Bellaire enters lease with Gulfport Energy

BELLAIRE-Village Council passed several pieces of legislation during Thursday night’s meeting.

The most critical of these was an ordinance Mayor Vincent DiFabrizio signed into effect which will put the Village of Bellaire into an oil and gas lease agreement with Gulfport Energy Corp.

“I want to thank Gulfport Energy Corp. for stepping up to the plate here because we advertised this for five weeks and nobody else applied, except for one corporation,” DiFabrizio said. “I really appreciate Gulfport for what they’ve done for the Village of Bellaire.”

The state has taken approximately $240,000 from the village and wants to increase this amount by 4 percent. The lease which DiFabrizio signed will provide the village with approximately $450,000, depending on the gas and oil rights that the village owns. The difference can go a long way in helping the village with expenses in 2014.

Solicitor Joe Vavra also thanked Gulfport Energy Corp. for its offer when he addressed the council. “It was really excellent for Gulfport to step up and do what they did and make the offer that they did. I think it will really help the village,” he said.

Vavra stated that he reviewed the lease himself and thought the offer to be very generous. “I thought the prices and provisions in there were at the upper-end of the industry standard right now in Belmont County,” he said.

Vavra also addressed that he plans to meet with the Belmont County treasurer regarding the issue with village property taxes being owed.

In addition, the council passed a resolution concerning the Ohio Public Employees Deferred Compensation Program, which has already been approved by Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Under the program, eligible employees of the Village of Bellaire will have to option to invest in a program similar to a 401(k) plan. As a deduction based program, it will come at no expense to the village nor will it affect the taxes of the eligible employees.

Two other ordinances were also passed during the meeting. One creates the position of Wild Animal Removal and Control Officer under the control of the Office of Code Enforcement. The other ordinance concerned adopting a provision of the Ohio Revised Code which allows for alternative methods of collecting court costs.

For undisclosed reasons, Council Member Lou Ann Bennett did not attend Thursday’s meeting.

Council also wished to extend its sympathies to the family of Chuck Hollingshead, who passed away on Wednesday.

The Hollingshead family has been a part of Bellaire since the 1830s.

Scott can be reached at