Columbiana reappoints 3 to zoning appeals board

COLUMBIANA – City Council this week reappointed three people to the board of zoning appeals.

The only applicants for the open seats were turned in by the three people already on the board; Peggy Oberholtzer, Richard Barto, and Mary Ann Pollock.

Mayor David Spatholt read their brief letters of interest to those at the council meeting before the vote.

In his letter Barto said he believed his background in architecture, engineering and construction make him a good candidate for the position. He has served on the board 10 years and is currently chairman.

Pollock said in her letter she has lived in the city more than 15 years and enjoys serving the community as a board member.

Their current terms expire Nov. 24 and the new three-year term is for Nov. 25, 2013 through Nov. 25, 2016.

The board meets at 7:30 p.m. the second Thursday of each month, but only if a hearing has been scheduled and 15 days notice has been given.

In other business, council also approved emergency legislation to purchase a 2013 International dump truck with front plow and spreader for the street department.

The truck was discussed in detail at the last council meeting, with Street Superintendent Jesse Wilson explaining it is needed to replace the 2001 model that recently had a break in the frame.

The new truck is fully equipped and costs about $127,000 on the state bid. Wilson said on Tuesday the truck will be available to the department by Thursday.

It is being paid for out of the city’s capital improvement fund, which was at $718,000 last month.

Council members already agreed to buy the truck at the last meeting but the emergency legislation was needed to make the decision official.

They also gave a first reading to legislation appropriating $22,000 to the general fund.

Finance Director Mike Harold said the money is from the $10,000 given to the city by Columbiana County Commissioners for participation on the drug task force, and $12,000 in the form of a state grant to the police department for computer upgrades.

City Manager Lance Willard announced South Main Street should be open to traffic on Nov. 15 and the bridge project should be completed by Nov. 30. The street has been closed while the bridge is being replaced.

He also said city crews are working to install access drives to the new water treatment plant property. The city recently had a pre-bid meeting for the multi-million dollar plant construction project and it drew a lot of interest, he added.

Those interested were taken on a tour of the property and to the city’s nine water wells.

Willard also said he is looking into a “significant grant” through Efficiency Smart, an energy incentive available through AMP Ohio.

Columbiana purchases its power from AMP and he and Harold recently attended the company’s annual conference.

“They have a pretty well-rounded portfolio now. Three new hydro-electric plants will be brought online soon,” he said.

The plants will be located along the Ohio River, he added.

City customers will also have a chance to save money on their utility bills by “liking” the Efficiency Smart Facebook page.

Willard said anyone who “likes” the page will receive four free CFLs, which could result in a savings of approximately $24 a year on usage and $160 over the lifetime of the bulbs.