Council argues about paving payment
BUCKEYE LAKE – Monday night, a majority of Buckeye Lake Village Council members agreed to pay about half of Chemcote, Inc.’s bid to resurface most village streets following installation of the water distribution system.
Council committees will review questions about the quality of the work before paying the balance of the bid. Most of the work has been completed and Chemcote’s equipment has been removed.
Council member Jeryne Peterson said the village signed a contract with Chemcote, but she wants to know the work was done correctly. She said she read a Beacon editorial raising questions about the repaving job. “I am concerned,” said Peterson. However, she didn’t want the village to totally withhold payment to Chemcote.
Council member Kaye Hartman said she also had questions and discussion points regarding the repaving.
Council member Arletta Ruton said Chemcote is completing its work according to its contract with the village.
Buckeye Lake Service Director Tim Matheny said submitting a pay request to council is a courtesy, and council approval is not required to pay Chemcote’s bill. “They did it right; they did what they were supposed to do,” he said.
Hartman said she would like the service committee to discuss the situation. “I don’t want to pay them until I understand some things,” she said.
Peterson said the village should pay the first half immediately. “We did, in fact, sign a contract,” she said, adding that Chemcote has expenses that must be met.
Hartman was clear that she isn’t opposed to paying Chemcote, period, nor did she say it was a “botched job.” She just wants to discuss the bills and the contract.
Council members agreed to pay Chemcote and M•E Companies $363,326.46 of a total bill of $722,643.10.
A motion to send the first bill to the service committee before payment failed three to four votes. Hartman, council member Donna Thompson, and Council President Charlene Hayden voted to send the first bill to the service committee for review, with Peterson, Ruton, and council members Hilde Hildebrandt and Clay Carroll voting “no.” Following that vote, Carroll, Hayden, Hildebrandt, Peterson, and Ruton voted to approve the pay request immediately, with Hartman and Thompson voted against approving the pay request before sending it to the service committee for review.
In other council news:
• Council members unanimously approved the raises for Buckeye Lake Police Chief Ron Small and Captain James Hanzey as recommended by the personnel committee after Hildebrandt said the finance committee supported the raises. Hildebrandt chairs the finance committee. Small and Hanzey will receive a $1 per hour increase retroactive to June 1, 2010, and then a two percent cost of living increase on January 2011 and January 2012. The raises had already been approved by the personnel committee which Thompson chairs. However, several council members recommended the finance committee review the raises as well. Council members then agreed to have the finance committee review the raises before approving them.
• Hildebrandt said she was “shocked” that someone else should decide what the finance committee should be doing, fol- lowing a rules committee meeting where committee procedures were discussed. Hildebrandt said she objected to a statement that it’s tough to gather a finance committee quorum – the minimum number of members necessary by law to hold a meeting. “You have no idea the hours we (finance committee members) put in on this,” she said.
Baker said a Sept. 20 finance committee meeting including Buckeye Lake Fiscal Officer Vince Popo was “very good” and said he would like the village to hold monthly meetings to discuss the status of the village’s finances.
• Resident Charlotte Basnett said she was concerned about the low turnout at a Sept. 16 block watch organizational meeting with Licking County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Nick Pease. She believes that thefts have been continuing in Cranberry Bay and that it’s important to get the block watches organized.
Hayden said Cranberry Bay resident Marie Ray is leading the block watch there, which has been dubbed “Baywatch.” “Marie is finding a captain for every street,” said Hayden. She encouraged people all over the village to become leaders of a neighborhood block watch. “People need to take the lead,” said Hayden.
Pease explained during the Sept. 16 meeting that a Buckeye Lake-wide block watch wouldn’t work, and each neighborhood needs the establish a local block watch that reports any unusual activity to the Buckeye Lake Police Department or the Licking County Sheriff’s Office.
Basnett added that she agreed with Baker’s comment that the village is improving, but was disappointed with local media for stating the village’s financial audit is “a mess” and casting doubt upon the quality of the repaving work. She suggested that M•E Companies Engineer Jack Christy publicly explain the repaving process to alleviate any doubt. “There should be a reasonable explanation,” she said.
• Christy told council that the village has storm water drainage issues and suggested the village apply for an Ohio Public Works Commission grant to upgrade drainage from North Street north to 6th Avenue. Doing so won’t solve all the village’s storm water drainage issues, but it would help the village be in a better position to address similar issues elsewhere in the village. If the village receives the grant, Christy said 22 catch basins could be upgraded and two new ones added.
Matheny emphasized that applying for the grant doesn’t mean it will be awarded. He said it’s a $500,000 grant that the village would need to match with $100,000 acquired through a zero percent loan.
• The Buckeye Lake Fire Department’s annual Fire Prevention Parade is set for Sunda, Oct. 3. Lineup is at noon with the parade heading up Ohio 79 from the Blue Heron boardwalk area at 1 p.m. Free hot dogs, beans, and refreshments will be served at the fire department following the parade.
• Council members assured the community that the new “Trunk or Treat” event, where local businesses will park vehicles at Ryan-Braden Park and distribute treats from their vehicles, is in addition to the regular Buckeye Lake Beggar’s Night, which runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 28. Residents are free to hand out treats as usual.