Bridgeport to seek fire levy

BRIDGEPORT – Village council convened Tuesday evening for a rescheduled meeting, addressing a slew of topics, including two which residents may see on their ballot in the coming months.

Council will be holding a special meeting to sign a resolution that will need submitted to the Belmont County Board of Elections by next week’s deadline to ensure it makes the ballot. The meeting will be this Friday at 4 p.m. in the municipal building. The initial reading and passage of the resolution was completed back in May, but will be ready to sign and turn in after this special meeting.

This levy is outlined in Resolution 2013-7 which describes the necessity of levying a tax in excess of the 1.5- mill limitation for fire department operations. Due to ever-changing and rigorous regulations relating to fire equipment, many items need to be upgraded or repaired despite the condition or functionality as they reach end of life. Other expenses include providing personnel and training for the fire and emergency services.

“The current levy doesn’t even pay for the current truck payment which really limits what we can do with equipment, training, and other operating expenses needed to provide the residents with quality service and protection,” Fire Chief Mark Subasic commented.

Another topic which may possibly see the ballot is the Volunteer Energy aggregation participation, which may cut electric costs in the village by up to 25 percent. This resolution was passed to move forward contingent on one stipulation. A template form which was provided by Volunteer Energy was to be sent out to each household. That document, which provides instructions to opt out, essentially includes all households automatically if and when the program is implemented. Instead, council would like to alter this document for an ‘opt in.’ This would allow each household the choice to participate in this program voluntarily, and not automatically be enrolled.

For the last several weeks, John Morgan has been performing in the position of fiscal officer since the resignation of Judy Oberdick. Although unable to attend, Morgan composed a letter to be read to the council informing them of his short term outlook for the position.

Morgan stated that the time commitment necessary is not something feasible to him at this time. Despite accepting the position, he wanted to openly stress his temporary intention until a permanent replacement can be found.

Council President Dave Smith, with surrounding nods to concur, extended gratitude to the former fiscal officer.

“Judy (Oberdick) did a great job for the village, and many thanks go out to her for her service,” said Smith. “Also, a thank you to Mr. Morgan for filling in for the time being,” he added.

A handful of additions to various village departments were considered Tuesday evening. Two police officers will be available to Chief Andy Klotz’s disposal after recently becoming undermanned. Jerry Murphy and Joseph Thorton both received the nod as part-time officers. A third position may be filled at a later time.

Two individuals will be joining the emergency squad. Ty Timko and James Tolbert both are EMTs, one basic and one advanced, respectively.

Six applications were received for garbage packer drivers. A background check on all have been done, and the candidates will be selected within the coming days.

Demolition estimates to tear down dilapidated properties have been received by two companies.

Mayor John Callarik also pointed out that the roof to the municipal building, which also houses the police and water departments, will need addressed in the near future. Patching and work has been done to ensure short-term water protection, but it is only a matter of time before a more permanent solution will be needed.

For the month of June, the village took in $10,220 from fines. Of the 94 arrests and/or citations issued, 61 were paid and added to appropriate village accounts. Following the special meeting this Friday, the next village council meeting will be Tuesday, Aug. 20 at 6 p.m.

Muklewicz can be reached at