Barnesville pondering money plans

BARNESVILLE-The village of Barnesville is preparing to solidify some investment plans for the multi-million dollar oil and gas lease account.

At Monday night’s meeting, Councilman Terry McCort said the committee has narrowed the possibilities down to four potential programs: Huntington Bank, MultiBank Securities, Star Plus and WesBanco.

He said Star Plus has proposed more of a savings program, while the other three can offer portfolios that comply with state and federal regulations for municipalities. Councilman Brad Hudson asked about including a financial broker like Merrill Lynch for comparison, and McCort replied that he would make contacts for their additional proposals.

Village Solicitor Marlin Harper added that investing is a continual process, and the money could move around for maximum benefit. Council agreed that it needs to take action soon, however.

“We have about $10 million of Barnesville taxpayers’ money,” said Bill Knox, economic development director. “The town has been prudent so far. We need to make sure this is an open and transparent process.”

McCort will be inviting representatives from the investment programs to a meeting on Monday, April 29 at 6 p.m. in the village administrator’s office to present their proposals. The meeting is open to the public.

In other action, Fire Chief Bob Smith reported that the fire department has received a $10,000 State Fire Grant and was recently awarded a $6,500 County Medical Emergency Contract. He also invited members to see the new E-Squad vehicle which just arrived. The police department received authorization from council to advertise for a new police officer. Officer Joe Thornton, with the force seven years, is resigning.

Memorial Park has eight new treated lumber benches located throughout the park thanks to Girl Scout Troop #5795. They purchased the benches then assembled and installed them at the recent “BARK in the Park” event. Council noted how successful that even was, with more than 150 volunteers and lunch served by the Barnesville Kiwanis Club.

Members authorized Village Administrator Roger Deal to look for a truck for the park, up to $10,000, to replace the 1995 Ford. He added that the Wastewater Treatment Plant is also in need of a vehicle. Council also approved the preparation and submission of an upcoming county Formula Community Development Block Grant application seeking $48,150.

Deal informed council that all downtown traffic lights are now LED, and over $3,300 in rebates have been submitted to AEP. Resident Tom Michelli agreed that the lights will be good for the town but suggested that the light lenses be cleaned to increase the brightness. Deal said he would look into that.

Council approved two resolutions: #3609 creating Fund B9 for the JEDD II income tax and #3610

amending appropriation Ordinance #3584 to total $455,500.

Fiscal Officer Darla Fuller brought up two proposals for council review. A merchant service called GovPayNet Services would allow the town to process credit cards and receive online payments. Customers could make water bill payments or other designated fees for a minimal charge. Utilities payments may be eligible for another potential service, automatic withdrawal from checking accounts. Fuller will be gathering information on which banks offer this option.

Members approved Pay Ordinance #8 in the amount of $93,290.65, as well as Minutes from the previous council meeting and the April 9 work session.

The Barnesville Village Council meets every other Monday at 7 p.m.

Valenti can be reached at