MINUTES OF THE VAN WERT CITY COUNCIL January 9, 2017 The meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Council President Weir. The invocation was given by Pastor Stoller of the Ross Church of the Brethren.
On call of the roll: Markward, Straley, Trittschuh, Mergy, Marshall and Tomlinson.
Straley made a motion to excuse Fisher; seconded by Tomlinson; with all concurring.
Mergy made a motion to approve the Agenda as presented for 01/09/16; seconded by Tomlinson; with all concurring.
Tomlinson made a motion to approve the minutes for the 12/28/16 Council meeting; seconded by Marshall; with all concurring.
COMMENTS, COMMUNICATIONS & PETITIONS
President Weir stated that he received communications from the Ohio Treasury Office and that a representative would be coming January 23rd during Council to explain programs that they offer.
Weir read an email stating that Financial Disclosure Statements are due to the Ohio Ethics Board by April 3rd or May 15th depending on if you are seeking reelection. Weir noted that there were 172 EMS runs for December (a new record), and 19 Fire runs.
Several citizens expressed their opinions about the proposed alcohol ordinance. Hope Wallace, director of the Wasenberg Art Center, feels that citizens in Van Wert are resistant to change and hopes that by passing this Ordinance the City can grow. Ernie Geiger, who owns a business in town and located to Van Wert five years ago, feels that the Ordinance does not encourage children to drink because ethics are taught at home.He is in favor of the Ordinance because it will encourage downtown growth.Ralph Kreischer stated that he feels the Ordinance is a bad choice that will negatively affect children. Jason Feasby expressed that the Ordinance could cost lives. Dawn Feasby feels that changing the Ordinance would be dangerous. Stuart Jewett stated that people feel two ways on this issue, for it or against it, and that it is time to cater to everyone not just those against it. He feels that this would be done responsibly and that change can be good for the City. Linda Hartman asked several questions about the proposed changes that were answered by the Law Director. She stated she is against drinking on public property. Adam Reis stated that the permit process is long and involved and that only certain groups could pull it off. This would be done legally and responsibly and could attract people to events and lead to growth. Larry Niswonger felt the City was trying to justify something that won’t have a good outcome. Pastor Paul Hamrick is against the Alcohol Ordinance and feels that it won’t lead to profits but will be very dangerous. Mayor Mazur stepped in to clarify past events held in the City and errors stated by Hamrick. Joe Jarrod is not against the Ordinance. He feels that everyone needs to be responsible for their own actions. Lastly, Mathew Sunderland stated he is against the Ordinance because of both the family and law problems it could cause. President Weir thanked everyone for their comments and was pleased to see Council Chambers full.
Shawn Hire voiced his concerns about the trash pickup Ordinance. He felt that this Ordinance would hurt new businesses. Tomlinson suggested tabling the third and final vote and backing this up into Committee to discuss these concerns. All agreed with both Weir and Mayor Mazur clarifying they were not trying to hurt businesses but rather clean up the City.
Zack Kreischer inquired about the railway crossing on Anderson Avenue. Fleming reported that this would be fixed in the coming week by the railroad company.
Joe Jared handed out a document showing his negative view on the tax increase. No comments were made.
Straley noted that the Woodland Cemetery Board would be at the January 23rd meeting.
MAYOR: Mayor Mazur read a 2016 Year in Review speech in which he highlighted accomplishments from the previous year. He took the opportunity to thank Jay Fleming and Pete Weir for their help in a successful transition. He also thanked member of City Council for the progress they have made this year. Highlights from year 2016 included: coming together with the County to form a joint Economic Development Group, working towards a five year strategic plan, securing emergency services for Pleasant Township, seeing all the pride and excellence that all City Departments have in regards to working for the City and providing services, managing the operating budget for the City, and continuing to foster small business growth. Mayor Mazur noted that the budget would be an ongoing topic and that he hopes that the City can gain voter support in this issue and that many more talks are underway to explain the situation. It was noted that many other cities in Ohio are in the same situation. Mayor Mazur explained that the future is bright for the City and that he believes it is filled with hardworking people with many excellent opportunities.
SAFETY SERVICE DIRECTOR: Fleming requested a Properties and Equipment Meeting in regards to the donation of a small piece of property. Fleming noted that work on the railroad crossings on both Anderson and Washington Streets would take place this week. Trittschuh asked about the salt supply, to which Fleming responded that the supplY was fine but usage was up over last year.
