Meeting Minutes (5-16-22)
The Council of the Village of Woodsfield
May 16, 2022
The Council of the Village of Woodsfield met in Regular Session on May 16, 2022.
I. Roll Call:
Present: Council Members; Tom Kirkland, Anthony McDaniel, Jamie Hill, and Carol Hehr; Mayor Mike Ricer, Village Administrator Kevin Brooks, Solicitor Kristy Rothenbuhler, and Fiscal Officer Lori Cunard.
Absent: Council members Dale English and D. Ray Hughes.
II. Pending Meeting Minutes Approval:
Councilman Jamie Hill made a motion to accept the May 2, 2022 meeting minutes. Carol Hehr second but due to Councilman Anthony McDaniel being absent at last meeting and having to abstain his motion the meeting minutes approval will be held over until next council meeting. Some discussion followed on whether Anthony McDaniel can vote to approve the meeting minutes even though he was absent for the meeting. Councilwoman Carol Hehr thought he could approve the minutes. Solicitor Kristy Rothenbuhler did not like the idea because he was not present for the meeting. More discussion to take place later.
III. Registered Visitors/Guest:
Matt Vinskovich – Mr. Vinskovich attended the meeting this evening because of a storm sewer issue. He stated that he lives on 104 Maple Ave. and he has had a continuous problem since he has lived there. The previous owners had put in a sump pump and with a typical rain the pump will run continuously for a couple of hours. Mr. Vinskovich stated that 3-4 times since he has lived there we had very heavy rain fall, the sump pump can’t keep up and he ended up with 2-3 inches of rain in the basement. He has worked with Paul Robison, Water Superintendent and the previous Water Superintendent Terry Comstock, they have both been in his basement and Mr. Comstock’s suggestion was to concrete in the sump pump which Mr. Vinskovich felt was not the best solution. His main question is why the water from the storm sewer is coming to his basement and who is responsible for it. Paul Robison was in his basement again about a year ago and said the lines leading to the sump pump should be disconnected so he is not sure where the water is coming from but he did mention getting a camera to see exactly where the lines go. Mr. Vinskovich would like to try and get this issue resolved. Village Administrator Kevin Brooks spoke up to say that he spoke to Paul and he will be sent back out to look at it but Mr. Brooks could not give a timeline until we know for sure what the problem is. Mr. Brooks also stated that we have started to address the storm sewer issues in the Village. We have just completed a $3.2 million storm sewer separation phase I project and we are in the application process to do phase II of the project. He told Mr. Vinskovich that he would try to get him some relief but until Paul comes out to look at it and see where the problem is coming from he can’t give an answer as to what the solution is or how long it will take to fix it.
IV. Old Business:
V. Administrator Report:
Village Administrator Kevin Brooks stated that he is passing around a letter received by a resident who had a death in the family and was impressed with the way our staff reacted.
Mayor Mike Ricer and Kevin Brooks contacted Shred-It in Columbus today. They will be in our parking lot on August 6th from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. with the mobile shredders to shred Village records that needs done and residents can also participate for Community Shred Day.
Kevin Brooks reported that there are several employees with an exceptional amount of accrued vacation leave. Due to COVID, in 2020 employees were given 3 extra weeks’ paid leave, we did not enforce employees to take vacation since no one was going anywhere, and we allowed vacation time to accrue beyond their maximum. This is a substantial potential liability for the Village because of the vacation payout at retirement or termination of employment. Mr. Brooks is proposing to Council that the Village do a vacation leave payout of up to 80 hrs. on June 3rd for any employee that wishes to participate and he would like to re-evaluate at the end of the year to possibly do the payout on a regular
annual basis. Mr. Brooks talked to Councilman Ray Hughes about it today and he suggested when an employee reaches their maximum to pay it out which would also be a good idea instead of allowing it to accrue. Councilwoman Carol Hehr said she is in favor of it but come January 1st of each year employees either need to take vacation or we can pay it out. Kevin Brooks suggested that at the end of the year when we reevaluate, we make a decision as to whether we are going to do the vacation leave payout or just payout once they reach the maximum. Councilman Jamie Hill asked if employees don’t use vacation time and reach their maximum they lose it, is that an option? Kevin Brooks reminded Council that when the new policy manual was written there was a promise made that they would not lose vacation time from past practices. But we need to get down some of the accrued vacation leave because it is such a liability to the Village and when an employee with a lot of accrued time retires it keeps us from hiring a new employee in a timely manner because we are paying out accrued time to the previous employee. Due to the Sick Leave Incentive Program we do in the fall, he feels we are getting control of employees accrued sick leave. Jamie Hill suggested maybe doing a payout of vacation leave at Christmas. Carol Hehr asked Mr. Brooks if he knew about how much this payout would be. Mr. Brooks said it would not be as much as a regular payroll. Anthony McDaniel made the motion to approve a vacation leave payout of up to 80 hrs. for any employee who would like to participate. Carol Hehr second. Dale English and Ray Hughes – absent. Motion passed 4-0.
