The vacancy on the New Boston City Council is no more.
Ralph Imes Jr., who has served on council the past eight years but who did not run for re-election in November, was unanimously approved by the council at this week’s meeting to fill the vacant seat of Mike Payton.
“I enjoy doing anything I can for the village, and I have lived here all my life. I’m glad to be here to serve my community.”
Mayor Junior Williams said five candidates for the seat had originally expressed interest, but one subsequently removed his name from consideration.
Council knew the possibility existed, and the New Boston Service Department had “planned ahead as best they could.”
But as Steve Hamilton, supervisor for the service department, told council Tuesday night, “nobody can say what’s gonna happen.”
The suspense ended Thursday when floodwaters overtook the village, closing U.S. 52 and swamping low-lying areas.
Hamilton warned council that the weather forecast for the remainder of the week called for a high probability of rain. He also pointed out that flooding on the Ohio River was not just possible, but likely. Hamilton sought counsel from Emergency Management Agency director Kim Carver and the Corps of Engineers about the likelihood the river could exceed flood stage, which is 50 feet.
Hamilton told council predictions ranged from a low of 53 feet and a high of 67 feet. He said the expectation is that the river will crest between 57 and 61 feet. The latest models from the National Weather Service project the river will crest at just over 58 feet Tuesday morning.
Williams pointed out to council that Hamilton and his staff were ready with sandbags in the event of minor flooding, and that “they have planned ahead as best they could.”
The mayor offered his appreciation to the New Boston Fire Department and to councilman Johnny Whisman for their help with high-water maintenance.
When village manpower was diverted to combat flooding early in the week and then again Thursday and Friday, something had to give. That’s why there has been no trash collection for the week.
Hamilton warned council that canceling trash collection for next week may also occur. While it may become necessary to do so, the problem is that trash will soon begin to pile up. But Hamilton admitted that concerns for the safety of residents from floodwaters took priority over trash collection.
Keeping in touch
New Boston Police Chief Steve Goins wants his department to be on a par with other law enforcement agencies in Scioto County. That’s why he’s been pursuing grants to enable the police department to upgrade its communication equipment.
The department recently took its first steps to achieving that recently when a grant in the amount of $19,000 was awarded to the department for the purchase of six walkie-talkies for the Multi-Agency Radio Communication System (MARCS). Goins told council that MARCS is a statewide system currently being used by Ohio State Highway Patrol, Scioto County Sheriff’s Office and City of Portsmouth.
Goins says the walkie-talkie grant is only the beginning. He wants New Boston to switch to MARCS in the next three to four years, and he plans to continue applying for grants to make it happen.
Swings and things
Councilman Ryan Ottney has been contemplating parks and pets in New Boston.
Now he wants his fellow council members to do the same.
Ottney said he had been asked by some residents why New Boston’s two parks don’t have swings as part of what is offered for recreation. He said he would like council to remedying that shortfall.
Also, Ottney told his fellow council members he would like the governing body to revisit the definition of “pet” as the term is listed in the village.
These and other topics could be on the agenda when the council meets March 6.