Discussions about combining jobs criticized at Bellville council meeting

By Louise Swartzwalder - Galion Inquirer

BELLVILLE — Council members had to step away from routine business matters at the Tuesday meeting of council.

Ryan Wine, streets and parks superintendent, appeared before council to tell them it was “pretty tough to hear that ‘we’ decided” that some duties in his department and the sewer and water department would be combined.

“Who are we?” he asked. “I love my job. I take pride in all that I do.”

Wine said he works with Mike Hoeflich, of the water and sewer department.

He said hearing that changes might be made took “the wind out of my sails.” He said he believed he had done “nothing but good” and felt under-appreciated.

He said getting the news left him feeling “stripped and demoted.”

After speaking briefly, he left the meeting at 5:38 p.m.

Council members then went into an executive session that lasted until 6:55 p.m.

Wine was asked to return for part of that executive session.

Village mayor Teri Brenkus and village administrator Larry Weirich explained that there had been discussion about consolidating the water and sewer and streets and parks departments.

A new wastewater treatment plant is to be built near Butler. Bellville will use that plant, but its operation will be administered by people from Butler. The goal is to have that plant operation in 2020. A groundbreaking ceremony for that plant will be Dec. 4 on Mill Road at 9 a.m.

Wine said making changes would hurt “people in the fields.” He said he been managing the department for the “better part of the decade.”

“I want to be responsible for them (the workers in streets and parks). I intend to retire on this,” he said.

Both Brenkus and Weirich said after the meeting they did not wish to comment on the discussions about job changes because it was an executive matter.

Brenkus, asked if Wine was still employed, replied, “Absolutely.”

She also said he is “dedicated and prideful” in his work.

No mention of Wine’s appearance was made during the remainder of the council meeting.

Council, in routine matters, listened to reports of the mayor and committees.

The streets committee met before council, and went over numbers put together for the coming year.

Raises of 3 percent are built into the dollar figures for 2020. Projects requiring village funds were discussed. A plan to build sidewalks to Palm Park will cost $117,000, according to fiscal officer Aimee Brown.

Plans also are being put together for a “streetscape” on Main Street, going south. Those plans are being prepared by K.E. McCartney and Associates, Inc. Brian McCartney, of that firm, is the village’s civil engineer.

The village is getting ready to purchase a one-ton truck, which should cost under $70,000, said Weirich.

He then talked about escalating costs. One of those is salt. He said a ton of salt costs $101. Last year it was $95 and the year before, it was $65.

The village will be filing its salt order with the Ohio Department of Transportation, because that is a cheaper way to purchase, said Weirich.

Also, a meeting of the public utilities committee has been set for 4:30 p.m. Dec. 3, before the next council meeting. On Dec. 9 there is a cemetery board meeting at 7:30 p.m. The financial board meeting will be at 4 p.m. in village hall, on Dec. 17. The next village council meeting is that night, too, at 5:30 p.m.

Upcoming special events include a Yule log lighting Dec. 5, and the Christmas parade Dec. 7

Council offices will be closed Nov. 28 and 29 for Thanksgiving, and on Dec. 24 and 25 for Christmas.


By Louise Swartzwalder

Galion Inquirer