Rayland Council working on grants

RAYLAND Village Council recently approved the 2014 budget and also heard about three grant proposals on which work is being done.

Fiscal Officer Rick Soos presented the 2014 budget, which shows total revenues of $196,500 and expenditures of $200,200 with a projected carryover of $20,000. The projected balance is $16,300 in the black.

Village Administrator Rich Bibbo reported he is working on three grant proposals. One involves the modernization of the Warren Street sewer pump station while another is for the replacement/repair of sewer lines through Mazeroski Park, and the third is for repaving Liberty Avenue.

Bibbo explained the estimated cost of repaving Liberty Avenue is between $75,000 and $100,000. He indicated that avenue needs to be repaved because it carries a lot of traffic, and officials don’t want it to get so bad that traffic is rerouted through Main and Church streets.

In other matters, Mayor Tammy Morelli reported she is attempting to get a recreational grant from the Jefferson County commissioners redirected to work needed on the walking track at Mazeroski Park rather than for playground equipment, as originally planned. The grant totals more than $3,000, and that would cover most of the work needed on the track.

An estimate had been obtained from Black Diamond Paving for the work, which could involve resurfacing the walking track, taking out roots damaging the track and repaving that section stretching from the restrooms to the basketball court as well as sealing all the track, which measures a fifth of a mile, and filling the cracks.

Morelli said Black Diamond is backed up with work right now and is amenable to renegotiating in terms of cost and the size of the project in order to work within the village budget.

The mayor reported she is working with the police department on letters to be sent out about junked cars and high weeks. She said the letters will focus primarily on junked vehicles at this time as she thinks that situation is out of control.

Morelli also referred to a matter discussed at council’s special meeting July 1 concerning a resident delinquent on a utility bill because of not paying the streetlight fee.

During the special session, Bibbo reported one resident hasn’t paid that particular fee, and the individual had been sent a notice that if payment is not made, water to that residence would be turned off by the end of this week. The resident who hasn’t paid the fee has protested about it, noting that he pays a fee to American Electric Power for a light on his garage.

Anytime that anyone doesn’t pay the complete utility bill by the 20th of each month, a $10 past-due charge goes into effect.

It was noted during the recent meeting that a car is parked over the water shut-off valve on the property, thereby obstructing village access to a public utility and preventing village workers from turning off the water to the resident.

Morelli said she contacted the sheriff’s office which is willing to send a deputy when the offending car is removed.

The resident not paying the entire utility bill is a renter, and Morelli said she talked to the property owner who told her to do “what you have to do.”

Village officials still are awaiting word concerning the start of the Community Development Block Grant sidewalk project. It was supposed to begin at the end of July, and markers have been painted in addition to flags being placed at various locations in the project area. All bids received for the project, however, have been rejected.

Morelli also said the village didn’t suffer much damage from the July 10 storm. Due to the power outage, the Warren Street sewer pump station was shut down but village officials kept an eye on the situation, and the power fortunately came back on before action was necessary.

Later in the meeting, Bibbo mentioned the possibility of purchasing a generator for the Warren Street pump station for use in times of power outages.

Fiscal Officer Soos said Karen Motto, utility office clerk, has not yet been bonded. This is done on an individual basis not by job title so Motto is responsible for initiating the process.

Soos expressed concern about park expenditures being out of control, noting park costs thus far have been approximately $3,100 with the entire park budget being $4,100.

He also reported the village had received a refund check of $520.95 from Workers’ Compensation as a portion of a statewide premium refund settlement.

Soos advised council that the annual LEEDS bill for the police department will be arriving soon, and it is expected to total about $1,200.

Pokas can be reached at bettypokas@yahoo.com.