The issue of publicizing public meetings came up earlier this week. A Parks Forum was called by City Council’s Parks and Streets Committee on March 24 (rescheduled from an earlier date). It was intended to be an informal discussion for citizens to provide feedback on improvements for city parks.
About two minutes into the meeting, local attorney Roberta Wade walked in. She was followed by City Treasurer Paula Durbin and citizens Don and Rosie Faulds.
Wade pulled out a newspaper and pointed out the meeting had only been advertised one time. She said meetings are supposed to be advertised at least twice in order to give people fair notice.
Aside from the Inquirer, there was only one person in attendance that night.
Committee members Jon Kleinknecht and Eric Webber agreed they needed to adjourn the meeting. The forum ended before it began.
Council President Carl Watt brought up the issue of meeting notices during the City Council meeting on March 25. While the committee erred on the side of caution in adjourning the forum, he said it was not necessary.
He then read a section from Ordinance 2014-1, which lists the Council Rules:
Rule 5, Notice of Meetings: “Notice of Council meetings shall be published in a newspaper of local circulation two (2) times prior to the Council meeting, and posted on the Council bulletin board in the City Building lobby. Notice of Council committee meetings shall be published in a newspaper of local circulation once prior to the committee meeting, and posted on the Council bulletin board in the City Building lobby.”
“After the challenge was made, we felt it was in our best interest to adjourn the meeting. But it would have been legal had we proceeded,” Watt concluded.
In other matters during the March 25 meeting, YMCA Executive Director Terry Gribble informed city officials that the YMCA would once again be operating the Heise Park Pool this year. The pool will be open June 3 - Aug. 16, which is one week longer than last year. “The Y has been doing this for several years…It’s a natural fit for us to be involved with this and the city has been very cooperative,” he commented.
Gribble said due to an increase in minimum wage, the cost of operating the pool has increased. Admission will be increased by 50 cents to cover the change. The price for pool passes has not increased since 2009; Gribble said it is up to City Council to decide on the price but he recommended keeping it the same.
The mayor noted the YMCA sent the city a list of improvement needs at the pool, such as roof repairs and leveling the concrete sidewalks. He confirmed that the city will use money from the Recreation Fund to address some of those needs this year.
Also, Jon Kleinknecht gave “kudos” to the Galion Police Department for swearing in Craig Taylor as an honorary police officer on March 12. Craig is 28-years-old and has been battling cancer since his childhood.
The audience gave a round of applause.
In mayor’s comments, Tom O’Leary said the condition of Portland Way South is deteriorating rapidly. Last week crews from the Street and Sewer Maintenance departments began making repairs. The potholes and other damage will be excavated and filled with a cold patch mix.
While this is only a temporary solution, O’Leary noted that asphalt for a proper resurfacing would not be available until April or May, which was too long to wait.
The city is also determining the cost to fix State Route 309/61 from the Grove Avenue junction (where ODOT’s road widening project ends) south to the city limits. He said the foundation underneath the pavement in that area is failing and needs rebuilt.