Bellaire Council Holds on Flanagan Pay, Traffic Cameras

Members approve a 2019 preliminary budget during special meeting

Photo by Joselyn King Bellaire Clerk/Treasurer Tom Sable, left, and council members Mike Doyle and Gay Lucci discuss the village budget during a special council meeting Thursday night.

BELLAIRE — Bellaire Village Council approved a 2019 preliminary budget, but held off on finalizing other actions during a special meeting Thursday night.

An ordinance to raise Police Chief Richard “Dick” Flanagan’s pay to $52,200 annually was discussed, but not acted upon by council. He makes about $45,000 now. The wage increase was approved through a motion by council last month to compensate Flanagan for his additional duties as code enforcer.

Since then, the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Board has expressed concerns about combining pay for the two jobs as it pertains to pension and retirement benefits, forcing council to legally determine how it should compensate for code enforcement duties. Council discussed legally adding code enforcement to the chief’s job description.

“I just feel funny because that’s a specific position with a specific job description,” Councilman Mike Doyle said of the code enforcer’s position. “That’s a pretty big decision to say it’s at the will of the mayor, I think.”

Council directed Village Solicitor Joe Vavra to speak with the pension board’s counsel and determine what they would accept as the best course of action for the village.

Council also had its first and second readings of an ordinance to place traffic cameras in the village, and establish punishments for those found guilty on camera of infractions. Offenders would receive their citations by mail.

But council held off on having a third reading and final vote for passage, opting to wait until the next regular meeting of council at 6 p.m. July 19 so representatives of Blue Line — the company placing the cameras — can be present for the contract signing.

The preliminary budget for 2019 passed by council is identical to the one passed for 2018, and is set at $1.29 million, according to Bellaire Clerk-Treasurer Tom Sable. It is due to the Belmont County Auditor’s Office by July 20.

“This will be adjusted,” Sable said. “It will be reviewed by the budget commission in August. We will sit down with them. They will help us and tell us where to make changes.

“For now, it’s better to be conservative,” he said.

All council members were present for the meeting, including Doyle, Donnie Maupin, Dan Brown, Nikki Liberatore, Gay Lucci and Jerry Fisher. Fisher presided over the meeting in place of Mayor Vince DiFabrizio, who was not in attendance.