Belmont brush pile future hazy

Misuse has officials debating a shut down

T-L Photo/LENNY WITTENBROOK Mike Grob, student member of Belmont Village Council, reads a letter of appreciation presented to him upon receiving a $500 scholarship from the village. A non-voting student council member has been a yearly fixture during Mayor Stan Sobel’s tenure.

BELMONT — Village officials are pondering shutting down the community brush pile due to misuse and expense.

The area located at the end of Bridge Street near the village supply shed and J.B. Green Team recycling bins was previously sanctioned by council as a place for residents to conveniently dispose of brush and other yard work trimmings, but Mayor Stan Sobel suggested during last Thursday’s council meeting that it be cleaned out one last time and fenced off to prevent further brush disposal at the site.

Sobel recounted a pair of incidents from the last two weeks in which large branches were left blocking the shed and a wire clipped, for which the village is now seeking compensation.

Sobel noted that it costs the village between $1,500 and $2,000 to have the pile cleared.

“It’s been a year by year expense for us and it keeps getting to be more and more money,” said a frustrated Sobel.

There were several suggestions made including bringing in a wood chipper, further regulating the use of the area to prevent misuse, or finding a closer location to have the material hauled since much of the expense of disposal was due to the distance it was being hauled.

Eventually a Building and Grounds Committee meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, May 8 at 6 p.m. to work on a solution.

Also during Thursday’s meeting, Mayor Sobel awarded Village Council’s Student Representative Mike Grob with a $500 scholarship, commending him for being active and helping with various events in the community while serving.

Sobel also informed council that he was planning on applying again for an Ohio Public Works Commission grant to pave streets in the village, saying that he would be increasing the scale of the project since the criteria used to award the grant favors larger projects.

Sobel said that he had applied to the Belmont Correctional Institution for their lawn care service to do mowing and weed eating in the village next year.

Board of Public Affairs President Kenny Davis informed council that the pavilion roofs at the Belmont Ball Park were leaking and that he had priced metal roofing material for both pavilions at $1967.80 with the intention of village crews performing the installation.

Council approved the purchase from Byler Metals.

Davis also said he had received two quotes to replace two doors and a broken window in the door Belmont Gymnasium and that Allied Plate Glass of Wheeling had the lowest price at $4705.00 which included installation, adding that it would help with heating and cooling costs and Mayor Sobel noting it would fix a potential safety issue in the gym which the village rents out for events and gatherings.

Council voted to approved the expenditure.

Davis also informed council that village wells were producing 64 percent of the water being used by village water customers, with the other 36 percent being purchased from the county.

Davis added that those percentages essentially switch during the dry season.

Davis said that they had been looking into drilling a new well and that a potential site had been located on village property, but in order to proceed with grant applications it was necessary to drill a test well which would cost between $1,500 and $3,000 before council voted to allocate the funds to do so.

Council also allocated $2,500 to repair the surface and reline the basketball court as well as install a new hoop at the Belmont School grounds and approved the purchase of an evidence safe and ammunition locker for up to $500.00 at the request of new Police Chief Andrew Miller.

Council also approved approved fund transfers to account for the splitting of costs incurred while making improvements to the Belmont Gym basement to accommodate the village offices that had to be relocated from the school building.

Additionally, Royce and Virginia Kinney were at the meeting to present the village with 10 volumes of Belmont related archives they had compiled over the years.

Asked about the collection, Virginia Kinney said “Each town, no matter where you go, has such an interesting history. The things that happened that you just couldn’t believe.”

Sobel said the archive is to be kept in the village offices and suggested that those wishing to go through them make an appointment, adding that a special case will eventually be purchased to keep and display the volumes.