During its regularly scheduled meeting, the Belfield City Council addressed various city topics this week including pollution within its local waterways and how the city has organized a clean-up crew to remove trash from around Heart River.
The Belfield City Council held its monthly meeting Tuesday, Oct. 12. Councilman Brett Northrop, who primarily oversees street maintenance, was not present. Lead City Maintenance worker Kevin Anderson said the city has been having issues with pollution in its local waterways. Recently, the city coordinated with a group of volunteers to clean up trash, which Anderson said was a successful endeavor. Yet, shortly after that he found more trash down by the river, including a recliner.
“The river is basically being used as a landfill,” Anderson said.
Council members discussed the possibility of more strictly enforcing pollution ordinances, but no action was taken.
In addition to Anderson, Belfield currently has two other maintenance employees. One is full-time and the other is part-time. The council deliberated on whether to continue the employment of the latter since fall and winter are a slower time of year.
Councilwoman Pamela Gross suggested cutting the part-time employee's hours down to one or two days per week just in case they still needed him if something came up. The council agreed on more closely supervising the projects the part-time employee works on, and discussed his mechanical skills.
Mayor Marrian Mross said he was a good mechanic, adding that things were “fixed and running.”
Yet, Anderson pointed out that this employee installed a set of lawn mower blades upside down.
Mross asked if the council was saying he was a bad mechanic. Councilman Edward Braun responded with another comment about the part-time employee's mechanic skills.
“No, what I’m pointing out is he’s not as good as you think he is. I didn’t say he was a bad mechanic. I didn’t say he was a bad employee,” Braun said.
After interjecting in the council’s discussion multiple times, City Auditor Connie O’Brien interrupted to defend the employee.
“But I’m not here to praise him, and it’s not your position to talk,” Braun said.
O’Brien stood up, told Braun that she refused to be treated in such a manner and walked out of the meeting.
Two residents took issue with the city owned vehicle the part-time employee is driving and asked why it was necessary. Braun explained that it was an old police vehicle that was no longer being used, and that it was more efficient for the city to provide him with a work vehicle than pay him for mileage on his personal vehicle when driving to job sites and picking up supplies.
“This isn’t anything that we’ve gone out and purchased. This is an asset that we’ve paid for and are trying to maintain,” Braun said. “That vehicle has sat here for months because we have two vehicles that we turned over to Stark County. When the city, some time ago, had three police and three police vehicles and so we as a council decided to strip that vehicle and let the city guys use it as needed.”
The council also approved zoning for The Cup and Cake coffee shop, owned by Lori Kollar, to build a drive-thru. Approval was given with the requirement that the drive-thru have a hard surface such as concrete so that gravel or mud does not get drug out onto the main roads.