The August 7, 2023 meeting of the Wauseon City Council began with resident Mike Reeves addressing council regarding Biddle Park.
Reeves began by expressing he was upset with councilor Shane Chamberlin and his Facebook post about the condition of the park.
Reeves explained that himself and Parks and Recreation Director Matt Mennetti work hard doing their job and again stated his disappointment in Chamberlin’s social media post.
An emotional Reeves continued that his feelings had been hurt by Chamberlin’s comments and told council that he takes great pride in his work at the park.
He also stated he appreciates the volunteers that came out and took care of the weeds, as it is a job that he can no longer complete due to health issues.
Mayor Kathy Huner told Reeves that she appreciates the work he does adding she drives by the park often and sees him mowing the park.
She stated that there are 78 acres in Biddle Park that must be maintained, and it was a terrible year for weeds.
She said that the City of Wauseon, along with the other organizations that are involved in the community, take a lot of pride in the parks.
Council President Scott Stiriz said no one has had a problem with the mowing at Biddle Park, it was the weed trimming. He stated that he knows Reeves takes his job seriously.
Chamberlin made it clear that he does not have an issue with the mowing at Biddle Park. His concern was the details of the park, and that the weed trimming had been neglected.
Reeves stated that they were told to stay off the baseball diamonds due to the drains being put in and that’s why the weeds got high.
Mayor Huner stated that she recognizes that mowing is priority over the weeds. She stated that with dry weather followed by lots of rain, the weeds can grow fast.
She said she does not completely disagree with council that it could look like the park is being neglected with weeding and other things.
She said there could be other things that Public Works could’ve been working on at the time with Chamberlin stating he doesn’t think that this is Public Works issue.
Mayor Huner and Public Works Director Keith Torbet clarified that the employees at Biddle Park are considered Public Works.
Torbet went on to state that Reeves does an excellent job and he wanted to make that point clear to everyone.
He said there were things not done at Biddle Park and the city employees had to prioritize other things going on around the city.
Mayor Huner said it is a shame that a city employee would have to go through that and stated that next year they could possibly consider getting summer help. She thanked Reeves for addressing council.
Chamberlin stated that to minimize things by saying just the weeds are neglected is a disservice to Biddle Park.
He said there are maintenance issues beyond the weeds to which Torbet agreed. Torbet told council to call his office if there is a problem they see with Biddle Park.
He stated that his department has a lot of city to cover. Mayor Huner said there are a lot of different solutions to this problem.
Then Chamberlin sought clarification of the roles of the Biddle Park employees and the Public Works employees, which Huner clarified for him.
Chamberlin said that he believes that Mennetti and Hugo Barajas (Assistant Director) need to ask for help if they need it.
Tobert said again to council to call him if there is a problem, adding that he would love to find people that would enjoy doing the type of work that needs to be done at Biddle Park.
Fire Chief Phil Kessler said the Engine they got from Wisconsin is in Cleveland where equipment will be installed and shelving mounted.
Kessler expected to get the truck back later in the week and it will be stationed at the fire department.
The department is working with Soma for their dispatching software along with Wauseon Schools in preparation for the start of the school year.
Police Chief Kevin Chittenden opened his report by saying with school starting soon he encourages people to take more time in the morning with the extra traffic, and to watch for school buses.
He is looking for another crossing guard and the job has been posted. The department recently assisted with a 5K in the city, and he thanked the Fulton County Amateur Radio Club for helping with the event as well.
Keith Torbet stated he met with the engineers on the rebuild of Chestnut Street. He said preliminary drawings are done, and they will be submitted to the OPWC for possible grant funding.
He has asked them for an engineer’s estimate to see if it is something that will be possible for 2024.
He will be holding a pre-construction meeting with Geddiss paving on the work they will be doing soon in the city.
Torbet informed council that the monument cleaning has been completed. The estimation to get the monument at North Park restored is $8,700.00. He will be bringing that to the Finance Committee for approval or he will be putting it in next year’s budget.
Mayor Huner said because of the heat there’s been a lot of potholes and the city is very fortunate to have the right material to be fixing them.
City Attorney Tom McWatters pointed out the legislation under first reading, Resolution 2023-10 and 11 are new resolutions.
The previous legislation died in the previous council meeting so they will be represented to council under new numbers.
The Charter states that an Ordinance, Resolution or Motion does not pass unless approved by a majority of council members.
Councilor Brandon Tijerina presented a report from the previous Safety and Code meeting on July 25, 2023.
He explained the two recommendations that were being brought before council to be voted on.
First was a recommendation that the use of golf carts be legalized in the City of Wauseon, subject to certain restrictions.
Councilor Chamberlin asked Chief Chittenden if Assistant Chief Nathan Hartsock, previously of Delta, if they had golf carts legalized.
Chief Chittenden said yes, Delta has legalized golf carts and Assistant Chief Hartsock has not mentioned any golf cart incidents. Chittenden stated that Hartsock is not in favor of legalizing golf carts in the City of Wauseon.
Councilor Harold Stickley shared an incident with council that could’ve been negative for the golf cart driver who was driving on a state highway.
Mayor Huner shared that she believes council has the best interest in creating the proper restrictions for the golf carts if the recommendation does pass.
Councilor Chamberlin asked Chief Kessler if he is still firm in his position of not objecting to the idea with Kessler replying he doesn’t object to the idea.
The vote on legalizing golf carts was 3-3 with Councilors Sara Heising, Chamberlin, and Stickley voting no leading to Mayor Huner casting a yes vote to break the tie.
Council then unanimously passed the second recommendation that the administration propose an amendment to the Codified Ordinances which would prohibit citizens from installing water retention systems other than those above ground.
FIRST READING OF LEGISLATION OR EMERGENCY
Resolution 2023-10: A resolution authorizing the mayor to execute an amendment to the Collective Bargaining Agreement with The Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association Patrol Officer’s Union; and declaring an emergency. Vote: 5-1 (Councilor Schneider voting no).
A motion was made to place Resolution 2023-10 on final reading and the final reading be passed was moved by Councilor Chamberlin and seconded by Councilor Heising. Vote: 5-1 (Councilor Schneider voting no).
Resolution 2023-11: A resolution authorizing the mayor to execute an amendment to the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association full-time Dispatchers and Records Technicians; and declaring an emergency motion to place Resolution 2023-11 on emergency reading. Vote: 5-1 (Councilor Schneider voting no).
A motion was then made to place Resolution 2023-11 on final reading. Vote: 5-1 (Councilor Schneider voting no).
SECOND READING OF LEGISLATION OR EMERGENCY
Resolution 2023-9: A resolution authorizing the mayor to sign the quote from Zoll Medical Corporation dated July 12, 2023 for the purchase of supplies for the fire Department; and declaring an emergency.
The resolution and subsequent emergency reading were passed by a 6-0 vote.
Before adjourning, council set Trick or Treat in the city for Tuesday, October 31, 2023, from 6-7:30 p.m. and passed a motion to accept the lowest and best salt bid.