Alicia Beatty is shown at work in her new role as Wellston City Auditor. (Photo Courtesy of Mindy Eisnaugle)
Alicia Beatty is shown at work in her new role as Wellston City Auditor. (Photo Courtesy of Mindy Eisnaugle)

Former Third Ward Wellston City Councilman and President Pro Tem, Rick Hudson, recently presided over his first meeting since officially being named Council President by the Wellston City Caucus of the Central Committee of the Jackson County Republican Party on May 12.

Additionally, the newly selected Wellston City Auditor, Alicia Beatty, also took part in her first meeting on Wednesday night, May 18.

Republican Central Committee members John Pelletier, Heather Hagen, Adam Massie, and Cheryl Raymer were the only ones able to cast votes on these two selections during the May 12 meeting, as they reside within the City of Wellston. They ultimately chose Hudson over former longtime Councilman Keith Woolum for the Council President spot, and Beatty for Auditor over David McWilliams, who had been serving as Interim Auditor since former Auditor Gary Crabtree’s resignation on April 1.

The City of Wellston now has a vacancy in the Third Ward Council seat. Wellston Mayor Charlie Hudson told The Telegram on Friday, May 13 that current At-Large Councilman Fred Duby recently moved into the city’s Third Ward and has agreed to assume the Third Ward Council seat, if that would be permitted. This, the mayor explained, would leave a vacancy for an At-Large Council seat, which would allow for a broader range of candidates. Yet another meeting of Wellston City Caucus of the Central Committee of the Jackson County Republican Party is now expected to be set to deal with this matter.

At the start of the May 18 Council meeting, nominations were accepted for the position of President Pro Tem. Second Ward Councilwoman Mattison Vance was nominated and unanimously approved. Council President Hudson also stated he would soon be selecting a new Chair of the Finance Committee, as that was formerly his role.

On the Agenda

* Mayor Hudson informed Council members that, regarding previous discussions relating to the possible creation of a bed/camper tax for the city, it has been discovered that a transient person tax is already on the books.

“Rather than recreating the wheel, I think we could just reword that and include campers and the amounts we have discussed (a $5 fee),” he said.

Prior discussions on this matter likewise included taxing AirBnB rentals. However, Mayor Hudson explained that a measure recently made its way through the Ohio House of Representatives forbidding municipalities from regulating the AirBnb rentals. He added that the measure has yet to make its way through the Ohio Senate.

“We should stand against this because it goes against Home Rule,” he stated.

* Mayor Hudson also noted that city officials have discovered the presence of a taxi tax on the books. He then asked if the Council would possibly want to extend that tax to cover such services as Uber and Lyft as the city continues to move forward. Both this issue and the previous one are set to be discussed further by members of the Finance Committee.

* Service Director Anthony Brenner provided an update on the ongoing 2nd Street project. He said the newly installed water line was pressurized the previous week, and that the line held pressure throughout the duration of the pressure test. Following water sample tests on May 16 and 17, Brenner said residents started being hooked up to the new line. This project was the first of its kind for the city and the Infrastructure Department employees, in whom he expressed great pride.

The next meeting of Wellston City Council is set for Thursday, June 2 at 7 p.m. on the second floor of the City Building, 203 E. Broadway St., Wellston.