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COVID-19 precautions in place in Barnesville departments

BARNESVILLE — Village officials announced departmental plans and procedures to deal with the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, while Mayor Dale Bunting and village council members made arrangements to cancel at least the next council meeting and pay the village’s bills should subsequent cancellations be needed.

Bunting announced Monday that a decision had been made earlier in the day to shut down the park including the Youth Center, the Amazing Playground, and basketball and tennis courts, but that people were free to walk the trail or walk around the park itself. Bunting added that the Municipal Building was open with access to the fiscal office limited to service through the window.

Police Chief Rocky Sirianni said his department, which is headquartered in the Municipal Building, was open and operating 24/7 and that nothing was changing as far service. But requested of the public, “If you don’t need to come in, don’t. That way we can reduce any unnecessary exposures. If you do need us, we’ll come help you.”

Fire Chief Tim Hall said that for now, the fire station is closed to public access except for emergency situations.

“Like Chief Sirianni said, we are open and responding to calls, but we’re taking the highest precaution as far as our personnel goes,” he said, adding that extra care is being taken sanitizing equipment, vehicles, and surfaces.

Village Administrator Roger Deal updated council concerning procedures at the Water Department. The office is staffed and the department is operating as usual, but they are keeping the door locked and having water customers use the night drop to make payments.

Bunting asked that council members accept their role in the crisis at hand, saying, “We had council tonight to let you guys know what we’re doing and what we’re trying to do so you can inform the public. You guys are part of this, too, and can let the community know that we are trying to look out for them the best we can and make this work.”

Bunting also announced that due to the current uncertain circumstances he was canceling the council meeting scheduled for March 30 and that he needed authorization to pay the bills that would be due at that time.

After some discussion two motions were made and approved, one to authorize Bunting to pay bills up to $200,000 for the next 14 days and another to the same effect for the 14 days after that period has expired, if the situation persists and the April 13 meeting has to be canceled as well.

Bunting assured council members they would still receive their council packets with the bills should they have any questions or objections concerning the bills being paid in response to a question from Council President Scott Gallagher.

Deal informed council that the Ohio Department of Transportation was moving forward with the planning of a Traffic Signal Safety project in the village and that he was pleased it would include the intersection of Main and South streets as well as the intersection of Main and Chestnut streets. At Deal’s request, council approved a resolution allowing the project to proceed.

Deal also told council that the new dump trucks purchased by the village had arrived, noting that the whole process had taken a year and a half. He thanked council for OKing the purchase.

Deal informed council that due to the mild winter both of the village’s salt bins are full and that they still had 70 tons left to be delivered on their contract with American Rock Salt at a price of $90.31 per ton but that the company had offered to let them off the hook for the remainder if they took a $7.00 per ton penalty.

Gallagher made a motion to pay the $490 penalty rather than pay $6321.70 for the remaining salt on the contract which was passed by council.

Council also approved Deal’s request to purchase 300 tons of salt for next winter.

The start of Monday’s scheduled council meeting was delayed due to the reluctance of Council President Scott Gallagher and Councilman Jamie Betts to enter the Municipal Building due to a Code Red alert that Mayor Bunting had issued earlier in the day announcing the various closures and entrance restrictions in the village that included the Municipal Building.

Councilmen Tony Johnson and Terry McCort were absent from the meeting so the attendance of Gallagher and Betts was needed to have the quorum needed to do business and Bunting had Village Solicitor Adam Myser persuade them to come inside due to the importance of the evening’s business and his not wanting to have to call a special meeting at a later date to get it done.

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