Bellaire to apply for grant

BELLAIRE – The village of Bellaire received a letter from the Belmont County Commissioners’ office concerning the CDBG grant, for which Village Administrator Dan Marling asked for council’s cooperation to apply.

“We had some discusses in the Utilities Committee meeting,” Village Administrator Dan Marling said. “In speaking with our engineer, we’re trying to figure out the best way to try to get this funding if at all possible.”

Marling explained that currently in the village there are about 20 fire hydrants that do not work. Of these 20, the village has the funding to replace only five through the assistance of an outside contractor. Additionally, 62 village hydrants are in need of repairs. The CDBG grant money, should the village be able to get it, would go a long way in enabling the village to repair and replace a majority, if not all, of the problematic hydrants.

“Some of those repairs are not going to require (the hydrants) needing replaced, but some of them may,” Marling said. “Some of the hydrants are old, and we probably couldn’t get parts for them if we wanted to.”

Council unanimously approved Marling’s request to apply for the grant.

Also addressing council Thursday night was Neffs Assistant Fire Chief Ken Brooks, who is also the fire prevention officer for Pultney Township. In regards to the fire hydrants, Brooks stated that the fire department plans to do a flow test in the coming months, which will determine which hydrants yield the most gallons per minute and which ones do not work or have a low water flow. The possibility of color coding the hydrants based their gallons-per-minute output, as was done previously, was also mentioned.

Additionally, Brooks addressed the issue of false fire and emergency calls. “Over the last several years in the township as well as in the village, we’ve had a couple occupancies who have become nuisance offenders for fire alarm systems,” Brooks said.

He cited Section 505.391 of the Ohio Revised Code, which addresses false alarms in a township. Brooks explained that, according to the ORC, after three false alarms per year, the offending occupancy may be fined up to $300 per offense. After the third false alarm, the occupancy would be sent a notice inform them of the impending fine should any more false alarms occur. “The hopes in doing this is that they get their system serviced and the problem taken care of,” he said.

“I personally have been to the same occupancy eight times in one day,” Brooks stated. “It ties us up. It ties both stations up, and if somebody else has a medical emergency and needs help, either we’re tied up and we’re delayed in getting back and getting the ambulance to them, or they’re delayed in getting help because we have to wait for an ambulance to come from somewhere else.”

Brooks requested that the village consider passing an ordinance in accordance with ORC 505.391, so that they village will be able to fine locations which frequently have falsely tripped alarms.

Mayor Vincent DiFabrizio responded to the request. “What will happen is our solicitor will look that up and do the paperwork (for the ordinance). Then, it will be brought back to council and we will vote on it.”

Brooks also wanted to address the issue of unnumbered apartment buildings in the village, specifically the apartments located on 15th and 17th St. “It’s a problem for us when we show up and we have no idea where we’re going,” Brooks said. He explained that the occupants of the apartments frequently write their numbers on the side of the building or on the sidewalks with chalk, but this is not a good solution because the numbers are easily washed away when it rains.

Currently, the village has an ordinance stipulating that hotels and motels have to have their rooms numbered, but it does not specify the same for apartments. It is likely that this ordinance will be amended in the near future.

Council also:

  • Discussed the maintenance of right-of-ways in the village. Under advisement of Solicitor Joe Vavra, the village has determined that the maintenance of right-of-ways is not economically feasible right now, and as long as the right-of-way conditions do effect portions of regularly traveled roadways or sidewalks, the village will not be held liable for injuries or damages suffered from those conditions. The village stated their repairs would be prioritized accordingly.

– Held a first reading of an ordinance to amend the laws regarding water meters in the village. The second reading will occur at the next council meeting on May 1. If the ordinance should pass, a letter will be sent to all village residents in order to clarify exactly what the amendment stipulates in regards to the meters.

– Declared its support for State Issue 1 on the May 6 ballot. State Issue 1, if passed, will renew the effective bond program for the repair and maintenance of local roads and bridges. There will be no form or tax increase should the issue pass.

– Passed an ordinance establishing the rate of pay for the supervisor ($11 per hour) and clerk ($10.46 per hour) of the village water office.

– Approved the Opening Day Parade for Bellaire Junior Sports. The parade will be held on April 27, and the procession will march from the football field to the baseball fields on State Route 147.

– Acknowledged Dan Brown’s declination to speak at the meeting in regards to event permits and the upcoming Zombie Fest. The office of Dan Brown sent a letter to village officials which was read at the meeting. It said, “I am going to follow my legal advice and respectfully decline your kind invitation pending the review of your new paperwork created to define our festival and our usage of the waterfront for our festival.” Council agreed to forward the new paperwork so that it may be reviewed.

Scott can be reached at jscott@timesleaderonline.com.