By: Chelsie Firestone – THE VILLAGE REPORTER
The January 20 regular meeting of the Wauseon City Council was called to order in council chambers by Mayor Doug Shaw at 5:00 PM with all members present. After the opening of the meeting, including the Pledge of Allegiance, a moment of silence, and approval of the prior meeting’s minutes, council went on to witness the awarding of the Tree Commission’s Booster Award.
Jim Spiess, Tree Commission chair, was on hand to present the award to 2013 award recipient Walt Lange. Spiess explained that this marks the fourth year that the commission has honored a member of the community with the award and that Mr. Lange was chosen do his donation of several Chestnut trees to the city as well as his commitment and assistance with several educational programs.
Lange thanked both the commission and Council for the award but explained “I didn’t expect an award for anything. I was just trying to spread Chestnuts around”. Chestnuts donated to the city include five different varieties located at the corner of roads 3 and C. In addition to expressing his gratitude for the recognition which he received, Lange invites everyone to come out and enjoy the trees.
After the presentation of the Tree Commission Booster Award to Mr. Lange, Council moved on to hear from Council President Heather Kost that no committee reports would be heard for the evening. However, Kost did provide her listing of appointments to the various council committees for this term. The committees are comprised as follows:
•Building and Grouds – Fred Allen (Chair), Rick Frey, and Don Mathews
•Finance – Don Mathews (Chair), Rick Frey, and Heather Kost
•Personnel – Heather Kost (Chair), Rick Frey, and Fred Allen
•Streets – Shane Chamberlin (Chair), Fred Allen, and Don Mathews
•Parks – Shane Chamberlin (Chair), and Kathy Huner
•Safety and Code – Kathy Huner (Chair), Don Mathews, and Shane Chamberlin
•Utilities – Fred Allen (Chair), Heather Kost, and Kathy Huner
Department Head reports followed and were opened by David Wright, Regional Planning Director. Wright reported to council that he has been working with the Ohio Development Services Agency on programs and grants that may be available this year. Additionally, he has been working on the Community Development Block Grant program and starting the 2014 application process. This process includes the application for the Downtown Revitalization Grant.
Fire Chief Rick Sluder reported that he has been working on grants as well as fire and EMS training and noted that there is a good deal of training scheduled over the next couple of months. Police Chief Keith Torbet reported that the Police Department has been working on closing up 2013 grants so that the 2014 grants can begin. He also informed Council that he has been notified that Drug Take Back Day has been scheduled for the last Saturday in April.
Code Administrator Tom Hall reported to Council that he is currently reviewing the street parking regulations, which haven’t been updated since the early 1980s. He also notified council that Habitat for Humanity is looking for lots to build on in town.
Director of Public Service Dennis Richardson reported to Council the economic impact on the city after Winter Storm Ion passed through on January 6 and 7. Richardson reported that the city spent approximately $8,000 in overtime and an additional $6,000 for salt as a result of the storm. He also explained that the salt expense was not as high as anticipated due to less salt being used as a result of the extreme temperatures, which were too cold for the salt to work effectively. Richardson also noted that the Economic Development Director of Fulton County has resigned and explained that, as a part of the Executive Committee of the CIC, he is working with the Fulton County Commissioners on short term and long term plans as a result. In his update on the Linfoot Street project, Richardson gave notice that there will be a public meeting on February 6 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM that will allow for the public to look at the plans and ask questions about the project. Adjacent property owners will receive individual invitational letters to the meeting.
Mayor Shaw responded to Richardson’s report by expressing his and the residents’ gratitude to the Public Works Department and employees for the job they did on clearing the snow from roadways with Ion’s passing through.
Director of Finance Jamie Gigurere reported to council that the auditors will be starting the 2013 audit as well as that she has been gathering information for the GAAP accounting report. Director of Law Thomas McWatters III reported that he has been working on finalizing some projects but that he had no new matters to report to council during the meeting.
In legislative matters, Ordinance 2014-01, which provides for a City Law Director, Assistant Law Directors and which sets a rate of compensation for those directors, was brought before council and passed on emergency. Prior to the final vote pertaining to the ordinance, Councilor Shane Chamberlin asked for clarification regarding the pay rates for the Law Director and Assistant Law Directors. McWatters explained that the pay rate is set as a distribution between the positions, that the base rate is set at $650 per month, and that the city paid an additional $23,000 over the base rate in 2013. With passage as an emergency, the ordinance is now in effect. Similarly, Ordinance 2014-02, which provides for and sets a rate for a City Prosecutor, passed as an emergency and is now in effect.
New business addressed by council included the authorization of the Director of Finance
to reallocate $3,100 from the General Fund account entitled Wages-Recreation to the General Fund account entitled EMA Assessment. Authorization came after Councilor Huner asked Council President Kost if council could receive a bi-annual input regarding the changes planned for the Fulton County EMA. Council President Kost agreed and the authorization passed with a 5-0 vote and Kost abstaining.
Also approved was a request from the Wauseon Athletic Boosters to place the new State Championship sign, which had been previously determined to be too large to be set in replacement of the old sign in front of Dairy Queen, on the north side of the bike path right of way, west of Shoop Avenue, and facing north for view by south bound traffic. The city will be setting the posts for the design.
Additionally, the re-appointment of Margaret A. Murphy as Clerk of Council for the term February 1, 2014 – January 31, 2016 as well as the appointment of David Carroll to the Park Board for the term January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2018 were both approved by council.
The meeting was adjourned after the approval of the bills and without need for executive session.
Chelsie Firestone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org