Marietta reviews bid on property mineral rights

October 25, 2014
Shale Play


Shale Play

MARIETTA, Ohio - The single bid received by the city to lease mineral rights on two pieces of Marietta property was reviewed by members of council late last month during a meeting of council's lands, buildings and parks and finance committees.

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The bid, submitted by MNW Energy LLC, would give the city the option to earn more than $183,000 - $4,750 an acre - by leasing rights at Goose Run and at Gunlock Park between Lowe's and Wal-Mart. The city would also earn a 17.5 percent royalty on any earnings made over the five-year lease term, said city safety-service director Jonathan Hupp.

City Councilman Steve Thomas, D-3rd ward, said he is supportive of leasing the rights.

"I'm good with it. We need the money. And it's not going to be disturbing the ground," said Thomas.

The lease includes a provision there will be no well pads or surface disturbances on city property.

Councilwoman Kathy Downer, D-at large, reiterated her opposition to leasing city property for oil and gas exploration.

"I haven't been for it since the beginning," she said.

Council members Roger Kalter, D-1st ward, and Tom Vukovic, D-4th ward, said the issue should be introduced for official council consideration but did not indicate how they might vote on it.

City law director Paul Bertram suggested making the measure an emergency so the council would know if the funds are available during the 2015 budgeting process. Council heard from Hupp about a proposed city employee drug policy.

"Currently the city, if you want to be a police officer or a firefighter you take a drug test. If you want to be a city employee, you're not necessarily tested," said Hupp.

Hupp suggested a drug policy where city employees are tested upon hiring and if they get into an accident on company time. Additionally, a certain percentage of city employees would be subject to random drug testing on a regular basis.

The drug testing would save more money on workman's compensation premiums than it would cost the city to implement, said Hupp.

The policy presented would include progressive discipline for those testing positive. Council members were largely supportive of updating the personnel policy to include drug testing.

" I would hope that we act on this quickly. The city should have a drug free work force," said Harley Noland, D-at large.



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