Chief Standley stepping down; railroad safety addressed at city council meeting


Bellefontaine Service Safety Director Wes Dodds informed the city council that Ohio’s two senators, Sherrod Brown and JD Vance have introduced legislation aimed at reducing railway accidents in the United States. The Railway Safety Act would address crew staffing issues, strengthen safety standards for trains hauling hazardous chemicals, and increase penalties for railroad companies that are found to be at fault for train accidents. Dodds said that many city councils in the state are passing resolutions in favor of the legislation.

Police Chief Brandon Standley informed the council that he will be stepping down as chief in the near future. Standley previously informed the mayor and service safety director of his decision. He said that he has the utmost confidence in whoever replaces him as chief, thanking council for the excellent work they have done by providing funds to offer excellent training and competitive wages.  Chief Standley has been on the police force for 28 years and served as Chief for the last 12.

In other council action, Mayor Ben Stahler informed the council that Bellefontaine’s unemployment rate currently stands at 4.2% which is below both federal and state figures. He also spoke of the recent check given to Bellefontaine City Schools in the amount of $77,000.

During committee reports, utilities chairman Kyle Springs informed the council that the Piqua Report was recently issued, which ranks cities in Ohio based on their water rates. Springs said that Bellefontaine currently has the 10th lowest water rates in the state.

Several ordinances were given first readings including two that would allow the police and fire departments to receive grants from WalMart in the amounts of $5,000 and $3,000 respectively. The funding will be used to purchase equipment for the Special Response Teams for each department.

One resolution was adopted that would allow for an annexation agreement for 15 acres of land in Lake Township that is owned by Tod Johnson. This resolution begins the annexation process in earnest.

Another annexation ordinance was given its first reading. This real estate, owned by LeVan’s Investments, was the subject of a public hearing that happened before the council meeting. The property is located on the city’s southeast side and lies south of the middle school and north of Township Road 181. In the public hearing, several residents voice concerns about the increased traffic burden as well as anticipated flooding issues.

An ordinance that amends council rules regarding face coverings and recording of meetings was given its second reading. According to rules committee chairman Jordan Reser, the changes would require any citizen to remove their face mask when addressing the council. It would also set rules for the recording of council meetings by private citizens.

Three ordinances were given their third and final reading, all dealing with pay for the municipal court chief bailiff and deputy bailiff.

The Bellefontaine City Council will next meet on Tuesday, March 28th at 7:30 PM.