Baltimore Council members respond to Mooney letters
This letter is in response to the numerous inaccurate statements set forth in the letter appearing in the January 20, 2007 edition of the Beacon, written by Dave Mooney of Baltimore, Ohio.
The stated salaries for the Village Administrator and Village Service Superintendent are not accurate. The amounts stated by the writer represent the maximum possible salary for each position's salary range. Neither the Administrator nor Service Superintendent currently receives the maximum possible salaries authorized by the employee pay plan. Further, the amounts stated fail to indicate that the current Administrator receives a salary for her duties as Village Administrator and an additional salary for her duties as Zoning Administrator. In addition, the salary for the position of Service Superintendent resulted in a financial savings to the Village, in that the creation of the Service Superintendent position resulted in the elimination of three separate superintendent positions, for the Street Department, Water Department and Wastewater Department.
The assertions of the writer that the Administrator attempted to thwart the writer's previous efforts to have the Beacon publish a letter from the writer, are similarly inaccurate. In previous correspondence from the Administrator to this newspaper, the Administrator simply and accurately responded to specific questions asked by a Beacon reporter as they related to the project proposed by the writer, and to funding options for the proposed project.
The assertion of the writer that the Administrator is unwilling to attempt to obtain free grant money for Village projects is also inaccurate. First, the Village Council, and not the Administrator or Service Superintendent, is responsible for reviewing and approving legislation authorizing the Village to apply for grants, including grants for infrastructure improvements and construction. Second, the Village has attempted to explain to the writer that there are no free grant monies available for infrastructure projects similar to that proposed by the writer, but only matching funds at best. The funding sources for grants for any infrastructure project in the Village are limited. One source is the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) program. This program funds infrastructure such as roads, bridges, stormwater, water and wastewater projects for cities, villages and townships in six counties. Projects are chosen on a point system, and priority is based on project need, how many residents would be served by the project, and the cost of the project.
In addition, new projects such as that proposed by the writer require a 50% local contribution, that is, money from the Village. The preliminary estimate for the cost of the project proposed by the writer is $663,900, with one-half of this cost, or $331,950, having to be paid by the Village. Further, the Village already has a lengthy capital improvement plan, prioritized for projects for future funding.
Another funding source for grants is the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) TRAC program. This program funds major road construction projects only, such as the U.S. 33 and S.R. 161 projects. The ODOT Small Cities program funds road and safety projects for small cities with a population of at least 5,000. The Village of Baltimore does not currently qualify for funding under either of these programs.
Additional statements by the writer imply that the Administrator and Service Superintendent are in some fashion personally responsible for the writer's inability to obtain Village approval for the writer's proposed project. Such statements are both unfounded and inaccurate. In addition, such statements demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of the decision-making authority of either the Administrator or Service Superintendent. The Village has considered for a number of years a Southeast Corridor project which would connect S.R. 158 to Holder Road for the first phase, and then connect Holder Road to S.R. 256 for the second phase. This project was first discussed by the Village long before the hiring of either the current Administrator or Service Superintendent. Further, this project was included in the Village's 2004 Land Use Plan, a plan developed by a steering committee made up of a cross section of Village residents, school district and business representatives, and Village officials.
The Southeast Corridor project considered plans submitted by the Village Engineer, and took into consideration various issues, including future projected development, population, traffic circulation, and use for a 50-year time period. Upon a consideration of all of these and other factors, it is clear that the Southeast Corridor project, rather than the writer's proposed project, would better serve the overall best interests of the residents of the Village. Contrary to the writer's implications, the Village Council and not the Administrator or Service Superintendent, is responsible for reviewing and ultimately approving any such project or land use plan.
As legislative representatives of all of the citizens of the Village, the undersigned Council of the Village of Baltimore supports the hard-work, diligence and professionalism of both the Village Administrator Marsha Hall and the Village Service Superintendent Dennis Rose.
Robert Hankison Jim Hochradel Tony House Chuck Keller Judy Landis Dwayne Mohler Council Members, Village of Baltimore