92 seek Palestine manager position

EAST PALESTINE — An outpouring of interest has been generated in the open village manager position, with 92 people submitting their applications.

Acting Mayor Alan Cohen announced during this week’s council meeting that 92 applications were received by the April 19 deadline. Council will meet in special session to go over the applications at 7 p.m. April 29.

Cohen stressed that the meeting will be held in executive session, meaning that although the public is invited to attend, council will be going over the applications behind closed doors. Any action would be taken in open meeting at the end of the closed door session, although Cohen said a new manager will not be selected that evening.

The village began taking applications upon the resignation of former manager Pete Monteleone, who accepted a new job in Virginia. Finance Director Traci Spratt is currently serving as interim manager until a new manager is selected.

In other business during this week’s council meeting, council passed a resolution authorizing the Ohio Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) to submit a United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development application for the village’s waste water treatment plant project.

RCAP receives funding from the UDSA to assist applicants for free in applying for financing.

The project calls for the construction of a million-gallon equalization basin, or storage tank, to comply with an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency mandate that dates back to 2011.

The mandate was in response to complaints from residents regarding sanitary sewer overflows into homes in portions of the village during periods of heavy rain.

The EPA has issued a deadline to the village to have construction begin by Sept. 1 of this year, and the project must be completed by Oct. 3, 2020.

The village is under contract with MS Consultants for engineering and design. The most recent cost estimate provided by MS for construction alone is $7.85 million. Prior estimates were around $6 million.

Due to the project being “beyond reasonably available funds” according to a second resolution passed during the meeting relating to the project, the village is seeking federal funding to help pay for the project.

Council approved enacting a base sewer rate increase back in 2015 in anticipation of the project.

In addition to the resolution seeking USDA funding, council also passed a resolution authorizing a contract with WSOS Community Action Commission, Inc. to provide a Rural Development environmental report for purposes of grant applications.

Other legislation approved that evening not related to the waste water plant project included a resolution authorizing the alternate method of apportionment for Local Government Fund monies and a resolution excluding the city of Salem from the alternate method of apportionment.

kwhite@mojonews.com

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