Village OK’s two decisions

SMITHFIELD – Village Council approved two resolutions regarding police matters at Tuesday’s meeting.

Council member Pat Freeland asked for a resolution stating the use of mayor’s court funds. The resolution asks that 60 percent be used toward the general fund for the security of persons and property, 30 percent to the state treasurer’s account as mandated by Ohio and 10 percent in a vehicle fund.

It was noted the police department employees have not had a raise nor has equipment been updated for seven years, and based on a review of similar-sized police departments, it was determined that more funding is necessary to maintain an effectively-run department, according to Freeland.

With rules and regulations suspended and the resolution read three times in emergency measure, it was approved by council.

Another resolution regarding the police force was read by Freeland asking for pay raises for Robert Mieczkowski, chief; and Tom Thomas, assistant chief, with the raises adjusted to $50 per week additional on their salaries to reflect the current compensation of other departments; and $8.50 per hour for Casey Robinson, sergeant.

Council approved and passed the resolution with rules and regulations suspended and the resolution read three times in emergency measure.

In other matters, Debbie Coconaugher, fiscal officer and mayor’s clerk, received permission to attend mayor’s court training for new clerks on March 21-22. She told council she was submitting an application for a grant to pay for the training and lodging but wasn’t sure it would be accepted. Council members approved using village funds from mayor’s court for the training if the grant does not come through.

Coconaugher was granted approval to get appropriate Window 8 programs for the clerk computers.

Dick Freeland of the public affairs department reported that due to the weather, the water tank has remained plugged but is not repaired. He reported four water breaks. One of those breaks occurred behind the township garage and the township offered its back hoe and an operator. Ron Malin, township chairman, was present to assist as well.

Other areas with water breaks were near the Tom Straus property, across from Northern Cemetery and at the Thompson residence on High Street.

Freeland reiterated the request from last month’s council meeting that cars not park on the street during snowfall as the snow plow needs to get through. Cars left out will have snow plowed around them, he said.

Coconaugher reminded council and visitors about the open meeting regarding the Smithfield post office is planned at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. Officials are contemplating changing hours at the post office window.

Mayor Ted Boyd reported the burned property on South Street is being cleaned up, with employee Doug Wilson assisting in the cleaning up. He said all Smithfield water users should have received a letter from the Jefferson County Water Department, which is now the official owner of the village’s supply. He said, as noted in the letter, officials will be installing new meters. Councilman George Harrah said the village had agreed to offer assistance, if needed.

Coconaugher said county employees might be asking village employees for help in going to homes the first month but they did have the log with all the water users and their locations.

Harrah, in making a report for Terri Barath, council member who was attending an education seminar, said there could be progress in getting the 28 dilapidated structures in the village taken down.

“We are looking at April to see progress,” he reported after an asbestos survey has been conducted.

He said $70,000 is available for home repair projects in the county and seven or eight can be selected for repairs out of the 10 applications. He also said some of those making application might need help filling out the forms.

In other business:

Council will submit the demolition of the old Smithfield Spartan football stadium at the recreation complex for Community Development Block Grant funding. They will submit a request for $15,000 for removing the concrete seating area and for landscaping upon completion.

Council member Nikki Pflugh reported the Community Easter egg hunt is set for 1 p.m. on March 23 at the recreation complex. The Backwoods Gang 4-H Club will help fill the Easter eggs and hide them as a community service project. Hot dogs and drinks will be provided at the end of the hunt.

Harrah will contact AEP regarding coming to a council or other appointed meeting to discuss ways to lower the electric bill.

Steve Cochran asked about plans for the recreation area this spring and summer, with Pflugh explaining the levy for recreation had failed, so it would depend on money available.