Community members speak at Lakeview Meeting – Peak of Ohio

Community members speak at Lakeview Meeting – Peak of Ohio

Emotions were high at the Lakeview Village Council Monday night. More than 30 community members were present during the nearly four-hour meeting, and when given the opportunity, they voiced their disapproval of Mayor Elaine Fagan Moore and her actions since the March 14 tornado.

Several local residents approached the Council requesting more transparency from both the Council and the Mayor regarding recent activities and progress as an entire community. Many residents shared very similar questions for the council and mayor. One resident asked: “If the Council was aware of the contents of the April press release?” Councilwoman Sandra Knott said, “No.” Attorney Dinkler noted that press releases do not necessarily require the knowledge and approval of all council members. Dinkler further explained that an error was made in the April press release stating that Norman Spring, former fire chief, had been under investigation for more than thirty months. Instead, former Mayor Ryan Shopffstall had reflected on a 30-month period of activity. Dinkler stated that it was an “…inadvertent good faith error.”

Another resident asked: “Whether the municipality was aware of the meeting scheduled for Sunday, April 21, 2024?” Dinkler further explained that since this was an employee-employer meeting called by Mayor Fagan Moore, certain conditions were warranted. It was not a press meeting; the number of Council members present could not constitute a quorum; and the mayor could invite anyone she deems suitable to play a relevant role in the purpose of the employee-employer meeting. Dinkler continued by saying that the council is still unsure where the idea came from for this meeting to be a press event and how information from the meeting leaked.

More repeated comments and concerns were heard from community members, which were addressed by the mayor, city council and attorney.

Absent from the council were Terry Brentlinger and Amby Wallace.

Mayor Elaine Fagan Moore asked Assistant Chief Josh Oakley for updates on the fire department’s new requests. Oakley reported that they have received three applicants, two of whom already have their certifications and the third is in the process. One of those applicants, Jerry Davis, a 20-year fire service veteran and former fire chief, was in attendance.

Village Administrator Dave Scott provided updates on several topics, including the demolition of the village’s former administrative building. He was given the green light to accept the lowest bid of $22,280.00 for the removal of the damaged building to its foundation and to approve a new security alarm system like the old one, with a month-to-month contract. Scott also asked on behalf of the village library if the community would continue to cover their energy costs at a new location as they had done in the past. The Council agreed. Scott asked the council to approve the hydro-vac replacement for $17,802.36, which was approved. Finally, Scott informed the council that the replacement of the Tornado signal, at a cost of $35,000, to be covered by insurance, had been ordered, but its receipt would be delayed. The Council asked Scott if there was a way to reduce the delay, with the help of anyone, since the village did not have this vital warning device. Scott told the council he would do what he could starting Tuesday.

Mayor Fagan Moore introduced the new village attorney, Lynette Dinkler. Dinkler brings 29 years as a practicing civil rights attorney to the council.

Introduced by Mayor Fagan Moore as a person very familiar with the Indian Lake area, Debbie McDonnell was referred through the United Way of Logan County because she wanted to offer her disaster management services to the village at no cost. McDonnell has 30 years of experience in city government and dealing with natural disasters firsthand. She has worked with FEMA in the past and has knowledge of finding and securing funding to get communities back up and running after a natural disaster. She is prepared to guide the Council and the community through the often difficult application processes required at the party’s request and to assist in developing and implementing the Strategic Plan needed to bring the Lake District back even better than before the tornado. McDonnell was visibly emotional as she expressed her desire to give back and help rebuild this community that has clearly meant so much to her and her family for decades. Listen to her interview here:

Mayor Fagan Moore read the ordinances to the Council and then headed into a board meeting for nearly an hour to discuss fire department payroll issues.

The Council acted on the basis of the following five ordinances, each of which was adopted unanimously by the members of the Council present. They were passed in the first and last readings, but not adopted.

2024-2015 An ordinance that adopts, adopts and adopts the Ohio Basic Code, 2024 Edition of American Legal Publishing as the Code of Ordinances for the City of Lakeview, Ohio, and declares a state of emergency.

2024-2016 An ordinance to amend the permanent appropriations for current and other expenses of the Village of Lakeview, State of Ohio, during the fiscal year ending December 31, 2024, and declaring a state of emergency.

2024-2017 An ordinance approving and authorizing the execution of the agreement between Ken Conaway LLC and the Village of Lakeview, Ohio, and the appointment by the Mayor of a designated flood plan administrator and declaring a state of emergency.

2024-2018 An ordinance appointing an interim fire chief for the Village of Lakeview under RC 737.22 and declaring an emergency.

2024-19 An ordinance approving and authorizing the execution of the 2023 Logan County AFG Reginal Grant Application between the Village of Lakeview, Ohio on behalf of the Lakeview Village Volunteer Fire Department and the Host Bokescreek Fire Department, and declaring a state of emergency.

Logan County Sheriff Randall Dodds and several other law enforcement members were in attendance.

The next regular session is on Monday, May 20, 2024 at 6:00 PM.