Belpre City Council members sworn in

BELPRE — Belpre City Council kicked off the new year Monday with a swearing-in ceremony for new and returning council members and city officials.

The members as well as more than a dozen community members, friends and family gathered at the Belpre Municipal Building to watch the ceremony Monday morning.

Will Neff was sworn in as council president, and he swore in three new council members: Josh Campbell, Jim Gant and Penne Riffle.

Also sworn in were returning council members Donna Miller, Susan Abdella and Elmer Lee Shutts, who had previously been appointed to his seat, as well as newly-elected Treasurer Drew Smith and returning Auditor Leslie Pittenger.

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, administered the oath of office for council member Judy Drake, to whom he is related. Johnson told those gathered local political bodies are vitally important as they see the day-to-day needs of communities.

“This is where it starts,” he said. “This is the foundation of all we do.”

Mayor Mike Lorentz said Belpre has seen growth and prosperity in recent years and he hopes the new council will continue that trend.

“When you start a new year with a new council, it’s always exciting,” he said.

Lorentz said he was excited to see some younger members coming in public service, and said he and the council will work well together in the coming year.

“All I expect and all they expect of me is cooperation,” he said.

After the swearing-in, council held an organization meeting to appoint Abdella as council president pro-tem and Drake as clerk pro-tem.