Neff’s final Belpre council meeting is May 13

Tyler Norris, right, was sworn in at Monday’s Belpre City Council meeting as a new patrolman with the Belpre Police Department by Mayor Mike Lorentz, center, as his father, Jay Norris, left, watches. (Photo by Wayne Towner)

BELPRE — After nearly a quarter-century of service to the Belpre community, Council President Will Neff announced his plans for retirement at Monday’s meeting of Belpre City Council.

Neff told council he will be retiring effective May 31 as president of council, but due to scheduling involving moving from his recently sold home, his final council meeting will be May 13.

He has served Belpre for nearly 24 years. He was initially hired as safety-service director and then served two terms as an at-large council member, one term as city treasurer and most recently as council president.

“I just have enjoyed working with a lot of the people I’ve worked with down through the years. There are several things we’ve been able to accomplish that I think speak well, not just for me but for all of the people who are civic-minded enough to want to seek office,” he said.

With Neff’s announced departure, council also saw a couple of new arrivals. Karyn Carpenter took over as city treasurer for Drew Smith. She will serve out the remaining seven months of the current year, with the position being placed on the ballot for November’s general election to fill out the remainder of the term.

Jeff Greenley, superintendent of Belpre City Schools, speaks at Monday’s Belpre City Council meeting about the district’s effort to collect public input on its efforts to educate students to better meet future requirements. (Photo by Wayne Towner)

Mayor Mike Lorentz also announced the hiring of a new officer in the Belpre Police Department and held a swearing in for Tyler Norris, who began work Monday as a probationary patrolman with the department. Norris is a Marietta native and Fort Frye High School graduate who served nine months with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office before taking the Belpre position.

Council also heard a presentation from Belpre City Schools Superintendent Jeff Greenley and Treasurer Lance Erlwein. The school district is seeking public input to help guide a shift in curriculum for the school system.

The objective, Greenley said, is to better prepare Belpre students for the jobs of tomorrow. The study will allow educators to determine “how can we prepare students so they can capitalize on the opportunities presented” by changes in technology and the job market, he said.

The information presented was from a report by Battelle for Kids, an educational think-tank based in Columbus. Monday’s visit to council was part of a series of public forums and meetings Greenley is conducting to seek input from throughout the community to develop a “Portrait of a Graduate.” He hopes the input will give the school system a template for the skills and abilities the average graduate should have when they leave Belpre City Schools.

In other business, council’s Economic Development Committee will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, the Streets, Sidewalks and Storm Sewer Committee will meet at 6 p.m. May 1 and the Finance Committee will meet at 7 p.m. May 13.