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Hoblitzell named Belpre safety-service director

Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz, right, introduces Connie Hoblitzell, left, as the new safety-service director for the city of Belpre, effective today, at Monday’s meeting of Belpre City Council. (Photo by Wayne Towner)

BELPRE — The city of Belpre has a new safety-service director beginning today.

At Monday’s meeting of Belpre City Council, Mayor Mike Lorentz introduced Connie Hoblitzell as the new safety-service director replacing Ron Cross, who resigned in August for new employment.

Hoblitzell, of Marietta, worked for over 23 years with the Washington County Building Department. She said she is looking forward to learning more about her duties as Belpre’s safety-service director and is also looking forward to the challenges.

Lorentz said he researched several candidates and consulted with retired safety-service director and councilman-elect Dave Ferguson before interviewing Hoblitzell — also with Ferguson’s assistance — before offering her the job. He believes Hoblitzell has the experience to know what needs doing, without starting from scratch.

In other action, Lorentz swore in four members of the Belpre Volunteer Fire Department as certified fire safety inspectors: Tony Cronin, Jeff Rafferty, William Hale and Wes Hale. A fifth member, Jeremy Crouse, was not present at Monday’s meeting.

Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz, far left, swears in four members of the Belpre Volunteer Fire Department as certified fire safety inspectors, including from left, Tony Cronin, Jeff Rafferty, Wes Hale and William Hale. Not pictured was Jeremy Crouse. (Photo by Wayne Towner)

Cronin, the department’s chief, said each member completed 80 hours of training over five months and passed a test to become certified as fire safety inspectors, a certification which covers the entire state of Ohio.

Council approved two transfers totaling $26,000 from the general fund. Council also approved an advance of $90,000 to cover money paid for slip repair work earlier this year.

The city is waiting for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the funds but that is not expected to occur before the end of the calendar year. City Auditor Leslie Pittenger said the city can’t end the year with a budget deficit so the advance will take care of it until the grant funds are sent to the city.

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