Musuem, bees, water: Council back for first session this month

By Patrick Keck - [email protected]

PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth City Council will be back in session for the first time this month Monday, again considering a lease agreement, salary increase, and multiple honey bee ordinances.

Set for third reading, the council will review a lease agreement with the Scioto County Heritage Museum and a 16% wage increase for the Community Development Director Tracy Shearer.

Through the lease, the city would lease the Marting’s Annex on 733 5th St. to the museum for a five-year term effective the day the agreement is executed. Each Jan. 3, SCHM will pay its annual rent set at $1 but would be responsible for all utility services, maintenance, and insurance.

When the lease ends, either after those five years or through an early termination, the museum must return the building in as good condition as it was the lease’s beginning.

Early termination could occur if the property were to be purchased, in which case the purchaser would pay SCHM 75% of the value of improvements. The city must provide notice of 180 days if the property is sold.

The increased wage for Shearer would bring her within range of other community development directors in the state in cities of similar size, a salary comparison revealed. The 16% increase would be just under $8,000, where Shearer also told the Portsmouth Daily Times previously that her workload had grown due to her responsibilities of building the Human Rights Commission.

Two bee-related pieces of legislation will be in the second reading – one which removes the word “honey bees” from the Animals and Fowl, Section 505.08 (b) – Nuisance Conditions Prohibited portion of the city charter and the other setting rules for beekeeping within the city limits.

The latter ordinance will determine the number of colonies a property can have based on size and require a flyway barrier if a colony is less than 25 feet away from the property line.

For first reading, multiple water systems upgrades will be for council review. Council will first consider the appropriation of $371,000 for a boost station out in Franklin Furnace.

As City Manager Sam Sutherland has explained, the boost station upgrade would be a proactive move in the preparation of potential growth in the area.

Sutherland may also be authorized by the council to enter into a cooperative agreement with the Ohio Water Development Authority for the planning of a new water treatment plant. Requested to be passed as an emergency, the new $67 million plant would have the desired capacity to produce eight million gallons of water per day.

Kris Ruggles of Strand Associates, Inc. visited both of the council’s May sessions to detail the need for the new plant which will be located behind the current plant just east of the New Boston Walmart.

“You guys have gotten more than your money’s worth out of the plant you have,” Ruggles said. “As Andrew (Esarey, project manager) and I said, the single points of failure are a very significant risk.”

Construction is set to begin in 2023 with a goal of completion by 2025. Grant funding and water bill increases have been discussed as potential ways to afford the project.

Council will convene at the city building starting at 6 p.m. and will be followed by the city manager’s meeting. Attendees that have not been fully vaccinated will be asked to wear a mask.

By Patrick Keck

[email protected]

Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3101 ext. 1931, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @pkeckreporter. © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.

Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3101 ext. 1931, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @pkeckreporter. © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.