Council discusses much legislation after public hearing
By Matt Echelberry
Galion City Council held a meeting on Oct. 9. After a presentation from representatives of American Municipal Power, Council’s regular business began.
First there was a public hearing for an alley vacation immediately behind 421 Sherman Street. The vacation was requested by David Weir, who was present that evening. He owns property on both sides of the alley.
No one from the audience spoke about the vacation and Fire Chief Phil Jackson said the Fire Department did not have a problem with the change.
The public hearing came to a close and Council moved into legislation. Ord. 2012–84 vacated 45 feet of the said alley; it passed as a first reading.
Ord. 2012–79 adopted new building and zoning fees. It was originally on the agenda as an emergency ordinance, but Council member Roberta Wade moved to change it to a first reading; the motion passed.
Council then discussed the ordinance, which adds some lines items, such as “annual temporary changeable copy sign,” and “independent fire suppression system.”
Wade suggested designating a specific line item for handicap ramps. She made a motion for this, as well as the permit fee for handicap ramps to be set at $10 (plus the $25 zoning fee). The motion was passed.
The ordinance also changes the amounts for some fees, such as increasing Plumbing Permit for 2 or less traps/fixtures, and 3 or less traps/fixtures by $25, and increasing replacement hot water heater permits by $10.
This ordinance passed as a first reading.
Ord. 2012–77 transferred appropriations in the General Fund to the Issue 1 fund in the amount of $79,594. It passed as an emergency. Ord. 2012–78 put the money received recently from a FEMA grant ($70,300) into the fire department’s Furniture and Small Equipment Fund. Jackson said this money is being used to purchase smoke detectors, lithium batteries and reflective house signs.
These materials will be given to residents who request them, free of charge. For more information, contact the Fire Department at 419–468-5580. The ordinance passed as an emergency.
Ord. 2012–80 authorized the city manager to execute a lease agreement with James Air Cargo, Inc. to rent a loading dock at the airport. The company will pay rent during the one year lease at $7,200. This ordinance also passed as an emergency.
Ord. 2012–81 authorized the city manager to advertise for bids for the Shumaker Ditch Storm Sewer System project. A reinforced, concrete storm sewer conduit and related materials will be installed east of Easton Way to Sixth Avenue, and north across Harding Way East. It will be funded through a SCIP loan from the Ohio Public Works Commission ($813,770) and a local share of $350,000.
Council member Cathy George felt this project has been a “long time coming” because of the flooding and safety hazards in that area.
A citizen asked if the City would be looking into the tiling on Sixth Avenue as well. He said water does not drain properly, which is why that area floods so easily.
Council President Gail Baldinger instructed the city manager to have workers look at that tiling when plans for the project are finalized. The ordinance passed as an emergency.
Ord. 2012–82 approved a street resurfacing project using $130,000 in state grants and a local share of $200,311. Portions of the following will be resurfaced: Shady Lane, Hessenauer Drive, Goldenrod Drive, Wildflower Drive, Belleflower Place, Meadow Lane and Church Street. It passed as an emergency.
Ord. 2012–83 authorized the city manager to apply for a SCIP loan in the amount of $729,140 under Round 27 of Issue 1 funding from the OPWC. If the City is awarded the loan, the funds and a local match of $200,000 will be used for the South East Storm Sewer Phase 1 project. It passed as an emergency.
Ord. 2012–75 enacted a new chapter to the Codified Ordinances for the regulation of computerized sweepstakes and internet cafe devices. The legislation came before Council at the Sept. 25 meeting but was tabled for the Oct. 9 meeting. Under the legislation, any business of this kind would need to pay several annual fees, which was objected by numerous citizens at the Sept. 25 Council meeting.
“I went there and appreciated the hospitality,” City Manager Gene Toy said. “I just wanted to see for myself what it was, not listen to rumors. It’s a nice operation.”
Council member Tom Fellner visited the business as well and talked to the owner. Afterward, he did some further research. The legislation on the table was drafted based on an ordinance in Macedonia, Ohio. “I called Macedonia today and I found out they don’t have any internet cafes within their city limits,” Fellner stated.
He also called people in Fremont and Northwood Village, cities that do have internet cafes in operation, and asked about their respective regulations on the businesses. In light of the new information, Fellner moved to send the legislation back to the Laws and Ordinances Committee.
George, who serves as chair of the committee, said she had no objection to the motion, agreeing that the fees were “enormous.” The motion to send back to committee passed.
That evening was the second reading for Ord. 2012–76, to adopt a collection policy for delinquent utility customers. The policy explains the schedule of when notices will be sent out to those customers, when utility shut-offs will occur, and when billing information will be sent to a third party collection agency. (Full details of the policy were explained in the Sept. 29 issue of the Inquirer.)
The ordinance passed as a second reading.
Council then moved into committee business beginning with Finance. Wade, chair of the Finance Committee, reviewed the last committee meeting. She said they looked at utility billing for August, in which 1,037 shut off notices were sent and 128 were actually shut-off.
Wade also went over the year-to-date financial summary with Finance Director Karen Walters.
Laws and Ordinances will have its next meeting on Nov. 13, after the City Council meeting. It will be revising the legislation for internet cafe legislation.
Planning, Zoning and Utilities will have two public hearings on Nov. 27, during the Council meeting. One is in regards to tattoo parlor locations, the other is for the zoning setback on residential handicap ramps.
The Parks and Recreation Committee met immediately before the Council meeting. Chair Ken Bodkins said he has not received any calls recently about the parks, but did get asked about the possibility of an ice rink this winter. He was skeptical of the idea but will look into it.