America in Bloom judges to visit Belpre

Belpre City Council held its regular meeting Monday night at the Belpre City Building. From left are council members Joshua Campbell, Elmer Lee Shutts, Tim Gant and Penne Riffle. (Photo by Wayne Towner)

BELPRE — Judges from America In Bloom next Monday and Tuesday will review the efforts of the Belpre In Bloom program.

City Council received an update at Monday’s meeting regarding a couple of community events coming up in the next week.

Leslie Pittenger, Belpre in Bloom chairman and city auditor, said the judges will evaluate Belpre’s efforts in the areas of overall impression, environmental efforts, heritage preservation, landscaped areas, urban forestry and floral displays in the municipal, commercial and residential sectors. A new evaluation criteria this year will be community vitality, which looks at programs, events and projects that a community has to get people outside and active.

In another event, the Belpre Alumni Ice Cream Social will be 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at Howes Grove Park, according to Mayor Mike Lorentz.

During Monday’s meeting, council approved the final reading of a resolution adopting the tax budget for 2018-2019. Pittenger said the tax budget must be approved annually and submitted to the Washington County Auditor’s Office for the city to receive its share of property taxes collected each year.

Councilman Joshua Campbell scheduled another meeting of the charter city exploration committee for 6 p.m. July 23 to continue discussions regarding the idea of Belpre becoming a charter city. Belpre currently operates as a statutory city under Ohio law with an elected council and mayor. One idea under consideration is changing Belpre to a charter city with an elected council working with a city manager hired and directed by council or some other variation as permitted under state code.

The committee meeting on July 23 is part of an ongoing discussion and consideration of the issue.