June 2 – In a recap of a discussion held during a recent Finance Committee meeting, Councilor Don Mathews outlined a proposal brought Fire Chief Rick Sluder that would end the City’s current contract with LifeStar Services and add full time positions to the city’s payroll. The proposal, which would cost the city an additional total of $20,000 per year, would allow the city to manage employees and keep trained personnel in Wauseon.
Councilor Mathews explained that “We don’t want Wauseon to turn into a training center and that’s happened.” Mathews also expressed concerns with the amount of volunteers at the Fire Department by noting that “We can’t count on volunteers to man the Fire Department anymore.” It was a sentiment echoed by Chief Sluder who explained that the number of volunteers has gone down 13% across the nation due to job demands. Volunteers have become less likely to want to leave their jobs to go on a run.
Sluder’s proposal would allow for 5 full time and several part time positions that would be trained as both firefighters and emergency personnel. The proposal would also guarantee that four people would be on duty at the Fire Station at all times.
Additional funding needed to pay for the proposal will be sought from a request of more monies from the Fulton County EMS levy as well as an increase from $100 to $250 for the cost of a run.
The City’s Law Director, Tom McWatters III, noted that as he looked through the proposal that about 20% of the proposal related to finance matters while the other 80% related more to personnel issues and advised Sluder that the proposal should also be brought in front of the Personnel Committee.
Chief Sluder’s proposal to the Fulton County Commissioners is due by July 7.
Also coming before council was a request made by Carl Spadafore for the City to enact an ordinance to vacate an alley that is on property he is trying to sell. Spadafore explained that he has owned the property for several years but was only made aware of the title problem during the process of selling. He also explained that he has a buyer lined up for the property but is fearful that the buyer may change his mind if the legal work cannot be taken care of quickly. Mayor Doug Shaw responded that “Getting it done isn’t a problem. It’s just the time it may take.”
Council did inform Spadafore of methods that they may be able to expedite the process and that they will do whatever they can to ensure that the sale of the property goes through.
In department reports, Council heard from Police Chief Keith Torbet that all spots for the June 9 Youth Police Academy have been filled but that there are still spots available for Safety City. Torbet also reported that a total of 61 citations were issued during the recent “Click-It or Ticket” campaign. These included three citations for Driving Under the Influence as well as three citations for Driving Under Suspension. Torbet, however, was happy to report that none of the citations involved failure to use adequate child safety restraints.
Additionally Torbet reported that the department is in the process of purchasing a new fully outfitted Dodge Charger, at a cost of $34,000, with funds from the drug seizure fund. Chief Torbet would also like to notify citizens that Biddle Park will be closed to vehicle traffic at 10:00 pm on July 4 due to safety concerns.
Director of Public Service Dennis Richardson reported that the right-of-way plans for the impending Linfoot Street project are under review for submission to the Ohio Department of Transportation as well as gave a Fulton County Development Commission is being developed. The Commission places both economic development and maintenance in the hands of area business owners.
Legislative matters approved by council included the first reading of a resolution to amend the city’s annual Appropriation Ordinance by authorizing the Finance Director to increase or decrease certain line account appropriations with various funds listed within 2014; and the third reading of an ordinance requiring city contractors to hold state licenses. The ordinance will go into effect in 30 days. Also going into effect in 30 days is a resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into a mutual police aide agreement for emergency city police services with surrounding municipal corporations.
The next meeting of the Wauseon City Council will be held on Monday, June 16 at 5:00 PM in council chambers.