BRIDGEPORT - Village council held its first meeting of the year Tuesday night, and the session began with the swearing in of four council members: Marvin Husarik, Ben Lenz, David Coyne and David Smith. Smith was elected president of council.
Council has yet to hire a solicitor and will be accepting letters of interest and salary request to the mayor's office until Jan. 31. Council is also looking to fill the fiscal officer's position. Letters of interest and salary requirements must be sent in by Jan. 31.
Three Bridgeport residents, Dee Dee Schambach, Leigh McConn and Paula Weires, approached council about a black Shar Pei dog that runs loose on Jacquette Street. According Schambach, the dog has bitten three people, and this has been going on since April.
"My great nephew is a mail carrier. Luckily, he is young and can still jump a fence," said Schambach. "A week ago Saturday, he was chased by that dog again, and it has already bitten three people and nothing has been done."
The Bridgeport Police Department has been called before about this complaint.
"I checked the log on that residence because I heard that we are having complaints, and there are no calls from central dispatch with complaints on that address," said Bridgeport Police Chief Andrew Klotz. "I will touch base with the animal shelter and see where they are at. The animal shelter was handling it, and I know once they deem a dog aggressive, they will put a chip in it. I don't know if that has been done."
Two other residents, Chris Tarter and Jim Brubock, both spoke on behalf of the police chief and the police department.
"Mayor, I wanted to bring something to the attention of council. You've seen what we have had in here before as far as police chiefs. We have a police chief now that is ambitious and young. We have a dog with a handler," said Tarter. "(The police department) needs more money. We can't expect to keep him here, people like that. I kind of like the idea he is here, and I think he is doing a good job."
"I think last year they were promised in June they would have a follow up for a chance to add more to their pay," said Brubock. "But when it came up to September, council, for some reason, didn't honor the request for the opening of the negotiations again. This would be a good time this year to get together, work it out and let them have a living wage."
Mayor John Callarik stated that he believes that they will be looking at that this year.
"I'm thinking the same thing, we need more money to keep them," said Callarik.
Bill Davis, a retired Belmont County judge, and Al Smith, a land surveyor, spoke to council about their land group, Eastern Ohio Utica Group. They have entered into leases with land owners and have a proposed lease for Bridgeport.
According to Davis, Bridgeport has 38 acres that could be leased. It would be a five-year lease with the option to renew. Council will look at the lease before making a decision.
Klotz reported that K-9 unit has been working and completed tracks with one ending in an arrest. Santos, the canine, has also done a few vehicle sniffs and found small amounts of marijuana.
Councilman Smith will go to Mayor's Court Training on Feb. 20.
Van Dyne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.