Increased debt a boon for grant app

BELLAIRE Bellaire is carrying more debt as a village currently than at the same point in 2012.

For once, that’s a good thing.

Council passed a resolution during Thursday’s meeting authorizing Mayor Vince DeFabrizio to sign and participate in an Ohio Public Works Commission state capital and local transportation program grant.

The grant totals $497,740, of which $133,459 will have to be paid back during a span of 10 years as a zero-interest loan.

If awarded, it will go toward paving of a number of streets in town.

It’s a mirror image of a grant application the village submitted last year. At that juncture, Bellaire’s grant application was unsuccessful because the village wasn’t carrying enough debt.

According to village fiscal officer Tom Sable, that debt amount is between $240,000-$250,000 this time around, a figure which should play into Bellaire’s favor.

Along with that resolution, the village passed a companion resolution giving Jeff Vaughn of Vaughn, Coast and Vaughn the go-ahead to enter into any agreements necessary to obtain the funding assistance for the project.

Village Administrator Dan Marling reiterated again that he’s seeking direction on whether or not to move forward in replacing the 200-watt bulbs with 100-watt bulbs in a number of lights throughout the city.

The cost is $108.77 per bulb to replace with an estimated total cost of $11,420.85. That money would have to come from the general fund. However, the village would realize a savings of $600 roughly per month. At that rate, it will take approximately 18 months to recover on the investment and start realizing actual savings.

The cost would be spaced out monthly on the village’s electric bill instead of being charged all at once. If the move is made, village residents would not see an increase on the $3 charge they pay to the village for lighting. The village itself would incur the cost.

Police Chief Mike Kovalyk informed council that his department’s new Ford Interceptor cruiser was recently outfitted and striped and is ready for use. The money for the vehicle came for a fund specifically set aside for vehicle purchases for the department. It was also aided when the water department purchased the old cruiser for the water meter reader to use, thus keeping the money in-house.

Kovalyk also reported on a recent town hall meeting he attended in Martins Ferry where State Sen. Lou Gentile served as the keynote speaker.

The chief explained that Gentile made cuts to local government funding and the problems said cuts are creating for local police and fire departments as a main topic of conversation and that Gentile was in agreement with local leaders that something needs to be done in Columbus to help out the local municipalities recoup some of the money they’ve lost.

Code enforcer Bill Swoyer told council he’d handled 10 rental inspections, plus three on Thursday, since the previous meeting. He’s also handled 16 property complaints, cited five people into mayor’s court for failure to comply and issued a number of residential and building permits. Kovalyk commended Swoyer for his assistance in a few issues that have come up recently.

A letter from Dan Brown was read in which he again inquired of council as to its position on use of either the city park, or potential alternate outdoor locations, for portions of the Zombie Fest he is putting on in August of 2014. Brown’s letter stated in addition to indoor activities that will likely take place inside the Plastic Brick and Toy Museum, he’s looking to put on a car show, have outdoor vendors and other activities. He also requested a parade permit to hold a zombie walk. No action was taken on Brown’s request.

However, during the open floor portion of the meeting, resident Andrew Clark got up and spoke in favor of the festival and expressed his wishes that council allow the park to be utilized.

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