PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth City Council will convene at the city building on Monday for its regularly scheduled meeting, revisiting multiple items and introducing several more.
Starting with third reading, council will again consider authorizing City Manager Sam Sutherland to enter into a lease agreement with the Scioto County Heritage Museum. The legislation has sat in third reading since April 12, where it has since been tabled three times.
Speaking to council on May 10, SCHM board president John McHenry made his case for the lease. The group he said has invested considerable amounts of time and money into renovating the 733 5th St. building- home of the former Marting’s building.
McHenry said the conversations he has heard surrounding the building revolve around if it is sold, which he said would force SCHM out of its current home.
“How can you protect us from that? Or maybe the first question is, why would you not want to protect us from something like that,” the local attorney and author asked. “We’re putting in, not taking out. We’re in the parade, not on the sidewalk watching. But a lot of people that are watching are giving us the thumbs up.”
The current lease being discussed is a five-year agreement, but with increased investment, McHenry believes a longer term commitment- mentions of ten-year or 20-year lease agreements- could be in order.
Council will then consider approving two items pertaining to the 2021 Capital Improvement Program budget, one approving it overall and the other for special revenue funds.
The two items in second reading are the potential purchase of an armored vehicle for use of the Portsmouth Police Department and increased salary for the Community Development Director Tracy Shearer.
There are varying viewpoints with the Lenco Medcat, previously voted down last December, as to whether the city needs the $252,000 vehicle. This time however, unused police grant funds in the sum of $79,000 have been found that would cover a portion.
For the remainder, the council is being requested to appropriate $1,680 and $45,000 annually over a period of four years from Impound Lot revenue. PPD has also indicated that they would be willing to purchase five vehicles each year, instead of six, for the next four years to make up the difference.
At 6th Ward Councilman Dennis Packard’s request, the salary increase would be for 16% instead of 20%. As the Portsmouth Daily Times previously reported, the reason for the increase is due to Shearer’s increased workload in building the city’s Human Rights Commission.
“The Human Rights Commission isn’t a program or agency already in place functioning, so I believe that in doing so would require a lot of research in developing these standards, looking at what other cities are doing, and creating an agency to educate and assist the community so that everyone feels safe,” Shearer is quoted in a Feb. 15 article.
Six items will be in first reading, two of those regarding honey bees. The first would amend Section 505.08, “Nuisance Conditions Prohibited” of the city charter by removing honey bees from the code, while the second would establish a beekeeping chapter.
Among several provisions, the “Beekeeping” chapter would set limits on the number of bee colonies based on the land tract and order beekeepers to keep their equipment in good condition while providing a convenient water source for the bees.
Council will conclude the legislation portion of the session after considering the vacation of Outlook Street in the area of 1821 and 1822, a supplemental easement and right of way to the Ohio Power Company in the Millbrook Park area, and authorizing the City Manager to enter into a contingency fee arrangement with national law firms.
The 6 p.m. meeting will take place at the city building on 728 2nd St. and will be immediately followed by the City Managers’ session.
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3101 ext. 1931, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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