Bellaire administrator clears the air

BELLAIRE Thursday’s Bellaire council meeting was its first post-election.

Newly elected council members Donny Maupin and Bob Koteles were in attendance, as were two candidates who were defeated in Thursday’s races, Dan Brown and Nancy Raeder.

All appeared ready to continue moving forward.

But first, Village Administrator Dan Marling needed to clear the air about some political rumblings he’d heard about during the last month or so.

“I didn’t think I’d get caught up in the politics as much as I have, but the last 30 days have been difficult for me in my position,” Marling began. “I’m a little disappointed by some of the things that have been said about my position and how we do business.”

Marling noted that everything he and his department have done is within Sunshine Laws, it’s posted in the paper and discussed about on the council floor. However, vehicles has been one issue apparently.

Marling noted the enterprise funds of the village has 19 vehicles in its fleet.

As the village doesn’t have a mechanic in its employ, a lot of that fleet of vehicles have slowly deteriorated for various issues. In addition, two of the vehicles were badly burned in an arson fire.

With only 20,000 budgeted for vehicle replacement, Marling and the guys in his department did their best to try to get as much replacement for their dollar as they could.

He was able to purchase a 1997 Chevrolet Blazer and a 2008 pick-up off a dealership in town for cash, along with a trade of the village’s former 1-ton dump truck and two old stop lights on trade.

For the money, Marling obtained two vehicles, a snow blade and a salt spreader, items badly needed for the upcoming winter months. He challenged anyone who might be doing the same to get as much return on that short of funding.

“I’m not trying to take this personal because I know it was a political cycle, but if anyone has any questions, just ask,” Marling said. “I have an open door policy. We have nothing to hide here.”

He also discussed the waterline project in West Bellaire, particularly on Frazier Avenue. It’s currently on hold, waiting for EPA permits to be given to the village.

“I’m disappointed in how Frazier looks. It looks like a bomb went off. But because we’re a governmental entity, we have a process to follow.”

The plan is to replace a 2-inch water line with a 6-inch and install a new fire hydrant. Frazier currently is without a hydrant.

Police Chief Mike Kovalyk asked if the replacement will improve the water pressure in the area.

Mayor Vince DiFabrizio noted that while it won’t boost the top-end pressure level, what it will do is increase the volume, thus balancing out pressure issues. Now, if more than a few people are using water at the same time, other customers won’t see a major drop in pressure as levels will remain consisent with the increase in line size.

DiFabrizo, who was re-elected to his mayoral position Tuesday in a race with Brown and former councilman Rickie Parker, wished again to thank the citizens of Bellaire for trusting his leadership and casting their vote for him.

Councilman Jim Williams, who was also re-elected Tuesday, noted that the village has had two recent meetings with representatives from the oil and gas industry about leasing the mineral rights to village-owned property. Williams noted the town has between 65-70 acres to lease and noted talks are progressing, meaning some much needed funding could be coming Bellaire’s way.

Councilman Jim Piatt told council that the village’s personnel committee will be meeting Monday, Nov. 18 at 10 a.m. The topic of discussion will be appointments to the recently created historical landmark committee.

The next meeting of Bellaire village council will be Thursday, Nov. 21 at 6 p.m.

Hughes may be reached at