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Belmont’s live tree on the way

BELMONT — Mayor Stan Sobel announced plans to plant a live tree which will be used as the village Christmas tree for years to come

Village Council made the decision to purchase and plant the live tree was during a regular meeting held on November 7 according to Sobel who said the tree would between 12 and 14 feet tall when planted,

“In a few years it’ll be so tall we’ll need a crane to decorate it,” Sobel joked.

Sobel also discussed other upcoming holiday events in the village, saying there would be a craft show in the Belmont Gymnasium on December 7 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

He went on to say that the village’s annual Breakfast with Santa would be held on December 14 from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m., with the tree lighting taking place that evening at 6:30 p.m. Belmont resident and veteran Ed Blon will have the honor of flipping the switch.

“Everything is free unless you want to buy something from the craft show,” Sobel said of the Christmas events.

In other matters, Sobel said the Belmont County Ohio Public Works Commission Subcommittee rated Belmont’s application for a $450,000 paving project number one in the county.

Sobel went on to explain that the rating doesn’t ensure that Belmont will get the grant, but that it is definitely a positive sign.

“The plea was that we will never ever have a project as big as some of the larger communities, but we have a high need,” he said.

During previous discussions on the matter it was revealed that the applications for OPWC Grants are scored favors larger projects which can make it difficult for smaller communities to compete.

The final determination on the grant will be made in Columbus some time in December. Sobel said the village has been planning financially for the past year to take on their share of the project should the grant be awarded which will include a no-interest loan, as well as a $117,520 match from the village.

Sobel confirmed that council held the second reading of an ordinance adjusting water and sewer rates in the village at the November meeting adding that the final reading will be held during the next meeting which is scheduled for 7 p.m. December 5.

Sobel said residents with questions or concerns with the adjustment should attend that meeting.

During the October council meeting, Fiscal Officer Ricky Burkhead explained the proposed rate increase would see a water and sewer customer using 5,000 gallons would realize an increase of $14.50 versus the current rates with $2.00 being the amount being added to the base charge and $12.50 being from the rate increase. Sobel said that 80% of village water customers use 5,000 gallons a month or less.

The rate adjustments are part of an agressive plan to save the village $406,000 in interest payments by refinancing a USDA sewer project loan through WesBanco.

Sobel said village officials hand-delivered 42 fruit baskets to veterans living in the village in honor of Veteran’s Day on November 11, and thanked Riesbeck’s and International Fruit for donating nine boxes of fruit to the cause.

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