Council business: hearing complaints, handling finances

BELLVILLE — Village council carried on with routine business matters this week.

But two unexpected items came up.

Two village residents brought a complaint to council in the early minutes of the meeting, when council can accept comments from the public. Randy and Tiffany Wuertz told council a resident is technically operating a business out of his garage, on a residential street. That would go against zoning laws.

No action was taken on that complaint.

At the end of the meeting, following the second executive session, Mayor Teri Brenkus put in a request for “consent to remove” village fiscal officer Brigette Gatton.

Council information read: “At the conclusion of Executive Session, Mayor Brenkus made a request for consent to remove Brigette as the Fiscal Officer (without cause). Council took no action and immediately acted on a motion to adjourn.”

Neither Mayor Teri Brenkus or fiscal officer Gatton would comment.

Council meeting had two executive sessions. Those are closed to the public and the press.

Brenkus’ request concerning Gatton will be “dead” unless that matter is brought up again, said council member Jason Guilliams.

Gatton will have been fiscal officer for 10 years in April.

In their appearance, Randy and Tiffany Wuertz said their concerns involve a residence on Huron Street. The person who lives in this residence has a detached garage and told others he was interested in doing work for “family and friends,” said Tiffany Wuertz.

A former council member told them he had counted the number of people using the man’s garage and it was more than three.

The Wuertz duo said parts deliveries had been made to the house on Sundays. They expressed concerns about oil he has been using.

“His oil and everything else. Where is it going?” said Tiffany Wuertz.

She said people who get help from Children’s and Family Services have access to money for repairing vehicles. She said this gentleman has told people who use those services he can’t fix their cars because using money from that group would create a “paper trail” and this gentleman probably doesn’t want that.

In the routine business portions of council meetings, Guilliams told members about key changes that are being proposed in budget matters.

Guilliams is chairman of the finance committee of council. This group has been working a number of weeks to pull together correct information on village financial matters.

The following is a list of items the committee is recommending.

1. Purchase of a new police cruiser. An existing cruiser is in need of $1,400 in repairs.

2. In car computers for members of the Police Department.

3. Bullet proof vests for police officers. Jim Gorman has donated money for those purchases.

4. Changes in the courtyard area to the front of village hall. New doors have been installed and work will be done on a fountain.

5. Changes at Palm Park. Concrete there needs to be repaired and a fire pit will be built.

6. Painting. This involves band stand repairs.

7. A new mower for the parks department.

8. A new leaf machine.

Also, salary increases have been proposed to be built into the budget system.

Guilliams said the idea is to propose numbers that are closer to what people actually use. The idea is to “push back” to department heads the decisions that need to be made on salary issues, he said.

The budget proposals will be a “living document” that will be available for people to see between now and the March 20 hearing date. A wage ordinance and the budget ordinance will be the subject of that hearing.

Council member Josh Epperson told members about changes that are being proposed for the village cemetery.

The village owns a piece of land that is adjacent to the current cemetery, and it is proposed that access to that space be improved. Phase I of that project will be construction of an access road. There will probably have to be storm water basins, in addition.

The cost estimate for that project will have to be determined. Epperson said he has a meeting with people from K. E.. McCartney and Associates, engineers, to figure out costs. The meeting was Feb. 22.

Bellville residents Randy and Tiffany Wuertz, who spoke at Tuesday’s village council meeting. Louise Swartzwalder | Bellville Star residents Randy and Tiffany Wuertz, who spoke at Tuesday’s village council meeting. Louise Swartzwalder | Bellville Star