Belpre Council passes readings

BELPRE – Belpre City Council completed housekeeping items with the passage of the final readings of several pieces of legislation Monday evening.

Council passed the third and last readings of resolutions to allow the city to continue contracts for the management of the city’s senior center, Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park for use of the boat landing area of Civitan Park and the Washington Soil and Water Conservation District.

With the passage to extend the contract with the O’Neill Center in Marietta for the management of the Belpre Senior Center, the city will continue to receive operations of the local center for the calendar year, retroactive to Jan.1.

The Belpre Senior Citizens Center received an overhaul when the city entered an agreement with the O’Neill Center in October 2008. Most of the changes to the programs and center itself took place in 2009.

Since the city partnered with the O’Neill Center in Marietta, usership has more than doubled.

Because of the increased number of people using the facility, the city constructed an addition to the building into Howes Grove Park last year, which has been used for several public events as well as by the seniors for their activities.

The contract with the Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park for the use of the boat landing area of Civitan Park is a continuation of a similar contract between the city and island park that has been in place since 2008.

Six years ago, the island park requested to use the city’s property during construction on Parkersburg’s Point Park and has continued to keep the agreement in case the need to use Belpre’s landing arises.

Belpre has had a contract with the Washington Soil and Water Conservation District since 2005 for the services of storm water specialist Kathy Davis regarding city ordinances for construction site and post construction legislation regarding stormwater and runoff.

In the past, Belpre Safety-Service Director Dave Ferguson has said the work Davis and the district provide is necessary and well-worth the cost.

In other business:

* The final reading of a resolution to support the National Church Residences application for low-income housing tax credits was approved.

In January, a representative of the Columbus-based organization presented a proposal asking the city for support in requesting federal funding for a $7 million enhancement project for the Putnam Howe Village at 711 Belrock Ave.

* City Auditor Leslie Pittenger requested council’s finance committee hold a meeting before the Feb. 24 council meeting to discuss the 2014 permanent appropriations.

“We do need to get moving on this and we need as many members of council to attend so we all know what funds are needed where,” said council President Will Neff.

The permanent appropriations are annually approved by council and map out the budget of what the city expects to purchase and where the available funds go in each city department. The legislation must be approved and in the office of Washington County Auditor Bill McFarland by the end of March.

The finance committee will discuss the budget at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 24. Council will meet immediately following at 7:30 p.m.

* Council was joined by members and leaders of Boy Scout Troop 117 from Lubeck who attended the Belpre City Council meeting Monday evening to fulfill one requirement for the communications merit badge.