AUDITOR: Balyeat reviewed year end financials. It was noted that local taxes were up $151,000 over last year, while state shared taxes were down. Fees from the Municipal Court were up over last year as well. Revenues were $226,000 behind last year due mostly to the Job Ready Site and the Port Authority Grant. Balyeat emphasized that the City is still using the .22 Fund for the 5th year now to pay for police and fire salaries and benefits.
LAW DIRECTOR: Hatcher reported that he received an email regarding golf carts and that he would be looking into this more and would have a report on his findings. He also stated that having Town Hall style meetings in regards to the income tax issue would not be a violation of the Sunshine Laws.
PARKS AND RECREATION: Markward gave an update about the dog park stating that they would be looking at properties in the City in the coming weeks, and that donations are still being accepted at the Van Wert County Foundation.
JUDICIARY AND ANNEXATION: Tomlinson had no report.
WATER AND SEWER: Straley had no report.
HEALTH, SERVICE AND SAFETY: Marshall noted that the Law Director is currently preparing legislation regarding the donation bins in town. A Health, Service, and Safety Committee Meeting was scheduled for January 23rd from 7:00-7:30 p.m. to discuss aligning trash and recycling pickup in the City.
FINANCE: Mergy had no report.
PROPERTIES AND EQUIPMENT: Mergy reviewed the Committee Meeting held prior to Council in which a cell phone tower lease was discussed along with revenue from this lease. Mergy made a motion asking the Law Director to prepare legislation allowing the Safety-Service Director to sign and negotiate contracts with American Tower Corporation and declaring an emergency; seconded by Tomlinson; with all concurring. Mergy made a motion to introduce ORDINANCE NUMBER: 17-01-001 AN ORDINANCE TO AUTHORIZE THE SAFETY-SERVICE DIRECTOR TO NEGOTIATE AND SIGN CONTRACTS WITH AMERICAN TOWER CORPORATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF RENEWING OUR CELL TOWER LEASES, AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY, seconded by Tomlinson, with all concurring. Mergy made a motion to suspend statutory rules; seconded by Tomlinson; with all concurring. Mergy made a motion to pass ORDINANCE NUMBER 17-01-001 on its first and final reading; seconded by Tomlinson; with all concurring. A Properties and Equipment Committee Meeting was scheduled for January 23rd from 6:55-7:00 p.m. to discuss the donation of property.
STREETS AND ALLEYS: Trittschuh had no report.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Tomlinson had no report.
Mayor Mazur let it be known that he would be out of the office from January 16th through the 22nd, and that he would not be at the January 23rd Council Meeting due to attending a Mayor’s Forum.
ORDINANCE Number: 16-12-049 Committee: Finance AN ORDINANCE TO ESTABLISH THE SALARY FOR THE POSITIONS OF CITY TREASURER, CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS AND CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT FOR THE YEARS 2018 AND 2019. THIRD AND FINAL, WITH ALL CONCURRING.
RESOLUTION Number: 16-12-051 Committee: Parks and Recreation A RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE DEVELOPMENT OF STATE AND US BICYLE ROUTES SET OUT BY THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF STATE HIGHWAY AND TRANSPORTATION HIGHWAY OFFICIALS (AASHTO) AND THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSORTATION (ODOT). THIRD AND FINAL, WITH ALL CONCURRING.
Tomlinson made a motion to tableOrdinance Number: 16-12-052 AN ORDINANCE TO ADD SECTION 152.45 OF THE VAN WERT CITY CODE OF ORDINANCES until further discussions can take place; seconded by Mergy; with all concurring.
Ordinance Number: 16-12-053 Committee: Judiciary and Annexation AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND SECTIONS 152.20, 152.59, AND 152.86(c) OF THE VAN WERT CITY CODE OF ORDINANCES. THIRD AND FINAL, WITH ALL CONCURRING.
Ordinance Number: 16-12-056 Committee: Judiciary and Annexation AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND SECTION 93.10 OF THE VAN WERT CITY CODE OF ORDINANCES. THIRD AND FINAL, WITH ALL CONCURRING.
Ordinance Number: 16-12-058 Committee: Finance AN ORDINANCE AMENDING ORDINANCE NO. 5818-82, COMMONLY KNOWN AS THE CITY INCOME TAX ORDINANCE TO INCREASE THE TAX RATE, AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY. SECOND READING, ADVISORY VOTE WITH ALL CONCURRING. Tomlinson made a motion to adjourn at 9:06 p.m.; seconded by Straley; with all concurring.