by J. P. Miklovic, reporting
North Baltimore Village Government has a new Mayor, nearly new Village Administrator, new Clerk and three new council members and they all met for the first Committee of the Whole meeting for 2016, Tuesday night.
Leslee Thompson, the new Council President, presided over the meeting which included fellow returning members Rich Rose and Art Patterson III, along with the newbies, Ty Carles, Matt Archer and Rick Van Mooy. Allyson Murray who took over as Village Administrator in November, along with new Mayor, Janet Goldner rounded out the leadership at the tables.
In attendance were Village Finance Officer, Chris Kirk, Andrew Patterson, Water/Sewer Administrator, Doug Wickard, Department of Public Works – Street Department, Police Chief Allan Baer, EMS Chief Will Matthes.
No business was reported by several committees, as members begin to learn their roles and duties. The Committee of the Whole meeting is a “working meeting” where discussion and presentations and reports are often given. There is no official passage of legislation. Sometime minor procedural and informational issues are decided.
Public Utilities Committee chair Van Mooy scheduled a water and sewer treatment plant tour for council with Andy Patterson to get up to speed on the state of the system and current work that is underway.
Considerable discussion was initiated concerning Economic Development by Rose and newcomer Carles, along with Mayor Goldner. It was agreed to contact Wade Gottschalk at Wood Country Economic Development and possibly reach out to Hancock County as well. Van Mooy expressed many in attendance’s feeling of disappointment with anticipation of development along with the building of the CSX Intermodal Yard west of town resulting in no substantial development.
There was additional discussion as Carles asked about incentives that the village can offer and the recent and potential expansion of Northwest Water and Sewer in and around the area. The village has a consultant completing a rate study to determine the price to charge for the villages excess capacity, mostly in the sewer department. NWWSD Director Jerry Griener will be addressing council at an upcoming meeting.
Murray reported that the Tree Commission determined that the Fall Planting was short five trees, with some trees planted in the incorrect location. The contractor, North Branch Nursery, will be return in the spring, as the trees were already paid for. The commission will also work on the hazardous tree inventory. The Tree Commission is seeking two additional members.
The village emergency services will be holding a “table top exercise” with CSX to work on emergency response.
Council wrestled with paper trails, printing and distribution of council documents, emails, the cloud and how to archive to meet requirements for public information requests and efficient and effective communications pertaining to village operations.
Murray also handed out, following input from the mayor, packets containing the Standing Rules of Council and Robert’s Rules of Order. She also told council that each must receive three hours of training in the Sunshine Laws. This is available for free online.
Council also learned that a new 100 foot communication tower is needed to replace the drastically undersized 50 foot tower installed several years ago. The cost of the tower is estimated at $95,000. This tower houses all of the village EMS, Fire, Police and Village Services antennae. It is also planned to have the new wireless water meter reader system antenna placed here as well.
Discussion about the potential of placing antenna on the Grant Road and Jewett Street water towers was held. It was mentioned that there is a party interested in razing the Jewett Street Tower, which was improperly engineered (too low) and purchasing the property.
Council will meet in Regular Session next Tuesday, January 19 at 7:30 pm.