Republican Women get Galion updates
At the July 9 meeting for the Republican Women, Galion City Manager Gene Toy was the guest speaker. He updated the group on what was happening in Galion, including several projects and the initiative for amending the City Charter.
One of the major projects Toy mentioned was the widening of State Route 598, which is currently set to begin in July of 2014. The road will be widened from the intersection at Heise Park Lane all the way to Grove Street, which is by the Galion Community Hospital, and the bridge by Church Street will be replaced by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). The $3.3 million endeavor is being paid for via a $2.2 million grant, $400,000 in local funds, and ODOT is paying $700,000 for the bridge replacement.
Sis Love, president of Republican Women, was concerned about traffic rerouting during the project. Toy said that the city is working with ODOT and businesses on that stretch of the road to come up with solutions for the rerouting. He said one option discussed was maintaining one lane of traffic for the duration of the construction, but was not possible due to the bridge replacement and the high traffic level that goes through S.R. 598.
“It would be less expensive to close the road completely, at least during the bridge replacement. We’re considering widening the road on one side of the intersection [with State Route 19] and finishing it completely before moving on to the other side,” Toy stated.
The project will take at least one full construction season and will also address the base failure under the road on the south side of the intersection. In addition, sidewalks will be added to both sides of the road.
The city is also undergoing an electrical distribution upgrade. Toy said that most non-Galion residents do not realize that Galion has municipal power, meaning that electricity is maintained by local agencies instead of large power companies. One advantage, he said, is that Galion residents can get their power back on faster after storms, like the recent one that Ohio is still recuperating from.
Toy also said that Galion is still under a fiscal emergency but has made progress toward recovery. While he admitted that it was the worst financial situation the city had ever experienced by far, he said that the five year recovery plan is helping and will hopefully get Galion out of its current status by the end of 2014.
One member asked what would happen if the change in the Charter was successful. Toy responded, “It remains to be seen whether or not the effort is successful.” He found it interesting that it took a lot of time and work in the 1980s to create the Charter but somewhat simple to put an option on the ballot to get rid of it.
However, he said that there are still a lot of steps that need to happen before it goes on the ballot of the November election. The Board of Elections must verify all of the signatures, the Law Director must approve the language of the amendment and then City Council has the final say on whether or not it gets put on the ballot.
Toy also mentioned that the new MedFlight station at the Galion Municipal Airport is open and local manufacturing is growing.
In old business, July 16 is the deadline for candidates requesting campaign funding from Republican Women. Aug. 7 is scheduled as the special election in Bucyrus for the income tax levy. Bucyrus Mayor Roger Moore attended the meeting and said that the city is in dire need to pass the levy.
The next meeting for Republican Women is Aug. 13 at noon, in the back room of the Pelican House. Some political candidates running in this year’s election will attend.