BARNESVILLE - After a public hearing session before the council meeting, members have delayed the vote for the new Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) with Warren Township until the June 4 village council meeting. Questions arose about income tax calculations for some of the workforce in the proposed district, and some people are still calling for the elimination of all residential construction and use within the specified district. When the second draft of the agreement included this clause, the Belmont County Commissioners pulled nearly half of the acreage, the county-owned former Children's Home site, out of the package. Council members and township trustees agreed that the property was important to attracting business and took the clause out.
The disagreement rests in whether village dollars should provide sewer service to residents in the JEDD to the possible exclusion of neighbors outside of the district when the purpose of a JEDD is business and job development. However, there is also a process available to re-draw the district later and remove the property in question should a residential development proposal come up.
T.J. Jefferis, who owns property within the JEDD area, says his development opportunities are hampered by the lack of infrastructure and has recently had to turn away four out-of-state companies looking for building sites. "All I want is a yes or no at this point. A yes, or a no"
T-L Photo/GLYNIS VALENTI
Barnesville Fire Department hosted the JEDD public hearings immediately followed by the village council meeting. Council members, from left, include Terry McCort, Bill Stottler, Brad Hudson, Mayor Ron Bischof, Dale Bunting, Tony Johnson, John Jefferis, Village Administrator Roger Deal and Fiscal Officer Darla Fuller.
Current sewer construction costs are proposed to be split among the Village of Barnesville ($50,000), Belmont County ($50,000) and private sector money ($110,000) .
Council did give the unanimous go-ahead to share a new police officer with the school district, where he or she will be utilized as a resource officer. "I think this will make a difference. He can be an authority figure and a role model," says Barnesville Councilman Brad Hudson.
According to Hudson, who is on the safety committee, the topic has been coming up for years, but the village and district have decided to move forward. "Things are different now - various communications through Facebook and online sites, increases in drugs," notes Hudson. "It will be good for us to partner with the schools, and the village will have an additional officer during the summer and for vacations and emergencies. I have high hopes for this."
Village Administrator Roger Deal informed council that a pre-bid meeting for the Eastern Ohio Regional Industrial Park waterline project will be held on Wednesday, June 6 at 1 p.m. in his office. The bid opening will take place on Monday, June 18 at 2:30 p.m. at the Belmont County Port Authority office, 101 Market St., Suite J in St. Clairsville.
Thomas Michelli commented that the FFA students "did a great job" on last weekend's annual "Hoot & Holler" event held at Memorial Park.
Meeting minutes were approved as were Pay Ordinance #11 in the amount of $99,072.23 and an additional $16,971.85.
Barnesville Village Council meets every other Monday at 7 p.m.
Valenti can be reached at email@example.com.