Mount Gilead Village Council met the new Morrow County Emergency Management/Homeland Security (EMA) Director Michael Nelson at the opening of the Feb. 20 meeting.

Nelson was introduced by current EMA Director John Harsch who is retiring. Harsch spoke about the hazard mitigation plan he presented to council and other villages in the county.

Council passed the ordinance approving the mitigation plan. Having this plan will make it possible to receive FEMA funds if an emergency occurs in the county.

Also during the meeting, council approved a motion allowing Police Chief Adam Lakey to purchase a new police vehicle with needed equipment, not to exceed $60,000. The next police vehicle in the rotation is scheduled for purchase in 2026.

Lakey introduced the new police officer/trainee Caden Mosher to the council. He reported the department has received final approval from the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services for the body camera grant, and body cameras have been ordered for officers.

In other business:

• Mount Gilead High School and the several council members raised $507 plus a $75 donation at the Pizzaburg fundraiser for high school banners. Council approved an additional $2,000 for senior street banners for the class of 2024.

• July 4th fireworks were discussed. Council approved funds to go toward the fireworks, not to exceed $15,000. The day and time will be announced after contacting the fair board. The fireworks will be open to the county.

Mayor Donna Carver said, “With over $3 million in the general fund, we can afford to support these projects for the community.” Carver later added there is presently $3.8 million in the general fund, projected to be $4 million by the end of the year.

• Village Administrator Derrick Allen reported the HPM 2 site (near Edison) would require $2.7 million in cleanup to be released by the EPA for other purposes. A grant is available but requires a match, which Allen doubts would be paid by the present owner who is in the Youngstown area.

Allen is part of the county development committee and has asked about developing the property behind the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office for business or manufacturing. He said the Development Authority will pay for a site plan. He believes that focus would be preferable to more work towards the HPM 2 site at this time.

The street sweeper brakes failed going down South Cherry Street and it landed in a building after going over South Street. Allen said the street sweeper is old and unsafe and in need of several repairs. He will be getting an estimate on a new street sweeper.

Allen also reported the Highland Street sewer is not functioning. A new manhole was purchased, and they are working on the site.

• Council passed the ODOT project funding for state Route 95/High Street in Mount Gilead. Approved was $120,000 for the street, $100,000 for the curbs and $13,000 for the curb ramps.

Police report to council

Lakey reported 47 calls for service from Feb. 5-19, compared to 48 calls for the same period in in 2023. There were 55 traffic stops during the same period with 50 in 2023.

There were 10 offense reports with 8 in 2023. Of the reports, three were warrants, two were thefts, one O.V.I., one forgery, one recovered stolen vehicle, one criminal damaging and one unruly juvenile.

The report has 24 charges issued to 17 persons with 25 charges in 2023. For the charges, four were driving under suspension, four speed, four registration violations, three warrants, three unruly juveniles, two equipment, one underage consumption, one O.V.I. and one open container in motor vehicle. There was one traffic crash, non-injury.

Mount Gilead Fire Department report

Fire Chief Mark Carey reported the lithium-ion emergency class hosted by the department had a total of 25 attending. Students were comprised of members from the Mount Gilead FD and six other area fire departments.

Monthly department meetings are held and renovations to accommodate 24-hour staffing are being made. The labor is being accomplished with on-duty staff.

A truck load of outdated surplus equipment was delivered to the consignment sale. Surplus was mainly comprised of a ladder, 3-foot hoses, a lightbar and miscellaneous tools.

Carey attended a meeting with Morrow County EMS to discuss the addition of an ambulance for the county to help with non-emergency patient transports and transfers. This will be something that is expected to go into effect in the next 90 days and will be funded with grant money.

Alberta Stojkovic is a correspondent for The Morrow County Sentinel.