by Sue Miklovic
The North Baltimore Village Council held its first meeting of the month last Tuesday, March 6. Council President Art Patterson was absent due to illness.
There was no “Public Participation.”
A lot of discussion was held on various topics on the agenda. The first thing getting attention: Councilman Aaron Patterson asked for the $250 fee for ball teams to use village ball fields to be waived. “We don’t offer a lot for kids to do” he said. Council agreed to waive the fees. They will also pick up the tab for the food licenses for the concession stands.
Another topic getting a lot of conversation was concerning health care benefits for part-time employees. The Village paid $98,000 for healthcare because of police department employees working more than 30 hours per week. Police Chief Alan Baer presented a letter to Council, along with his usual monthly report, describing understaffing of dispatchers as contributing in part to the issue. He is trying to keep everyone under 30 hours per week, but already has one employee interviewing for another job, and another on medical leave. The three are long time faithful employees who have given many years of service to the community. The village isn’t required to provide insurance for those working under 30 hours weekly.
A highlight of the meeting was the announcement of an ODOT outpost being built just outside North Baltimore to better serve both District 1 and District 2 crews. With the expansion to six lanes on I-75 in both Wood and Hancock counties, the outpost will provide a seven thousand ton salt shed, an equipment storage building, wash bay, truck storage, and a state-of-the-art brine system with 70,000 gallon brine storage capabilities. Construction of the nine acre outpost on South Dixie Highway is expected to begin in May, with completion in Spring 2019. Estimated cost of the project is $5 million, with water service being provided by North Baltimore.
Council debated an ordinance that would approve a zero-interest loan for the design of a new water tower. The design would be good for 10 years. “Some time in the future we’re going to need a water tower,” said Village Administrator Allyson Murray. The ordinance was approved with Patterson the only “no” vote.
*Tabled an ordinance to purchase a street sweeper.
*Approved a contract with Civil Engineering Solutions for no more than $18,000 for a state mandated assessment management plan, to be completed by September 2018.
*Moved to executive session after the adjournment of the regular meeting, for the purpose of discussing employee compensation.
*Were reminded that next week’s Council of the Whole meeting will be held at Hancock Wood Electric at 5:30pm, followed by the Community Neighborhood Revitalization grant meeting at 7:00pm.