PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth City Council resumed business Monday night by holding their first official meeting in several weeks, due to COVID-19 and orders from the Ohio Governor.
Council held their meeting at the Shawnee State University Center Lobby to properly practice social distancing and permitted no one outside of council to be in attendance. Instead of citizens present in council chambers addressing council directly, Portsmouth City clerk Diana Ratliff accepted questions in regards to items both on and off the agenda via email before the meeting. Ratliff stated she received three emails from citizens, which she read directly to the council.
The first communication was from Kay Barlow who shared that the north end reunion that was scheduled for July 3-5 had been canceled this year due to the virus, while the second was from Sharon Bender requesting that council adopt the resolution allowing for a memorandum of understanding between the city and the Scioto County Heritage Museum to store memorabilia. The last communication was from John McHenry in support of the Scioto County Heritage Museum being placed in downtown Portsmouth.
In the legislative portion of the meeting, council passed an ordinance authorizing the acceptance of grant funds from the Ohio Department of Public Safety, Office of Criminal Justice Services under the Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program for Drug Task Force use, establishing a dedicated account for the grant and authorizing the appropriation of such funding as received, and an ordinance authorizing the acceptance of grant funds from the Ohio Department of Public Safety, Office of Criminal Justice Services under the Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program for Police Department equipment purchases, establishing a dedicated account for the grant and authorizing the appropriation of such funding as received for a third and final reading.
The council also passed an ordinance to submit to the electors of the City of Portsmouth, Ohio, at the General Election to be held on the third day of November 2020 a proposed renewal tax levy for the Flood Defense System of the City of Portsmouth, Ohio, after declaring the amount of taxes that may be raised by levy at the maximum rate authorized by law without a vote of the electors to be insufficient, and an ordinance authorizing the appropriation of $12,000.00 from Capital Improvement Fund No. 301 to be paid from Land Improvement Cemetery/ Grounds line Item No. 301.333.5502 for building improvements to the Police Department Firing Range was also passed for their final reading.
Council voted to waive the three reading rule for an ordinance authorizing the acceptance of an insurance check for $37,297.00 received from HCC U.S. Specialty Insurance Company into CIP Fund No. 301.000.4931 and the appropriation of same into Police Department CIP Vehicle line Item No. 301.221.5532 for payment of a 2020 Ford Explorer Police Cruiser that was totaled out and to is used toward the purchase of a new vehicle and pass the legislation. An ordinance authorizing the appropriation of $4,500.00 from General Fund No. 101 Council Discretionary line Item No. 101.119.5299 to pay the City’s portion of the setup fee regarding the establishment of a Pace Financing Zone within the city limits of Portsmouth, an ordinance authorizing the distribution of $26,320.42 which is the 33 1/3% of the Hotel/Motel Tax assigned to Cultural Affairs, to various organizations as recommended by the Cultural Affairs Panel, and an ordinance authorizing the acceptance of $30,000.00 into General Fund Revenue Account 101.4690 and the appropriation of the same into Fire Department Communication Equipment Maintenance line Item No. 101.223.5267 received from a 2020 MARCS Grant Award from the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of State Fire Marshal were also waived of the three reading rule and passed by council. Lastly, a resolution to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City of Portsmouth, Ohio and the Scioto County Heritage Museum, LLC, was adopted by Council.
In questions on items not on the agenda, clerk Ratliff read communication from Clark Carson regarding scaffolding at the church located at fifth and Washington. Carson asked why the scaffolding had been in place for the past 12 weeks, but no work had yet been done, claiming it was dangerous. Portsmouth City Manager Sam Sutherland stated that design work was being done on the building to complete the repairs, and said to his knowledge there had been no traffic accidents as a result of the construction.
In miscellaneous business and reports, City Manager Sutherland stated that Portsmouth has been lucky to have no positive test results for COVID-19, but stated he wanted those within the city to be aware that some serious cuts may be happening in the upcoming months. “Don’t be surprised if we have to do something, I just want everyone to be aware,” said Sutherland.
During his Mayor’s report, Kevin Johnson extended his thanks to the brave first responders, teachers, and others who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic.
Reach: Ivy Potter (740) 353-3101 Extension 1932
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