Council approves new village fiscal officer

WELLSVILLE – As with other recent meetings, the fiscal office of Wellsville was the primary focus of a village council meeting, but for a different purpose this time around.

Village Mayor Susan Haugh announced her appointment of acting fiscal officer Cassie Bloor to serve as full-time fiscal officer on Tuesday evening. The selection was applauded by council and approved unanimously.

Haugh read from a statement thanking Bloor for her service to the village under extraordinary circumstances since taking up the responsibilities of former fiscal officer Dale Davis, who resigned from the position last month.

“Cassie has more than proven herself as an asset to the village,” Haugh said, reminding attendees that the period of the past month is one of the busiest of the fiscal year. “She has professionally and successfully, without one complaint, performed and completed multiple and very difficult tasks,” Haugh added.

Following the unanimous vote, Bloor was congratulated with a round of applause. “I’m just happy to help the village out,” Bloor said afterwards. She admitted to being nervous after first taking on Davis’ responsibilities, but is reassured by the mayor’s confidence in her.

Bloor began her work at the village hall in 2005 in the sewage office, moving to the fiscal office in 2007. She earned a bachelor’s degree in general studies from Youngstown State University and recently completed work towards a master’s degree in psychology from Capella University.

Council approved an ordinance that reduces the fiscal officer’s annual salary from $34,000 to $28,500 and requires 120 hours worked per month. The latter provision addresses one of the complaints voiced against Davis, of not being at work in the village fiscal office a adequate amount of time for his position. Bloor later stated that the salary reduction, in addition to saving money, was a reflection of her not yet possessing the experience that Davis carried during his time at Wellsville.

Council also approved an ordinance that reduces Bloor’s former position of assistant fiscal officer/clerk from full-time to part-time, as well as eliminating paid time off and the option of participation in the village’s employee health or life insurance plans. Councilwoman Diane Dinch identified the move as another cost-saving step.

Dinch, who chairs the village Finance Committee, stated the general fund balance currently sits at $914,746.58, with $1,229,688 in combined total funds. While she acknowledged that winter tends to be an expensive time of year, she urged department administrators to be frugal until tax revenues become available in the spring. “Let’s not be frivolous where we don’t have to,” she said.

Council approved a pair of change orders totaling a net increase of $15,069.59 towards the ongoing Pump Station 1 improvement project, as well as a $12,477 invoice for the project from GGJ Engineers for engineering services. Before the vote, councilman Tony Cataldo said the funds would come from Ohio Public Works Commission, and State and Tribal Assistance Grant (STAG) monies.

A payment to Allison Contracting for emergency repairs to a sewer line damaged on the property of the former Sterling China works on Commerce Street was approved in the amount of $18,528.67. Dinch stated that the village recognizes its obligation to pay Allison for the work undertaken there, but was reviewing its legal options. The property’s former owner hired a firm to remove five large underground diesel storage tanks, during which the damage to the sewage line occurred.

Village administrator Thom Edgell reported that his office has used nearly 125 tons of road salt, with an additional 75 tons on order. He advised local motorists to be cautious, not only of the winter weather conditions, but also of the potholes that have begun to open up across village roads. Edgell also asked that village residents not shovel snow from their driveways into the street, which can make hazardous driving conditions even worse.

In the absence of councilwoman Rosie Goss, who was excused from the meeting, councilman John Morrow moved to apply for a NatureWorks grant from the ODNR to fund the purchase of playground equipment for handicapped children, which would be installed at the 18th Street Playground and in Hammond Park. The measure was approved unanimously.

Heidi Pecorelli, the village animal control officer, requested that Riverside Avenue between Seventh and Eighth streets be closed to traffic for an all-day fundraiser event to benefit the Wellsville Dog Pound at the Wellsville Elks Club on June 15. It was approved unanimously.

In other business:

* Pecorelli announced a low-cost spay and neuter service available to those who are struggling financially but still want to have their pet responsibly fixed. The price will be $10 for cats, $25 for dogs. Applications and pre-payments will be accepted by Pecorelli at village hall weekdays through Feb. 24 from noon to 2 p.m.

* Councilwoman Tonda Ross stated that she, as chairwoman of the Streets, Lights and Parking Committee, would look into village ordinances regarding the existence of two-hour parking limits on Main Street. The effort stems from complaints about renters who live in Main Street residences leaving their vehicles parked on the curb for days at a time.