Galion citizens comment
By Matt Echelberry
During citizen comments at the Oct. 9 Galion City Council meeting, Bob Cerar was critical of Council member Roberta Wade. In particular, Cerar commented on her questions during the presentation earlier in the meeting from representatives of American Municipal Power.
He referred to two letters from AMP that Wade mentioned during the presentation (see City Council story on page 1 of this issue for details). “If I understood correctly, there were two things Roberta was looking for. One of them was a letter she thought showed we (the City) were being billed for something that we weren’t. Is that correct?” Cerar asked.
John Bentine, general counsel for AMP, affirmed that Galion has not been charged anything for the stranded costs of the AMP Generation Station project because final costs have not yet been determined, pending the outcome of an ongoing litigation case. “If the outcome is successful and we reuse that property, there might not be any stranded costs,” Bentine concluded.
After the AMP representatives left, Cerar said, “I felt bad for these folks because they came all the way up here and sat through this entire meeting for a bunch of mistakes and misunderstandings…by somebody who is an attorney, somebody who has been spending months going over this and over this with people, about how you councilmen are leading us down the wrong path because you aren’t taking into account all these errors.”
Cerar accused Wade of claiming that Galion has been paying extra money to AMP and that she “went looking for anybody who could feed her delusion and make the city look bad.”
“I’m so embarrassed for our city,” Cerar said. “For someone who would do this to make my city look stupid, make my council look dumb, make my city manager look inept. So she can try to make herself look good.”
He felt it was time for her to be taken off Council because “she is not doing any benefit to Galion” and “digging the city deeper into any holes she can create,” and doing so purposefully.
Bud Moffett, another citizen who spoke that evening, also criticized Wade for some of her comments, and also for being a part of the Charter Amendment initiative. He quoted a previous issue of the Inquirer about the initiative: “The issue is that the Charter/City Manager form of government has been a failure for the city of Galion.”
Moffett accused Wade of being part of the failure, if the statement is true, because she is a Council member. “Why does Council keep putting up with her mouth?” Moffett continued. “Why don’t they do something about it?”
“I’m going to refrain from getting into an argument with you,” Wade responded.
Kurtiss Hirt, owner of Internet Cafe, spoke next. He said he would like to be included in future Laws and Ordinances Committee meetings to offer his input about the internet cafe legislation.
“I would also like to invite anybody that has not come down to learn about how our business works and what it is,” Hirt said. “Hopefully we can get things resolved in an amicable manner.”
Council member Walter Keib, who visited the business, responded to Hirt. “I really appreciated your patience with me. I didn’t know anything about sweepstakes, so I really appreciated the explanation.”
Council member Cathy George welcomed him to come to the next committee meeting on Nov. 13 after the City Council meeting.
Kenny Saunders also addressed Council. Two weeks ago, the well went dry at his home on South Street. He said he would like to tap into city water because he cannot fix the well and wants to provide his family with better quality water rather than digging a new well.
“This is great for us (the City) because we get another utility customer,” Wade commented.
George moved to put legislation on the agenda of the next Council meeting in two weeks; the motion passed. City Manager Gene Toy offered advice on what Saunders could do in the meantime, such as getting an estimate from a contractor and talking to someone from the Building and Zoning Department about what permits he will need.
John Rossington, who is running for county commissioner in the Nov. 6 election, spoke next. He said is is running as an independent because party politics are getting in the way of progress.
“I’ve been attending Council meetings for the past five years because I think it’s important to know the people you represent,” Rossington stated. He asked for support from the voters.