Belpre Council sees new fire truck, approves spending

The Belpre Volunteer Fire Department unveiled its new Engine 2 at Monday’s meeting of Belpre City Council. The new truck should be in service by the end of May. (Photo by Wayne Towner)

BELPRE — A new fire truck was unveiled at Monday’s meeting of Belpre City Council.

The new Engine 2, which was purchased with the help of a voter-approved levy, was shown to council members and the public after the meeting.

Fire Chief Tony Cronin said a few minor equipment installations remain to be completed, but the new truck should be in service in a couple of weeks or by the end of May at the latest. The new unit will replace the department’s Engine 3, which will be placed on backup duties, he said.

Also at Monday’s meeting, council approved all three readings for a resolution regarding $130,000 in supplemental appropriations for 2019. The appropriations were for general government, fire department, street fund and capital improvement line items.

While voting in favor of the resolution, Council member Donna Miller said she had questions regarding one of the fire department items which involved the return of about $10,000 to the company which built the new truck. The city received a nearly $20,000 discount on the cost of the truck on the condition that it was paid off on time, but due to an error somewhere in the process the final payment fell after that deadline. Miller said she wanted the city departments and offices involved to review what happened to find out where the problem occurred.

In answer to questions from the audience, council provided an update on a couple of issues in the Walnut Street and Henderson Court area.

Safety-Service Director Ron Cross said a speed bump on Henderson Court would be removed once the city had asphalt available to make repairs. Council member Joshua Campbell, chair of the streets, sidewalks and storm sewers committee, said the city recently placed new signage in that area restricting large trucks but decided to remove it a short time later until a broader review of the city codes regarding such vehicles could be conducted.

City Law Director Tom Webster said his office has been in contact with a property owner on Walnut Street regarding restoration of a sidewalk that had been removed. He couldn’t provide an exact timeline, but said the property owner should be moving forward on the sidewalk project in the near future.

Council President Will Neff presided at his last meeting Monday after announcing his retirement in April. Neff continues to serve through May 31, but the May 27 council meeting was canceled Monday due to falling on Memorial Day. The next regular council meeting will be June 10.

Neff has served Belpre for nearly 24 years, first as safety-service director and then on council, as an at-large member and as council president.

“It’s been a privilege to serve with all of these people down through the years,” he said.

Neff said the city’s Republican Party Central Committee will have up to 45 day after his effective retirement date to appoint someone to that seat for the remainder of the current year, which is also the end of the current term. Anyone wishing to run for the next full term as council president will have the opportunity to seek placement on the general election ballot in November, he said.