Montpelier Village Council Discuss Future Development Opportunities

The Montpelier Village Council met in regular session on Monday, February 13, 2017.

The highlight of the meeting was the plans to be taken to revitalize the downtown area and to hopefully bring people to Montpelier. Village Manager, Kevin Brooks, shared the Village of Montpelier is working with consultants from the NORDA group and other interested parties.

The plan is to develop/extend a Veterans bike/walking trail. This will be accomplished by connecting with the current Wabash Cannonball Trail, extending the trail through downtown, and back to the fairgrounds. This is in collaboration with the Williams County Health Department. Approximate cost is $700,000. The trail would be approximately 8 foot wide, with two bike lanes, as well as a walking lane.

The village is will be drafting a Letter of Intent that would be due on February 1, 2018. If the Letter of Intent is accepted, the village must submit an application, and would be notified in 2019 if it was accepted, construction would begin in 2020. Brooks stressed this will take some time, but he wants it done correctly. Eventually his intention is to extend the trail east of town in hopes that it can be connect to villages that direction. If a planning grant is secured, then a consultant can be hired for the project and 100% of the consultant fees is paid by the grant.

Brooks views this as a unique opportunity and approach for economic development. He hopes this will help put Montpelier on the map and create a destination to bring people to the community.

The Village Manager also shared he has met with the Maumee Valley Planning Commission in regarding the Commissioners and Formula Community Development Block Grant funds. Brooks stated the village has not applied for this funding since 2007. Consequently this absence in applying should better the chances of receiving funds. Brooks shared the Montpelier Rotary has plans to add basketball courts at Storrer Park. If the funding is received, the village will use the money to construct restrooms at the park. Long term plans are to eventually do the same at the Main Street Park. Water fountains will also be added at the two parks.

A solar power initiative is also in the planning stages. Montpelier is involved in a consortium with four other villages. Brooks shared the consortium is developing a 2 megawatt solar field. This is being done as two electricity contracts are expiring with American Municipal Power. According to Brooks the two contracts account for 36% of the village’s energy purchases, but only 24% of the village’s costs. His goal through joining the consortium is to purchase energy at low cost, and to prevent rates from rising as the contracts expire. He used the example of this past summer when rates citizens expressed concerned that rates were really high. For 2016 the village purchased $5.71 million dollars in electricity. The intent as these contracts expire is to come up with ways to replace the power at even lower than current costs. An Orlando firm is putting together a purchase power agreement that will hopefully be completed in the next 15 days. At that time the village, and the other members of the consortium, will decide to either execute the agreement or not. If the group votes in favor of the agreement, then all five solar projects will be completed in the current calendar year. The rate for this is believed to be less than 5 cents per kilowatt hour. The cost of the solar distribution line will be between $150,000-$200,000. However, the payback on investment is projected to be 2-3 years maximum, and the agreement with the solar provider is for 25 years.

Brooks was obviously excited about this opportunity, as well as the village’s development of similar networking agreements, partnerships, and relationships with other entities.

In other business:
The group approved the following items presented by Mayor Steve Yagelski:
•The minutes of the January 23, 2017, meeting with no questions.

•Approved January Financial Reports.

Police Chief Dan McGee distributed the Police Department’s 2016 Annual Report to the Council.

Comments from Council included:
•Council Member, Cheri Streicher, thanked Police Chief McGee for inviting her to the Police Honor and Awards Night. She commended the Chief on the event, and thought it was a great opportunity to attend, and to get to meet the reserves and their families. Mayor Yagelski shared her appreciation.

•Council Member Chris Kannel shared his concern about the accumulation of garbage behind the building alley on the southeast corner of Main and Jonesville. This was identified as the Bumper to Bumper location. Chief McGee indicated he would look into the situation.

•In a related matter, Village Manager, Kevin Brooks, shared that residents who are leaving trash containers out are receiving notices via the “door hanger” program. This was initiated two weeks ago by the police department. Eventually this duty will be transitioned to the Street Department. He stressed this issue is aggressively being addressed.

•The village has accumulated 14 forfeiture vehicles and may be conducting an auction or some other means to get rid of the vehicles.

•A Saturday Workshop for Village Employees will hopefully be held early in April.

Village Manager Kevin Brooks presented the following to Council:
•Introduced Jim Sperlin, New Village Mechanic, to Council. The village has been without a mechanic since September of 2016.

•Justin McCaulley, from the firm McCaulley and Company in Cleveland presented to Council information on what services his company provides. McCaulley explained his firm provides grant writing services, and scours State and Federal Governments for grant opportunities, but also search for grants through agencies such as the Department of Transportation, USDA, and EPA. The find the grants, and do the grant writing and proposals for their associates. His company’s goal in Williams County is to develop a collaborative network with the local governments. McCaulley described his company as a Communications Firm. They specialize in grant and policy development.

•Appointed Kevin Motter to the Police Dependent’s Board.

•Mr. Brooks explained the village is planning some type of Veteran’s Memorial downtown in the mini-park. This will include moving the flagpole from the Henry Street property that is being turned into a community garden. The dedication of the Memorial is projected before Bean Days, or in conjunction with the celebration. Hopefully this and some other projects will help generate some tourist traffic.

Mr. Brooks also presented the following resolutions which Council voted to suspend the reading rules and approved:
•#1162 – Advertise for Bid and Contract for construction of CSO Phase V Sewer Separation Project. Construction is slated to begin in June and last approximately six months.

•#1163 – Advertise for Bid and Contract for improvement of certain streets in the Village of Montpelier.

•#1164 – Authorize the Village Manager as the representative to the American Municipal Power, Inc. Board of Trustees.

•#1165 – Authorize the Village Manager to Apply, Accept, and Enter Into an agreement for a Water Pollution Control Loan Agreement and a Water Pollution Principal Forgiveness Agreement – The village is receiving 2.2 million dollars in the form of principal forgiveness for the Wastewater Treatment Plant Project and a loan for approximately $900,000 for the remainder of the project.

•#1166 – Authorize the Village Manager to Apply, Accept, and Enter Into an agreement for a Water Pollution Control Principal Forgiveness Agreement for the CSO Phase V Sewer Separation Project– The village is receiving 1.1 million dollars in the form of principal forgiveness for the planning, design, and construction of combined sewer overflow project Phase V.

•#1167 – Authorize the Director of Finance as the representative to the American Municipal Power, Inc. Committees of the Board.

•#1168 – Extended the Medical Marijuana Moratorium on the granting of building permits or zoning certificates for any building structures use or change of use that would able the cultivation, processing, or retail sale of medicinal marijuana for a period not to exceed six month of the resolution – This was initially approved approximately six months ago in regards to opening Medical Marijuana Facilities. The State of Ohio has yet to formalize the rules for these facilities, thus the reason for the extension until the rules are finalized.

•Pole Attachment Agreement between The Village of Montpelier and Qualstar Communications(Metalink) – This is the same agreement as American Municipal Power has with Time-Warner Cable. This allows the sharing of poles and will provide fiber optic technology throughout the village.

Kelly Hepner, Finance Director, shared that income tax collection for January 2017, was $212,065. 45. The amount is compared to $198.709.66 for 2016 and $240,296.78 in 2015.

Council entered in to Executive Session at 7:11 pm. Montpelier Village Council’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be Monday, February 27, 2017, at 6 pm.

Kent Hutchison can be reached at publisher@thevillagereporter.com

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