Bucyrus Council opposes H.B. 601, hears about utility program
By Matt Echelberry
BUCYRUS — During Bucyrus City Council’s Nov. 20 meeting, concerns about House Bill 601 were raised. The bill, which is still in committee in the State House, would change how city income tax is managed, causing cities to lose revenue. More specifically, City Auditor Joyce Schifer estimated $500,000 per year in losses for Bucyrus.
In new business, Love referred H.B. 601 to Finance Committee. It will meet Nov. 26 at 6:15 p.m. in Council Chambers to discuss the bill.
Before opening meeting business, City Council President Sis Love extended sympathy to the family of local entrepreneur Harmon Guss, who passed away recently. She also congratulated City Law Director Matt Crall on winning the campaign for county prosecutor and thanked the citizens of Bucyrus for voting in favor of the levy renewal.
Also, Love reported that the defeat of the .5 percent levy increase will affect the city’s 2013 budget, and Council will keep the citizens updated.
One visitor addressed Council that evening. Mike Chambers, regional account manager for Utility Service Partners, Inc., gave an overview of a utility program offered by his company, which is an enterprise programs partner of the National League of Cities.
It is a utility program for water and sewer lines at no cost to the city. Homeowners who sign up for the optional program pay a small monthly fee of $4–6 per line to cover the cost of any maintenance or repair work that needs done to the portion of the lines that they own. Utility Service Partners uses local workers for the repair and maintenance.
Chambers added that the company is customer service-oriented and tries to tailor the product to each city’s needs and work with city governments. About 200 cities participate in the program, including 10 in Ohio.
A mailer with more information about the program will be included with utility bills in February or March, but residents may enroll any time. In the meantime, residents who would like more information may contact the Service-Safety Director’s office at 419–562-6767, ext. 221.
The Finance Committee met on Oct. 30. Chairman Steve Pifer reported that the only order of business was approving appropriations, which came before Council later during legislation.
In city officer reports, Mayor Roger Moore was absent that evening.
Service-Safety Director Jeff Wagner reported that city administration attended the open house at the new Crawford County Health Department on Oct. 31, saying that it is a nice, well-utilized facility. Other recent events they attended as well were: Ohio Municipal League Conference, Community Care March, Spooktacular, Bucyrus Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner and the Opiate Summit.
Wagner thanked 888 OhioComp for its donation of 60 turkeys to the community, divided among local churches and the Salvation Army, and also Velvet Ice Cream for allowing the use of its facility and trucks for delivery and pickup of the turkeys.
Administration was disheartened to learn that a sign at Harmon Park was vandalized by three juveniles. However, the offenders were caught and charged for the damages. “We’re grateful to the citizen who called it in,” Wagner added.
City Law Director Matt Crall reported that his last day in his current position is Jan. 6; he provided Council with the rules for hiring a replacement law director. Schifer referred to the Finance Committee making the necessary appropriations for year-end balances.
In legislation, Ord. 35–2012 appropriated $8,700 from each of the following accounts: waterworks, sewage disposal, waste management, solid waste and storm water utility. The funds went to the personal services item with the storm water administration category. The ordinance was adopted.
Candlelight shopping is Dec. 6, in downtown Bucyrus. Love encouraged local residents to support local business. The 2012 Annual Christmas Open House is Dec. 11 from 5–8 p.m. at Dillinger’s Event Center.
Also, Crawford County Children’s Services asked Council to participate in Adopt-a-Child. Council members each donated $10, which was to be used to purchase gifts for a child in need.