The majority of Wauseon’s City Council meeting held on March 3 was devoted to looking ahead towards spring and continued work on improvements around the city. Upon approval of the prior meeting’s minutes, council first heard from the Utility Committee, which had met previously on February 27. Councilor Fred Allen reported for the committee that they had discussed the painting and refurbishing of the water tower on Shoop Avenue and that the committee was recommending that the project be bid out as soon as possible in order for the project to be completed during the upcoming construction meeting. Later in the meeting Resolution 2014-02, which authorizes the Mayor to advertise for bids for the painting, upgrading, and renovation of the tower; to accept the lowest bid; and to enter into a contract with lowest and best bidder, passed under emergency language. With passage under emergency language there is no need to wait for the normally required three readings and the city may open up the project for bids immediately.
Councilor Shane Chamberlin also inquired about a previous discussion held in the fall that had focused on the replacement of some of the lights at the Water Reclamation Plant. Director of Public Service Dennis Richardson responded that he will look into the status on that project.
Councilor Chamberlin also reported on behalf of the Street Committee which had met just prior to the council meeting. Chamberlin informed council that The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) now offers to do bridge inspections at no cost for municipalities so long that it is understood that the municipality will still be held responsible for the cost of any necessary repairs. Richardson added that the City of Wauseon is responsible for the bridge on Glenwood by the high school, the new bridge at the Oak Street extension and the bridge on Burr Road. The bridge on Shoop Avenue is not the responsibility of the City. Councilor Kathy Huner moved and was seconded by Chamberlin in a recommendation that the City participate in the ODOT Program for Bridge Inspection Services. Legislation will follow at a later meeting.
After hearing from the committees, council moved on to hear from the various department heads. Regional Planning Director David Wright reported that he has continued his work on the Revolving Loan Fund, which provides funds that can be used for other community purposes such as grant money and which is not strictly reclusive to revolving loans. Wright also noted that the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) information will be shared publicly as well as that he has been speaking with representatives from Sarah’s Garden regarding expansion of the facility.
Director of Public Service Dennis Richardson reported that the city’s opportunity to purchase salt under their current contract for $37.51 per ton expired at the end of February. However, this was a large savings for the city as the cost of salt rose to as much as $100 per ton over the course of the winter and the city has been able to stock pile and currently has plenty of salt on hand. Richardson also reported that there was a water main break on North Shoop Avenue near Dairy Queen that resulted in the water having to be turned off for a period of time. Richardson expressed his gratitude towards local business owners for their understanding and cooperation as the break resulted in two nights worth of work for the Public Works crews.
Richardson also reported that he and Lou Thourot have visited Dmytryka Jacobs Engineering to discuss pending projects at the Water Treatment Plant. Regarding the Linfoot Street project, Richardson reported that he has learned that the city may have to perform more soil borings as, based on the environmental study, certain properties may need further testing.
Richardson also informed council that he has received a report from the Ohio EPA regarding their visit and inspection of the Water Reclamation Plant on February 11 and that everything was found to be satisfactory. The inspection was related to the pretreatment program and Wauseon has three industries using the program. Richardson, along with Dave Pike also visited the Wastewater Plant in Luna Pier, Michigan to look at the clarifier drives and mechanisms installed by the facility in the last year in order to assess how the propped plans at Wauseon’s facility compare.
During his report Richardson also noted that he has been informed by Michele Ryder that ARS Refuse is still working on new refuse tags but may not be prepared to put information in the water bills until next month. In response to a question posed by Council President Heather Kost regarding some of the larger potholes that have developed over the course of the winter cold, Richardson noted that the Public Works Department has been working at filling the holes as quickly as they can.
Other reports heard by council included a report from Fire Chief Rick Sluder, who reported that, over the course of January and February, the Fire Department had dealt with over 200 calls. While this number is high over the winter months, Sluder noted that there was nothing major to report on any call activity. Sluder also provided each council member with a packet of information about the Fire Department. The packet explained the requirements to be on the Fire Department and for a volunteer to maintain their membership with the department. Councilor Chamberlin inquired as to how many volunteers are currently with the deparment. Sluder reported that there are currently 30 volunteers, a number close in proximity to the average of 35 that the department has maintained over the years.
Police Chief Keith Torbet reported that the next Drug Take Back Day will be held on Saturday, April 26 from 10:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m. Unwanted prescription drugs can be taken to Rite Aid and Wal-Mart as well as the Police Department. Anyone who has pills to return but cannot make it during that time can take the pills back to the Police Department before that time. In response to an inquiry made by Councilor Huner, Chief Torbet explained that Healthy Choice Caring Communities helps to communicate the event by advertising on the radio, in local newspapers, and on facebook pages. Torbet also noted that there has been a good turnout in the past. Later in the meeting the chief also explained that a good deal of pills come back from nursing homes and those people who receive prescriptions for pain medication but only take two or three pills. Torbet also explained that anyone who has any medication in pill form can simply put it into a Ziploc bag and drop it off at any of the above named locations.
Director of Finance Jamie Giguere reported that she had provided the income tax revenue report for the year to date as well as that the city is still within budget as of the month end for February.
Director of Law Thomas McWatters III reported that he is working on several projects for Chief Torbet, Tom Hall, and Dennis Richardson. As the Mayor’s Annual Report was also passed out prior to the meeting, McWatters also expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to serve the Mayor, Council, and the City of Wauseon.
New business brought before council during the meeting dealt with power cots and a loading system for the Fire Department. Councilor Don Mathews moved and was seconded by Councilor Hunter to authorize the Director of Finance to reallocate $51,610 from the Capital Income Tax Account entitled Transfer Out to the Capital Income Tax Account entitled Fire Department to provide the funding for equipment.
Remarking on his annual report, Mayor Doug Shaw commented that 2013 was a good year and that, along with several improvements made throughout the city, Wauseon is financially stronger than it has been in previous years. He noted that revenues and expenses will continue to be monitored and thanked City Council members, the Law Department, and City employees for a productive year.
Upon approval of the bills, the meeting was adjourned with no further action being taken.