Former mayor wants EP to plan ahead

EAST PALESTINE – A former councilman and mayor wants to see a five-year plan in place that addresses how more revenue could be generated for the town.

Mark Rhodes asked City Council at its recent meeting if the village has a plan in place, and while they responded there isn’t an actual document, generating more revenue is something they are “constantly thinking about.”

During a development committee meeting prior to the regular council meeting, councilman Don Elzer touched on the matter by suggesting more money could be earned through the park.

Rhodes was not at the committee meeting and did not hear the discussion, but Elzer briefed him during the council meeting.

Elzer said the concession stand at the park should be used more than it has been. The stand is only open during the summer months when the pool is available to the public.

During those months last year the stand generated a total of $24,085. Total park revenue for the year was at $89,866 in December.

Elzer believes the concession stand would be used by people attending sporting events at the park throughout the year.

Council member Endia Wisser suggested the village could also earn revenue through the new electric sign at the entrance of the park. She said personalized messages could be sold to be displayed on the sign, such as “Happy Birthday” or “Happy Anniversary.”

Rhodes then asked of the new businesses started in town, how many stay open?

Elzer said the village’s retention rate is at about 50 percent, which isn’t higher or lower than other comparable areas across the country.

Another question Rhodes had was if the police department was spending money for the K9 unit to be used in other cities.

Police Chief Kevin Dickey said the department reimburses Sgt. Don Johnson for mileage traveled to neighboring cities for use of the K9 but he is not paid for his time by the East Palestine department or department making the request.

In other business, council approved:

– Establishing a fund for donations from EP Playground Inc. The donations are exclusively used for playground and bandstand maintenance.

– Filling two part-time meter reading positions at $8.50 an hour.

– A $150 annual clothing allowance for auxiliary police officers, $100 for part-time dispatchers, and $500 for the fire chief and police chief.