Mayor Nathan Frisch called the March 12, 2020 Village of Attica Council meeting to order at 7:38 PM.
Roll Call: Lynn Love, George Yakoubian, Ed Treft, Louie Sanders, Kirk Stanfield* *Mr. Stanfield exited the meeting at 9:38pm, prior to meeting adjournment at 10:26pm.
Approval of Warrants: Motion by Councilman Yakoubian, seconded by Councilman Sanders to approve the warrants for payment. Vote: 5-0. Motion carried.
Approval of Minutes: Motion by Councilman Love, seconded by Councilman Yakoubian to approve the minutes. Vote: 4-0, with Councilman Sanders abstaining. Motion carried.
Written & Oral Communication: Resident Sarah Flacke was present to ask for a payment plan for her utility bill. She recently moved into an apartment and wasn’t aware that the toilet was broken, causing a bill of over $700. She was looking to pay a weekly amount, if approved by Council. She is currently without water and has already paid $300 of the bill. Some discussion was had on how it is the landlord’s responsibility to fix the broken toilet. It was also asked when she moved in (September) and how much her regular bill is (around $60). Flacke was asked if she knew how to avoid the issue if the water was turned back on. She said yes. Councilman Yakoubian advised that payment plans have been agreed upon in the past, and advised that if the terms were not met, there would be penalties assessed. After some discussion on what was feasible, it was decided on $25 per week.
Motion by Councilman Love, seconded by Councilman Treft to approve a payment plan for Sarah Lackey on the remaining $419 of her outstanding utility bill, $25 per week on Fridays, starting Friday 3/20/20. Utility Billing Clerk, Sheryl Hamilton, asked about the sewer portion of the bill, citing she needed clarification as in previous agreements. After discussion on the sewer portion of the bill, Councilman Love amended the motion.
Motion by Councilman Love, seconded by Councilman Treft, to approve a payment plan for Sarah Lackey on the remaining $419 of her outstanding utility bill, $25 per week on Fridays, starting Friday 3/20/20, and adjusting off the $182.20 sewer portion of the bill. Vote: 4-1. Councilman Stanfield voted no, stating “it’s a raw deal.” Motion carried.
Tim Bowerman of the Seneca East Baseball Club was present to ask if some sort of fence or barrier could be put in place along 224 where the old wooden fence had been. He stated that it’s a safety hazard, and there needs to be something there to stop kids from running into the road. VA Martin advised he can ask Charlene with SRPC about a park grant. Councilman Love asked if another split rail fence would be acceptable. Bowerman said it would. Options will be explored.
Bowerman also stated that when lights are fixed at the ballfield, the trucks drive over the field and cause ruts that are not easy or inexpensive to fix. He asked if the trucks could please be considerate of the field. VA Martin advised he was present during the repairs last year, and he did his best to make sure the ground was still frozen, but that he was also at the mercy of the repair company. VA Martin also stated that Bowerman had requested stone for the driveways, and he was already getting that set up to be dumped. Bowerman asked if the dumpsters would be set up the same as last year. It was confirmed, yes.
Glea Herr was present to ask about the status of the pool. She had read comments that it might not be opened this summer, because the cost of water and other things to keep it going. She asked not to penalize the kids in town because of a water leak last year. Herr also stated she thinks the daily admission should be lowered to $3 daily and $2 for seniors. Councilman Yakoubian stated that the pool was part of a deeper issue, citing figures from the pool report showing a loss year after year. Resident Kelly Shock rebutted that it’s always lost money and the town needs the pool. Councilman Stanfield pointed out that that’s why we have a levy to help fund the pool. He also agrees that the daily admission is too high. Councilman Yakoubian stated that we lose money on every person who comes in now at $5. He also brought up the idea of a splash pad instead of a pool. It was asked how much water was used and what was paid. VA Martin advised that he didn’t have the number of gallons used with him, but the cost to produce was around $5,995. Further discussion was had on the cost of the pool and using the park levy. Mayor Frisch stated that if we ran the pool like a business, it would have been closed a long time ago, but the pool and the ball fields are the only things for kids to do during the summer in town. Frisch also put the question out that many kids coming to play ball are from Venice and Reed Townships, and could there be a possibility of making a parks district. Councilman Stanfield agreed. Tim Bowerman also suggested a fundraiser. Resident Kelly Shock asked where the levy money goes if not to the pool. Mayor Frisch advised that it goes not only to the pool but also the parks in town. VA Martin advised that he isn’t sure each year how much the pool will need. There is a pool filter that is questionable every year, and the last quote he received to replace it was around $26k. Councilman Yakoubian advised that we just can’t wait until it’s too late to make plans for the pool.
