Belpre City Council approves resurfacing project

Tony Cronin, chief of the Belpre Volunteer Fire Department, talks about plans to purchase a new fire truck for the department. Funding for the truck purchase will come from money raised through the emergncy services levy approved by Belpre voters last November. (Photo by Wayne Towner)

BELPRE — Main Street in Belpre, also known as State Route 32, will be resurfaced later this year in a project by the Ohio Department of Transportation and the city of Belpre.

At Monday’s meeting, Belpre City Council approved the final two readings of a resolution approving the project, which will involve milling the surface of Main Street along its length from Ohio 7 to Washington Boulevard and then resurfacing and restriping it.

The cost of the project is estimated at $300,000, with the city’s portion of that cost at 10 percent, or a projected $30,000. The city will also be responsible if any in-depth repairs are needed and will be responsible for curb cuts and similar aspects of the project, officials said.

In other business, council approved the second reading of the 2018-2019 annual appropriations ordinance, setting the budget for 2018-2019. Council member Susan Abdella, chair of the finance committee, scheduled a committee meeting for 6 p.m. Wednesday to review the appropriations one final time before the final reading scheduled for the March 26 council meeting.

Abdella said the city is projecting about $6.7 million in expenses for the year. During the budget preparation process, she said the city’s administration and department heads reviewed it closely and found areas where cuts could be made and others where capital costs or projects could be moved back another year.

The only new addition to the budget will be an administration request to fund a grant writer’s position for $12,000 for the year. Abdella said it is hoped that position will be able to offset its costs by helping the city find more grant funding opportunities and revenue.

Wednesday’s finance committee meeting will also include discussion of the city’s plans for the daytime emergency medical service contract currently held by Pro Care, which expires in May. Other topics will include the planned purchase of a generator for the city’s wastewater treatment plant and the purchase of a new fire truck by the Belpre Volunteer Fire Department to replace an aging unit.

Fire Chief Tony Cronin said the proposed purchase will go before the finance committee before coming back to the full council for a vote. The truck’s purchase is expected to be made from Finley Fire Equipment of McConnelsville through funds generated by the emergency services levy approved by voters last November.

John W. Finley, president and CEO of Finley Fire Equipment, was at Monday’s meeting to answer possible questions from council. He said such trucks are built to order and will take 10 to 11 months to complete once the contract is approved and signed.

Cronin said some of the equipment on the old truck will be transferable to the new unit. The city is required to then put the old truck out for bid, although not much is expected to be received in bids for it due to its age.

Council also approved the first readings of its annual contract with the Washington County Soil and Water Conservation District and the 2018 Manpower ordinance, which sets the city’s manpower limits for 2018. The ordinance will set the number of city employees at 38, of which 37 slots are already filled with the city working to fill an opening in the Belpre Police Department.