Powhatan council considers building expansion

POWHATAN Village Council held preliminary discussions about an addition to the municipal building and a flood plain administrator. They also heard several complaints from residents and held an executive session during Tuesday night’s council session.

Council members were stunned to hear the cost to construct a proposed addition to the municipal building which would house the police department. Tentative floor plans were shown by Councilman Dave Walters, who noted his shock when he was told the addition would cost an estimated $200,000, and the cost could reach as much as $300,000. Walters said work already done by the architects will run about $40,000. Council plans to apply for a grant to help defray the cost of the architectural phase.

If the proposed plan moves forward, the police station, as currently drafted, would be attached to the back (north) side of the municipal building.

Mayor Mark McVey reported that Requests for Quotes sent out for a flood plain administrator had resulted in two replies. He indicated he would recommend one of the applicants for the job, but noted Solicitor Charlie Bean will first review the matter.

Interim Police Chief Rich Young told council that all accessories, with the exception of the light bar, for the new cruiser have arrived.

It was noted that the old cruiser needs a starter switch, and Councilman Brady Dierkes moved to have one purchased and to sell the vehicle since it is no longer needed by the village. Council unanimously agreed.

Representatives of the River Youth Football Association approached council about bleacher repairs at the football field. Rob and Kristen Modra sought and were granted permission to do work on the structure. According to Rob Modra, he received an estimate of about $3,000 for lumber. He indicated it was a discounted rate. Modra said the association hopes to get donations to pay the cost of repairs.

Mellott Street resident Louis Krempasky told officials the “No U- turn” sign at the intersection of Mellott and Ohio 7 is “down again.” He indicated this is the second time in recent months. Krempasky voiced a complaint that in making the sharp U-turn, motorists are displacing the soil and killing the grass in his front yard. The area is not wide enough to turn from the southbound lane. He also noted the speed at which some vehicles travel down that portion of the street, and his fear that someone will be hit.

It was suggested that the signs are being stolen and the solicitor noted that if signs are being stolen, then federal and state laws are being broken. McVey told Krempasky the sign will be replaced by the street department.

In another complaint about speeding, resident Andrea Siburt said vehicles are “flying up Main Street” at 80 mph during the late night hours. Chief Young was told to watch the area and arrest the offenders.

Resident Ryan Lee brought several complaints to council. He questioned the legality of the “huge coal pile” at the south end of town and complained about coal dust along Ohio 7. Councilman Jerry Binni noted that Murray Energy is bound by Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

“If something could be done [about the coal dust], it would be appreciated,” said Lee. Dierkes said he has called the mining company about sweeping the highway, but has received no return call.

Lee again broached the subject of his property on Industry Street. He wants the village to install a culvert in the ditch along the lot so he can drive a vehicle onto his property. Council told him that if he wants to buy the pipe, the village will install it. However, Lee wants the village to purchase the pipe. As the conversation continued, it grew somewhat heated, reaching a point where the mayor finally pounded his gavel and said, “We’re going to cease debate.”

Council held an executive session to discuss an ordinance, personnel and a contract.