Resident Scott Dorris stated that we’ve been talking about the 1% income tax for a while but nothing has happened. He said that could help the pool, too. Dorris stated we need some sort of police protection, because traffic and other things have been getting worse. Councilman Yakoubian advised we need to pass our budget for this year and look into that and other things. Dorris stated that if the income tax was used in the right way, he would support it. Resident Kelly Shock supported the income tax would be fair. Glea Herr asked why the tax wasn’t voted on, and Mayor Frisch replied that Council needs to discuss and make the decision as Council. He also stated that originally he wasn’t in favor of the tax until he learned more about it. It won’t tax social security, and that’s what changed his mind. Further discussion was had on Council needing to find out more information on the tax, and it was requested that the representative from RITA be asked back to find out more.
Public Safety: FO Gullett advised the phone/fax lines for the police department have been canceled. We can add them back in the future, if needed. This was voted on in the meeting prior.
Streets & Properties: VA Martin advised that they will be fixing potholes as soon as the weather permits. Cold patch has already been purchased for it.
Parks: Nothing further than items discussed in Written & Oral.
Fire: Councilman Yakoubian reported: had meeting, paid bills. Also asked about hydrant flow testing. VA Martin advised that ISO was there in 2017, reviewed the books, and approved the current information. Councilman Yakoubian asked whether that was before or after the new water plant. VA Martin advised that the water tower affects flow rates, not the water plant, and that was all reviewed in 2017. Mayor Frisch explained about how line sizes and how 6” lines are not generally found unless in a big city maybe. Yakoubian stated that the Village is behind in some rates, and asks why can’t we be better. VA Martin advised that the Village doesn’t do the testing and never has. The only thing they ask is that the Village handles the hydrants during testing. Martin invited the fire department to come out and do testing while they are conducting hydrant flushing. Mayor Frisch stated that this has always been an issue with line sizes. Smaller lines allow flow through water to keep moving and not get stagnant. Yakoubian thinks there is room for improvement. Martin advised the cost is $1M a mile for new water lines.
EMS: Councilman Love reported: had meeting; paid bills.
Zoning Commission: none
Finance & Rule: Cash balance of all funds $ 1,126,510.74. The February Bank Reconciliation was presented for review and approval. FO Gullett provided an update that the Local Government Officials Conference has been postponed until further notice.
Councilman Stanfield gave a phone number for FO Gullett to call regarding refinancing of our 3 USDA loans. Her name is Sherry Loos with RCAP
Councilman Yakoubian stated that the 2020 budget needs discussed. As it stands, there is no flexibility in the budget. There is no built in number for a new hire or VA Martin’s retirement. There is no built in number for Gary’s requested sick pay. FO Gullett advised she can’t make a budget on a lot of guesses and options. These things need to be decided. Yakoubian expressed his opinion that we should definitely not use money from the General Fund to supplement the Water Fund in the event of a new hire. Utility Clerk Hamilton gave an idea that maybe delinquents should have to pay their account in full before water can be turned on instead of just paying the “past due” amount. Yakoubian thinks also that the shut off and turn on fees could be raised to avoid people regularly paying delinquent. Councilman Love will speak with the solicitor on options. Yakoubian also wants to look at current meter replacement numbers and whether that can help with more accurate billing. In terms of the earlier question on retirement, VA Martin advised that he will hang in until we can get the situation rectified. He would like to see through a few things and make sure they are resolved, including changes with the EPA and addressing delinquent accounts. The topic of Gary’s requested sick pay is tabled until the solicitor can be present in the conversation.
Water & Sewer: VA Martin stated that hydrant flushing will be taking place the week of March 30th . Councilman Yakoubian asked that Martin take a look at a fire hydrant on E Tiffin St that has a parking spot in front of it. Utility Clerk Sheryl Hamilton asked for clarification on the payment plan for Ms. Flacke. She wanted to know what Council wished to do with the penalty/late fee. Motion by Councilman Yakoubian, seconded by Councilman Sanders to waive the $49.18 penalty on Sarah Flacke’s bill. Vote: 5-0. Motion carried.
Village Website & IT: Councilman Yakoubian asked if the IT contractor was contacted. FO Gullett advised yes, just waiting on his response to schedule a date.
Unfinished, Old Business and New Business: 3 rd Read of ORD 2020-4: An ordinance establishing rates of pay for Village employees. Motion by Councilman Sanders, seconded by Councilman Love to adopt ORD 2020-4. Vote: 3-1. Councilman Stanfield was not present; exited meeting at 9:38pm. Councilman Treft assumed that the money wasn’t in the budget for the raises after the earlier discussions about the budget. Councilman Love clarified that these numbers were already accounted for in the budget and money is available. Motion by Councilman Treft, seconded by Councilman Sanders to reconsider the vote on ORD 2020-4. Vote: 4-0. Motion carried. Vote will be brought before Council for ORD 2020-4. Reconsidered Vote on ORD 2020-4: 4-0. Motion carried.
xt meeting: March 26, 2020 at 7:30PM
Motion by Councilman Sanders, seconded by Councilman Yakoubian to adjourn the meeting. Time: 10:26 PM. Vote: 4-0. Motion carried
Mayor Nathan Frisch
Fiscal Officer Michelle Gullett