have corrected. No water has gotten into their basement but they have a lot of water standing in their yard during times of a lot of rain.
Mayor Ricer reported there is going to be an ad run in the Beacon regarding the locomotives that the gentlemen from Colorado are wanting. There was a question of ownership so the ad will be run for 2 weeks. Councilman Tom Kirkland spoke up to say they were once owned by Sun Creek Authority, but they are no longer in existence.
V. Administrator Report:
Village Administrator Kevin Brooks announced Megan Powell would like permission to do the Vintage Car Show at the City Park on April 23, 2022 from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. They are charging admission with all proceeds going to the Princess Festival. Ray Hughes made a motion to allow permission for Megan Powell to use City Park, April 23, 2022 from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. for a Vintage Car Show. Tom Kirkland second. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Motion passed 5-0.
Kevin Brooks has the contract from Triad for the phase 1 environmental to be done next door where we will be putting the new building. The fee schedule is $2,000.00 and that will include everything. Dale English made a motion to engage Triad for the phase 1 environmental on the parcel next door in the amount of $2,000.00. Tom Kirkland second. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Brooks reported the issue with the Village website. We had the website created by an employee from Kinetic about 2 years ago and he also did some training on how to keep the website updated however, the Village employee that was trained is no longer with the Village. Mr. Brooks talked to Daniel Denbow who does website design on the side and he is willing to update our website and do some training for $750.00, for an additional $250.00 he will continue to update our website. The $250.00 is for Mr. Denbow to update the website in a timely fashion up until Lori Cunard and Brenda Mauck are trained to update it. Carol Hehr made a motion for Daniel Denbow to update the Village website and continue to update it while training Lori Cunard and Brenda Mauck to update the site at a cost of $1,000.00. Jamie Hill second. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Brooks stated that there are quite a few employees who are members of the gym in town and there is continuing interest. Mr. Brooks asked Brent Dick if he could offer a reduced rate for our employees and Brent said he would be willing to reduce the rate from $45/month to $30/month as long as our numbers stay in the double digits. Mr. Brooks stated that because we only have 35 employees, we do not qualify with Anthem for a Wellness Program. Mr. Brooks asked Council if they would like to start a Wellness Program for only employees who would like to join a gym? He asked if Council would be willing to have the Village pay $10/month towards the monthly rate for an employee, the employee must commit to a joining the gym for a year and their cost can be payroll deducted. Council unanimously agreed that this would be a good idea and anytime someone is trying to take care of their health it is a good thing. Mr. Brooks stated that he would get with the fiscal office to discuss payroll deduction and probably about November we would re-evaluate for year 2023. Ray Hughes made a motion to pay up to $10/month maximum per employee who wishes to enroll in the Wellness Program for a calendar year. Carol Hehr second. Jamie Hill – abstain. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Motion passed 4-0.
Kevin Brooks had financials from Fiscal Officer Lori Cunard. He would like to point out that as of March 4, 2022 we are showing a balance in the general fund of $468,496.65, all funds are looking really good. The Village’s long-term debt is $1,858,913.62, some of that will be paid off in the next few years. The Village debt is low interest rate loans but Mr. Brooks stated we may have to look at re-structuring some of our debt so we can get it paid off a little quicker because most of it is stretched out over a long period of time.
Kevin Brooks is requesting Executive Session regarding acquisition of property at the end of the meeting.
Lastly, Mr. Brooks announced, Thursday, March 10th is the bid opening for the ODOT downtown project.
VI. Fiscal Officer Report:
Fiscal Officer Lori Cunard has the Ordinance for the Permanent Appropriation Budget for 2022. Lori reminded Council that nothing is permanent and with costs rising there may need to be adjustments throughout the year. Kevin Brooks spoke up and said there were already some adjustments made for rising fuel prices.
VII. Committee Chair/Council Reports:
Dale English – Councilman Dale English reported that Chief Corey Jones is talking about doing a fund raiser during the summer for the K-9.
Tom Kirkland – Councilman Tom Kirkland asked about the alleys we have discussed in the past regarding closing. Kevin Brooks replied that he would get with Andy Copley, Street Superintendent get a list together and have it for next Council meeting.
Anthony McDaniel – Absent
Jamie Hill – Councilman Jamie Hill asked the Mayor it he would please talk to the Huffman’s as he had mentioned earlier. Mr. Hill also said someone had asked him about Village property owned outside the Village and hunting on the property. The Mayor replied there is no hunting allowed on Village owned property.
Carol Hehr – Councilwoman Carol Hehr reported on the Landbank, there are 2 properties in the Village that are on the list. One property is on S. Main Street and one on Eastern Avenue, she is hoping that when the next round of money comes through we can be more prepared and have more properties on the list.
D. Ray Hughes – Councilman Ray Hughes asked what the progress was at the Count Jail regarding the Sewer issue. Solicitor Kristy Rothenbuhler replied that we will be talking about it during Executive Session.
VIII: Solicitor’s Report:
Solicitor’s report will be done during Executive Session.
IX: Mayor’s Report:
Mayor Ricer reported that he had talked to Uriah Wilson and Mr. Wilson still does not have all his documentation together for his re-zoning request. Mr. Brooks spoke up and said that he also has been in touch with him and Mr. Wilson is working on it.
The Mayor asked for a motion to approve the payment of the bills. Tom Kirkland made the motion. Jamie Hill second. Antony McDaniel – absent. Motion passed 5-0.
The Mayor asked for a motion to approve the Mayor’s Court Report, February, 2022. Dale English made the motion. Tom Kirkland second. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Motion passed 5-0.
The Mayor asked for a motion to approve the Income Tax Report, February, 2022. Jamie Hill made the motion. Dale English second. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Motion passed 5-0.
The Mayor asked for a motion to pass Ordinance #01-2022, An Ordinance to make Permanent Appropriations for the current expenses and other expenditures of the Village of Woodsfield, during fiscal year ending December 31, 2022 (declaring it an Emergency). Ray Hughes made the motion. Tom Kirkland second. Anthony McDaniel – Absent. Dale English – yes, Jamie Hill – yes, Carol Hehr – yes. Motion passed 5-0. They Mayor then asked for a motion to suspend the rules and pass Ordinance #01-2022 by it second reading (as an Emergency). Jamie Hill made the motion. Carol Hehr second. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Dale English – yes, Tom Kirkland – yes, Ray Hughes – yes. Motion passed 5-0. The Mayor then asked for a motion to suspend the rules and pass Ordinance #01-2022 by its third reading and adopt. Dale English made the motion. Tom Kirkland second. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Jamie Hill – yes, Carol Hehr – yes, Ray Hughes – yes. Motion passed 5-0. Ordinance #01-2022 adopted.
X. Un-Registered Visitors:
Mayor Ricer then asked for a motion to go into Executive Session regarding acquisition of property and to consult with legal counsel. Dale English made the motion. Tom Kirkland second. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Motion passed 5-0. Executive Session entered at 6:47 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 7:24 p.m.
Councilman Jamie Hill made a motion to approve the Axon purchase of a camera kit/cradlepoint in the amount of $9,200.00 for the Police Department using ARPA Funds (1/2 paid now and 1/2 paid after second installment of ARPA Funds are received). Dale English second. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Motion passed 5-0.
Councilman Jamie Hill made the motion to Adjourn from Session. Ray Hughes second. Anthony McDaniel – absent. Motion passed 5-0. Meeting adjourned at 7:45p.m.
Michael E. Ricer, Mayor Lori Cunard, Fiscal Officer