BLANCHESTER — In a special meeting Tuesday morning, Blanchester village council approved a temporary budget and tabled a vote on when and how to conduct village business.
Blanchester Mayor John Carman asked council members to approve reorganizing council’s schedule for 2016 and reduce and combine the number of committees the village utilizes from five to two. The safety and service committees would be combined into one, and the finance and planning committees would be combined into another. Legislative would be removed, and preparing legislation would become a duty of both committees.
The board voted 4-0 to hold further discussion at the council’s first board meeting of next year, on Jan. 14, when more board members may be present. Council members Ricky Roush and Lori Byrom were absent, and council members Dave Wallace, Gary Bauer, J. L. Runk and Cindy Sutton voted in favor of postponing the discussion.
Wallace said he opposed reducing council meetings to once a month, saying that he believes it would cause additional special meetings that could cause scheduling problems for citizens or council members.
“I don’t like it; I won’t vote for it,” Wallace said. “(In the event of a special meeting) if you get a call the day before and you’re going to something else, what are you going to do? … I think it’s not fair to the council itself.”
“We’d still be having two meetings a month,” Carman said. “But the problem we have now is when we meet for council, we have people come and they want to purchase something or they want something passed through council. And that’s the first time someone (on council) has heard about it.”
Going through committees, Carman said, allows the committee to look into it and make a recommendation to council.
After Blanchester Police Chief Scott Reinbolt asked council to consider authorizing fiscal officer Sherry Cope to pay bills between those meetings so vendors get paid on time, Wallace added that was another reason to have two meetings per month rather than one.
Carman said he’d like to appoint Sutton, Roush and Byrom to the finance and planning committee and Bauer, Wallace and someone to be appointed next year.
Runk’s term expires at the end of this year. He did not run for re-election and no one filed to take his seat.
Carman said the delay will give Blanchester Solicitor Andrew McCoy more time to draft a statement of purpose for both committees.
Village council also:
• Voted 3-1 on a temporary budget that continues spending as usual until a permanent budget can be passed. A permanent budget isn’t due until April, and Cope said council typically passes first a temporary then a permanent budget. Wallace voted against the budget, saying he hadn’t been presented it until the meeting. Cope said the budget reduces the deficit from $97,269 to $93,690.
• Passed a first reading on an ordinance that would allow restaurants in downtown Main Street and Broadway Street to have outdoor benches and tables, as previously reported.
• Authorized Reinbolt to appoint a police officer as long as that potential officer’s background check comes back clear. The officer will replace a vacancy left by a retired officer.
• Voted 4-0 to spend $2,250 to remove bats from the municipal building with a three-year warranty in case of further bat infestation. Three bats have been found in the building, Carman said, and a previous two-year warranty against bats has expired. The contract would remove two bat colonies, seal entry points and emplace one-way vents. “As nice as this building is, we need to take care of it,” Runk said. “Surely we can come up with it and keep our buildings safe. You [Carman] are right, disease is really rampant with bats. Let’s don’t take a chance of anyone getting sick.”
Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.