Smithfield council looks to fill seat

SMITHFIELD – The council seat left vacant by the resignation of Geordie Lindsay at the end of 2012 remains open on Village Council, Mayor Ted Boyd noted at Tuesday’s meeting.

One applicant expressed interest but would not be available to serve full time currently due to a schooling conflict until June.

Council member Nikki Pflugh expressed the need for someone to fill the seat now.

“That is a long time to wait to fill an open seat. We are limping along right now because of the vacancy. We need to advertise again for applications from interested parties,” she said.

Council member Pat Freeland expressed the same thoughts, and council members approved.

Applicants have until the April 2 council meeting to send in resumes or drop them off at the City Building, it was noted.

A utilities report by Ron Saxon brought on a 20-minute discussion over an 11-day period – from Jan. 17 when until Feb. 1, when the village read meters – that the board of public affairs should have been able to collect water payments. That’s when the county took over billing for water. Freeland said it was understood that attorneys would work out the details, so it was tabled.

Another part of the discussion was the fee the board of public affairs approved at an earlier meeting to be paid by sewage users if they required their tanks pumped a second time within a brief time period because they had not maintained their systems.

Freeland told the public affairs department it could not make a resolution concerning sewage, as it comes under the jurisdiction of council.

Pflugh said there should be a meeting of the council utilities committee and the public affairs board to see if they wanted to have a utilities administration.

Debbie Coconaugher, fiscal officer, asked board members if they knew they were not responsible for sewage, and the members said they did not know.

Barbara Harrah, public affairs member, said the department should be dissolved if the utilities department can take care of the business.

It was agreed that both departments sit down and come to a solution.

Coconaugher and Pflugh thanked Saxon and Doug Wilson for coming in at 3 a.m. to take water samples. Also, Wilson was thanked for taking off hours during the day in snowy weather to plow early in the morning and not using overtime. Both men were responsible for repairing council’s meeting room when the ceiling tile fell down, due the wall on the previously burned lot falling against the City Building.

Coyote problems were brought up Saxon, and police Chief Bob Mieczkowski was called upon to discuss the situation.

“If they are not a detriment to people in the village, I don’t like to do anything about getting rid of them. If we become overwhelmed with their numbers or pets are being killed then we can do something about it,” he said.

Pflugh said coyotes can be shot anytime and there are hunters taking care of some of the problem.

Council member Terri Barath said there has been a problem with individuals with dark clothing and wearing hoods pulled up over their heads going to doors and asking to make telephone calls or asking to be driven to a certain destination. Council members said the situation should be investigated.

Councilman George Harrah reported on a talk with Jim Huggins, a representative from AEP, about reducing the cost of operating the village street lights. He said LED lights would cost more at first but a rebate would be received and the LED lamps would lower electricity costs in the long run and give brighter light.

Huggins said there are many old light fixtures that need updated.

Barath reported the former Mortland Building will be torn down now that the asbestos has been taken care of.

“The house will be one of the first of 12 houses of the 28 in the county to come down,” she said.

Barath also reported that due to the village paving High and Tanner streets in 2012, it would be unlikely a request to have the stadium bleacher structure torn out at the recreation complex this year using Community Development Black Grant program funding would be granted.

“We were told to put in the request in in the event there was money left over,” she said.

Council members were notified of a council training session at the Eastern Gateway Community College the latter part of May that must be attended once every four years.

Pflugh asked for donations of candy for Easter eggs, hot dogs or gifts for the community Easter Egg Hunt planned March 23 at the recreation complex at the pavilion. A local 4-H club will be filling and hiding the eggs for the community project.