BELLAIRE Village Administrator Dan Marling had some good news for Bellaire council Thursday in terms of the village's fleet of vehicles with the service and water departments.
A while back, two village vehicles including a van utilized by the grass cutting crews were damaged in a case of suspected arson.
Original estimates placed repairs at more than $2,000, at minimum, to get the vehicles repaired. Neither had that amount of capital value left in them.
Thankfully, a village employee who does body work on the side was able to complete the repairs for around $1,400 dollars, saving the village money and getting the vehicles back into service.
Marling was also happy to report that the village has a new dump truck, courtesy of a great deal provided by the Ohio Department of Transportation.
The village's old dump truck was a 1993 model and in need of major repairs of replacement.
Through ODOT, the village received a used model that features a DT466 International engine. The village paid $4,500 for the vehicle. Marling noted its capital value is in the $20,000-30,000 range.
"ODOT was instrumental in assisting us with that acquisition," Marling noted.
With the fire and needed repairs to other vehicles in the fleet, the village was down between 5-6 vehicles at one point recently.
That's no longer the case. The village's meter reader has also been afforded the use of the former Bellaire Police Department cruiser that the water department purchased recently.
"We still have two vehicles that will need to be moved around (to other departments)," Marling said. "And we'll also have to start talking about replacing the suction truck."
A used suction truck will run around $100,000 while a new one will come with a price tag double that amount. Marling noted that a solution will likely have to be made part of the next fiscal year's budget.
Marling also showed council the efforts of the Ohio Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP) to digitize and map off the village's utility lines.
Leanne Sliva, a GIS Technician with Great Lakes RCAP, was on hand to talk briefly about the project and Marling noted that it will be a great assistance to village workers moving forward.
Bellaire Police Chief Mike Kovalyk talked about a recent rash of car break-ins that took place in West Bellaire. A number of vehicles were entered and had items removed.
In the majority of the cases, the owners of said vehicles had not locked their cars' doors.
"I've said it time and time again, don't leave your vehicle unlocked," Kovalyk said. "And don't leave important items out in plain sight where someone can just walk by, open the vehicle and remove the items."
Kovalyk also informed council that the annual Awesome Autism 5K Run/Walk, sponsored by the PACE Organization in Bellaire, is set for Aug. 31.
"It's a great cause that's for the kids and we will always support that," Kovalyk said.
Lastly, Kovalyk informed council that a laptop computer that was stolen from the water plant last summer had been recovered and returned from the Belmont County Drug Task Force as its investigation was complete. The person charged with possession of the laptop is currently serving time in a West Virginia prison on an unrelated charge.
Kovalyk returned the to computer to Mayor Vince DiFabrizio.
Bellaire Code Enforcer Bill Swoyer ran down his report for council.
In that report, Swoyer noted that starting Aug. 1 that any rental property that is occupied by a new tenant without first undergoing a rental inspection will be cited into mayor's court with a minimum fine of $100 per day.
Also, the inspection will not be performed until all back money owed on the property's water bill has been paid.
Swoyer also posed to council the idea of, during the month of October, issuing free building permits to help get some of the repair work needed in the village complete.
"I'd like to see all the building permit fees waved in October," Swoyer said. "They would last for 60 days and maybe that will help get people moving on some of the repairs their properties are in need of."
A Jefferson Street resident questioned council on any ordinances related to semi trucks using engine brakes within village limits.
He explained that a sign stipulating no engine brakes is located too close to the top of the on-ramp and trucks are hammering on the engine brakes up until the point they see the sign. It's creating a noise issue, to the point where "the windows are rattling."
Chief Kovalyk explained that enforcement on Ohio 7 and the on-ramps is the jurisdiction of the Ohio Highway Patrol.
Marling will look to see if the village has a specific ordinance and DiFabrizio said the village will look into installing a larger sign further down the ramp to see if that help curtails the problem.
The village's budget hearing at Belmont County Auditor Andy Sutak's office is scheduled for Wednesday at 3 p.m. Councilmen Jim Piatt, Jim Williams and Marling will be in attendance for the village.
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