WINTERSVILLE - Village resident Ralph Parisi is ready to do his part and serve the village that molded him.
After interviewing four qualified candidates, council unanimously selected Parisi to serve as councilman Thursday night.
Parisi will take over the seat of long-time Councilman Robert Cochrun, who died in December.
SWORN IN — Wintersville resident Ralph Parisi, middle, was sworn in as the new village councilman during Thursday’s meeting. Parisi will take the seat of Robert Cochrun, who died in December. On hand for the swearing in were council President Robbie Martin, left, and Mayor Bob Gale.
"I have lived in Wintersville my whole life and I always hear that young people in our area don't participate, they just complain," the 30-year-old said. "This is a great opportunity to get involved and show that young people can and will participate. I look forward to honoring the memory of Mr. Cochrun as well as helping the citizens of this village."
Council President Robbie Martin is excited for Parisi to bring charisma to council.
"Ralph is an excellent pick and he will bring a lot of enthusiasm to council," Martin stated. "Just from reading his resume you can tell he is ready to go to work. We think we did the right thing, and although he will have big shoes to fill, we feel as though he is capable of doing it."
Parisi was sworn in by Gale during the meeting.
Council then discussed an ordinance addressing water rates and a first reading was passed.
"It has been eight years since the water rates for the village have been established and at that time the rates were lowered," Gale explained. "This ordinance states that there will now be an increase to the base rate. The increase will cover costs associated with repairs and equipment for water issues as well as employee wages, benefits and health care. The rate increase will not affect usage of water, sewage or sanitation."
Gale noted the increase will be approximately $3 per month for residents and small businesses.
"We need to pass a second and third reading, but we are hoping that the increased rate will go into affect in March," he said. "This issue was looked at very rigorously and it was a unanimous vote by council. If you will remember correctly, we had to move $30,000 from the general fund in December to the water fund to cover costs, and that takes away from street repairs and other necessary upgrades."
Walt Ziemba, village administrator, then updated council on the wastewater treatment plant project.
"The first digester is under way, and they worked on the walls this week," he said. "The excavation for the U.V. channel will begin Friday, and construction is still on schedule."
Work for Phase 1 includes new screening; grit and grease removal; new grit classifier building; new influent and effluent flow monitoring; new aerobic digester tank; new scum pump station; replace aeration diffusers; new belt filter press; rehab clarifiers; geodesic dome clarifier covers; UV disinfection system; updating electrical system; adding two new blowers; raising flow EQ tank wall; and asphalt resurfacing.
"Phase 2 is still under design and that is moving along OK as well," he noted.
Council also passed a motion to distribute a $500 clothing and boot allowance for each public works employee.
"After looking at the costs of uniforms each year through Cintas Uniforms, it makes more sense for us to give a clothing allowance to the employees and let them purchase their own clothing," Ziemba said, citing employees must purchase the clothing on their own and then be reimbursed.
Employees also will be responsible for having their uniforms cleaned, he noted.
Gale mentioned the "reimbursement would only be $500 for 2013, and be lowered to $250 per employee for next year." The reimbursement only applies to street, water and sewer department employees, he added.
Council then passed a motion to purchase a washer and dryer for the sewer department.
"The washer and dryer will be placed in the sewer department and will only be for the sewer department employees to use," Gale explained. "We don't want them to have to take their sewage clothing home to wash."
The next council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Feb. 7.