HARTVILLE  Due to a conflict of interest with engineer Jim Benekos, Village Council members have agreed to seek an outside engineering firm to review plans for Phase III of the Lake Local Schools building project.

Following council approval of an engineering services contract between the village and CT Consultants, the firm Benekos is employed by, the engineer asked Solicitor Ron Starkey for advice on how to proceed with the review of the demolition plans for Hartville Elementary School, which must be approved by Dec. 12. 

Although he has had no direct input in the project, Benekos said, CT Consultants developed the site plan for the Lake School District.

Starkey suggested the village contract with an outside firm for the review and asked Benekos if there would still be time to meet the project deadline. Benekos said a review of the plans would take "one or two hours."

Mayor Cynthia Billings said she would contact other area engineering firms and council agreed to place legislation on the Dec. 5 agenda to hire the outside firm on a temporary basis.

Other action

Council also approved 2018 contracts with the Starkey Law firm for legal services; attorney Joyce Lamb to serve as Mayor’s Court magistrate; and Carol Brown for cleaning services, as well as approving a planning commission recommendation to combine several parcels of on a Woodlawn Avenue property into outlots.