Kevin Brooks brought to Council’s attention that with Chief Corey Jones being out of the office for a period of time he has requested all issues regarding blocked parking or diverting of traffic be sent to his office and he would handle those issues to help out the Police Department. Anthony McDaniel asked who would be taking over Chief Jones duty’s while he is out and Mr. Brooks replied that he did not know, he had not had the conversation with Chief Jones. Mr. Brooks also reminded Council that whoever does take Chief Jones place that they will not receive Superintendents pay, Council did away with that a while ago.
VI. Fiscal Officer Report:
Lori Cunard had a request for a donation of $500.00 to Woodsfield Alumni Scholarship Fund. Carol Hehr stated that she thought that Council had approved donating that every year and it did not have to be brought before Council each year. Kevin Brooks said that from an audit standpoint he thinks Council should vote on it every year. Jamie Hill asked if the student had to be a resident of Woodsfield or is it just as long as they graduate from Monroe Central? Carol Hehr said she thought that as long as one parent is a graduate the student qualifies for the scholarship whether they graduated from Monroe Central or not. Kevin Brooks said he would get more information on this. Jamie Hill made the motion to approve a $500.00 donation to the Woodsfield Alumni Scholarship Fund. Tom Kirkland second. Dale English and Ray Hughes – absent. Motion passed 4-0.
Kevin Brooks reported on the clean-up week in the Village. He said there were a total of 6 dumpsters filled which is less than there usually is but none the less this is a good opportunity that we will continue for the residents.
The Fiscal Office will be closed this week from Wednesday – Friday due to Lori Cunard and Brenda Mauck attending training in Columbus.
VII. Committee Chair/Council Reports:
Dale English – absent
Tom Kirkland – Nothing to report
Anthony McDaniel – Nothing to report
Jamie Hill – Councilman Jamie Hill asked if there needed to be a vote for a change on the property maintenance ordinance. Mayor Ricer and Kevin Brooks stated that no there did not need to be a vote.
Carol Hehr – Councilwoman Carol Hehr read a statement from Roberts Rules of Order stating that yes a Council member can vote to approve the minutes. She asked Solicitor Kristy Rothenbuhler if she
could get more clarification on this. Solicitor Rothenbuhler said she would do some research, but she just does not like the idea.
D. Ray Hughes – absent
VIII: Solicitor’s Report:
Solicitor Kristy Rothenbuhler stated that an elderly individual that can no longer take care of their property located within the Village donated the property to the Village and the closing would take place in her office.
Kristy Rothenbuhler met with some of the Council members regarding the D.O.R.A. District Application. She stated that if anyone would like to discuss the specifics such as what days of the week, the times, or what the plastic cups and the signs should look like to get in touch with her during the application process. Kevin Brooks spoke up and said the plastic cups will be used to market the downtown area and he also suggested contacting the high school art class and have a contest for designing the cup. Mr. Brooks also stated that we need to address the subject of the lack of trash receptacles in and around the downtown area for the D.O.R.A. District. He would like to order something decorative for the downtown and surrounding areas.
Solicitor Rothenbuhler also said she had a call from Barrett Hayes, the gentleman purchasing the locomotives, he had some questions regarding the contract. She returned his call but hadn’t heard anything back from him yet.
IX: Mayor’s Report:
Last week Mayor Ricer wrote 42 letters for property maintenance. He will aggressively be pursuing rundown and grown-up property’s in the Village. Carol Hehr asked if we could start putting something on utility bills once a month regarding property’s. Kevin Brooks stated that he and Mayor Ricer would talk to Claudia Baker about this, with the Muni-billing system it can be done.
The Mayor asked for a motion to approve the payment of bills. Carol Hehr made the motion. Tom Kirkland second. Dale English and Ray Hughes – absent, Motion passed 4-0.
The Mayor asked for a motion to approve the Mayor’s Court Report, April, 2022. Jamie Hill made the motion. Anthony McDaniel second. Dale English and Ray Hughes – absent. Motion passed 4-0.
Kevin Brooks stated that he will be starting vacation on June 6th.
Carol Hehr forgot to mention that she did attend a landbank meeting today. She said they are waiting on the money to come in, it is expected at any time. She said that they are not sure if there will be another round or not but she is going to put together a list of property’s that she thinks need torn down. Kevin Brooks asked if the old Woodsfield High School building was on the list, Carol Hehr replied that no it is not as of now, the Prosecutor’s office still has it tied up.
X. Un-Registered Visitors:
Councilman Jamie Hill made the motion to Adjourn from Session. Anthony McDaniel second. Dale English and Ray Hughes – absent. Motion passed 4-0. Meeting adjourned at 6:30 p.m.
Michael E. Ricer, Mayor Lori Cunard, Fiscal Officer