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Bellaire VFD planning Christmas parade

BELLAIRE — The village Christmas parade is set to occur Nov. 28, barring any potential orders handed down by the state.

While some communities still are mulling whether to have a parade because of the coronavirus pandemic, at least one city — St. Clairsville — has decided to cancel.

Bellaire’s parade is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 28. For the second consecutive year, the parade is being organized by the Bellaire Volunteer Fire Department. Those who would like to sign up their float for the parade can visit the department’s website, bellaireohiovfd.org.

During Village Council’s regular meeting Thursday night, Councilman Mike Doyle presented a letter from Turn It Out Dance Academy that states the academy has decided not to participate in Christmas parades this year, but instead wants to hold its own performance on Dec. 5.

The academy requested a partial street closure to allow its students to perform in public. Council approved closing a portion of Belmont Street between 32nd and 33rd streets for the performance slated from 1-3 p.m. Dec. 5.

In the letter to council, the academy noted it was trying to stay flexible but safe during the pandemic.

“In response to local parade restrictions, TIO would like to replace their annual participation in local prades with a Holiday Celebration in their hometown in front of their studio,” the academy noted. “The holiday parades have always been a great way for TIO to show their talent and enthusiasm while sharing their Christmas spirit through performances. Hosting this short, focused event will allow TIO to continue to showcase their talents in front of spectators.”

Businesses and organizations are also being invited to participate.

In other matters, Treasurer Tom Sable said village officials would need to speak with Police Chief Dick Flanagan about the potential impact on his department’s budget from an apparent decline in fines and fees collected during the past few months compared to last year. Flanagan was not in attendance at Thursday’s meeting, but previously said during past council meetings that crime was down in the village because of the mandatory COVID-19 closures in the state.

Sable also noted that income tax collections are down $70,000 compared to this time last year. He attributed the decrease to Belmont Community Hospital closing last year, along with a decrease in oil and gas companies operating.

“It is a concern,” Sable said, adding the General Fund typically helps bail out the water department fund, which continues to lose money because of faulty meters and water loss issues.

The village is in the process of possibly hiring a company to provide and install new meters for commercial and residential use.

“We knew at some point it would rear its ugly head,” Sable said of the income tax collection decrease.

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