The West Liberty Village Council welcomed employees of Wessler Engineering to their regular Monday night meeting Jan. 23, and heard the company’s initial flood and stormwater proposal. The current water/sewer system was installed in 1947 and consists of cardboard pipes wrapped in tar, sewer mains made of clay and concrete storm drains.
Wessler engineer and project manager Rebecca Scarbrough shared the company’s initial master plan with the councilmembers. Scarbrough considers this plan a necessary tool to determine any drainage needs and develop feasible solutions.
“This conversation started with the flooding of 2019,” fellow Wessler employee Eric Davis said. “That was the catalyst. It electrified the community to the problem. Are we prepared if this happens again? Because if we do nothing, it probably will.”
The council agreed with that assessment.
“We want to figure out ways to address the flooding issue,” Mayor Jill McKelvey said. “And to do that we need studies done.”
Of course, the council also has to consider how the village will pay for it. They discussed possible funding available through the Clean Ohio program as well as grant money. For now, the council has 30 days to review the initial draft before taking the next step.
In other action Monday night:
- The council held a moment of silence in honor of Eric Evans, owner of the Ohio Caverns, who passed away Jan. 12. A memorial for Evans will be held at the caverns on Saturday, April 22.
- In her West Columbus Street bridge update, councilwoman Jayne Griffith said they have a structural engineer coming to look at the bridge and will wait on his feedback before getting additional funding. They’ll pay his $5,000 fee out of money they already have.
Though the bridge committee has discussed making it accessible to golf carts along with pedestrians and bicycles, Griffith determined they don’t have the money for that addition. “We need to do something cost-effective,” she concluded.
- In the continued effort to make downtown West Liberty safer, Bill Detrick, street superintendent, talked with ODOT and determined their best option would be a crosswalk with hashmarks rather than a yield sign. These white markings will be painted onto the street once the weather is warm enough to do so.
- McKelvey learned the village’s 20 flagpoles are supposed to be soaked in linseed oil to preserve them, which hasn’t been done. A couple of them have snapped as a result so the council will look into that.
- Having chosen Civista Bank as the February Business of the Month, the council selected its March nominations: Pop’s Uniquities Antiques, The Gingerbread House and Logan Lawn & Landscaping.
- Solomon’s Garage was named the 2022 West Liberty Business of the Year. The auto repair shop owners, Dave and Katie Neer, received the award Thursday, Jan. 19, and, according to McKelvey, were “shocked and honored.”
- The Logan County District Board of Health is currently accepting resumes for an open seat on the board. Applicants must live in Logan County and can e-mail their resumes to Travis Irvan, health commissioner, at tirvan. This must be done before the District Advisory Council meeting March 23.
- Cindee Boyd, city clerk, shared the encouraging story of a West Liberty homeschool student who saved a man’s life. While at Thoman’s IGA earlier this month, the 14-year-old Boy Scout administered CPR to a man suffering cardiac arrest. Once they’re able to release this young hero’s name, the board will recognize him at an upcoming meeting.
- According to Griffith, former West Liberty resident Michael Layne plans to start a digital Christian broadcast station out of his house. Though he now lives in Indiana, the West Liberty-Salem graduate will center his news and information around his hometown.
“He’s devoted his life to evangelism,” Griffith said, “and will include Christian and wholesome music. But it’s exciting that he wants to focus on West Liberty.”
- The council approved raises for employees—ordinance 2022-18—on its third reading. They also passed the second reading of a similar ordinance for the code enforcement officer’s raise.
- On the recommendation of the Board of Public Affairs, the council passed a water and sewer rate increase of 3 percent (ordinance 2023-02), which comes to an additional $1.82 a month beginning in April. More details are included in the council’s February newsletter.
- Due to not having an ordinance prepared in time, the council voted to pay a part-time weekend employee for the water/sewer department out of contractor funds.
- West Liberty made $12,000 with the sale of a deuce-and-a-half, which will go into a fire department CD (resolution 2023-R5) for a new firetruck. The village now has $52,000, only a fraction of the $750,000 needed for the emergency vehicle.
- On the subject of vehicles, the council also approved the purchase of a Ford pickup truck for Detrick at just under $40,000. His current work truck is missing half of the driver’s seat and has a hole in the floorboard, among other issues.
- Councilwoman Jeanette Zerkle recently attended the January Safety Council meeting, where she learned of money available through a Safety Intervention matching grant. The council discussed potential uses for the funds, like fire turnout gear or radio installation for the aforementioned street department pickup.
- According to councilman Trent Spriggs, the parks and recreation department now has quotes for security cameras in the village’s three parks — Dodge ($3,400), Lions ($4,500) and Sherman Ricketts ($4,600). Ricketts higher cost is due to not having the electrical setup the other parks have.
- Your Hometown Tech Shawn Suter will hold public awareness training for the community at Green Hills Foundation Hall on Tuesday, March 21. This is specifically geared toward helping residents recognize and handle phone and online scams as well as spam accounts on social media platforms like Facebook.
- Weather permitting, a 2023 planning meeting will be tonight (Wednesday, Jan. 25) at Mad River Farm starting at 6 p.m. The meeting will include the village council, the Lions Club and the West Liberty Business Association.
The next council meeting will take place on Monday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m.