By: Chelsie Firestone – THE VILLAGE REPORTER
After Mayor Doug Shaw called the regularly scheduled December 16 meeting of the Wauseon City Council to order, council was given the opportunity to hear updates on the Linfoot Street Project by representatives of Peterman and Associates out of Findlay. Todd Jenkins and Brian Thomas attended the meeting on behalf of Peterman and Associates and Jenkins gave several updates on the much talked about and long awaited Linfoot Street Project, which will widen an increase safety along the currently narrow roadway.
Jenkins informed the council that Peterman and Associates have met with several property owners that will be affected by the project in order to make sure that any questions or concerns are addressed ahead of time.
Other updates provided by Jenkins include that his firm is currently revising the initial right-of-way drawings reviewed by ODOT and that soil analysis has been completed. Reviews by ODOT concerning the soil analysis came back with nine properties that will need further analysis. Of these nine, only three remain that need scheduled.
Work needing done in the future will include partial property purchases. While no whole properties need acquired, there are some instances where the city will need to require small corners or strips of land in order to accommodate the right of way plans. In response to a question posed by Councilor Don Mathews, Jenkins explained that all intersections within the scope of the project will comply with U.S. Department of Labor’s Americans with Disabilities Act and that ramps will also be constructed.
At this time the project, which is estimated at over $2 million funded by an 80/20 Small Cities Grant, is on track for the goal of completion in September 2016. Jenkins also noted that construction on the project is scheduled late in the year to provide hardened ground for utility and trench work and added that this also allows construction crews the opportunity to work in colder months.
More public meetings, which times and locations are not yet determined for, will be scheduled in the near future to provide concerned residents and property owners the opportunity to further review drawings and plans for the project as well as to voice any questions or concerns that they might have.
Reporting on behalf of the Street Committee, Councilor Shane Chamberlin also informed council that the Wauseon Athletic Boosters have purchased a new sign which honors various State Championships won by Wauseon Athletes. The new sign, which includes recent championships won, was intended to replace the sign currently placed in front of Dairy Queen. Unfortunately, however, the 10 foot wide sign is too wide to fit into the existing 7 foot right-of-way where the current sign is located. Chamberlin noted that the committee is a huge fan of the sign but that the Athletic Boosters will have to find another location for it. Dennis Richardson noted that he has been in contact with the boosters and that other options, including the potential of sliding the sign part way back onto Dairy Queen’s property, are being evaluated. Chamberlin thanked Richardson for his efforts in being proactive in working with the boosters to resolve the situation quickly so that the new sign can quickly find a home.
Police Chief Keith Torbet reported to council that the department has received tentative approval for the Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) for 2014. The grant can be used for a variety of purposes by the department, including supplies, equipment, and educational programs, that other grant moneys do not always include. Torbet would also like to remind everyone that residents and business owners need to shovel their walks within 24 hours of snowfall and that snow should not be shoveled into the roadway. It was also added that cars need removed from the streets as quickly as possible in order for the Public Works Department to adequately clean the streets. Concerning questions regarding who looks out for properties in need of shoveling and what the penalties are for not shoveling in a timely manner, Chief Torbet explained that the department is always on the look-out for properties needing shoveling but that he welcomes phone calls from concerned citizens so that the matter, which can pose a safety hazard, can be addressed quickly. He also explained that generally the department only give notices to property owners that remind the owners that they need to clear walk ways. He explained that this is almost always enough to get compliance and that he doesn’t particularly like to issue citations for failure to remove snow from walkways but that the code does allow the department to issue such citations if necessary.
Director of Public Works Dennis Richardson reported that the initial survey and inspection of one of the city’s water towers, which is due to be painted soon, went extremely well and that the inspectors noted that the tank was “one of the cleanest we’ve ever seen.” Director of Finance Jamie Giguere reported that she has finished issuing the Chamber gift certificates and continues her work on open enrollment insurance and industrial appraisals. Director of Law Thomas McWatters III reported that he is continuing his work on the police union contracts and that those should all be finalized in the near future.
Legislative matters brought before council included passage on first reading of Resolution 2013-38 which authorizes the mayor to enter into an agreement with Arcadis for engineering services for the design, bidding, and construction related to the secondary digestive cover replacement at the city’s water reclamation plant. Resolution 2013-39, which authorizes the police department to adopt the Wauseon Police Department Manual also passed on first reading.
Passing on second reading with emergency language included to suspend the rules requiring three readings were Ordinances 2013-13 and 2013-14. Combined, the ordinances amend a total of four sections (147.08, 147.20, 148.11, and 148.12) of the Codified Ordinances of the City of Wauseon. With passage under emergency languages, the ordinances are now in effect.
Also passing on second reading were Resolutions 2013-36 and 2013-37 which, combined, authorize the mayor to enter into agreements with Arcadis for engineering services for the design, bidding, and construction related to the primary settling tank and flocculation clarified equipment replacement at the city’s water reclamation plant and for the development of an Emergency Action Plan and Operations, Maintenance, and Inspection Manual for the city’s underground raw water reservoirs.
Prior to adjourning the meeting, Mayor Doug Shaw called forth Council President Karen Krumm and Councilor Jeff Stiriz to honor and recognize them both for their years of service to the city of Wauseon. Both Krumm and Stiriz attended their last meeting that Monday night as Krumm chose not to re-run and Stiriz lost his bid for re-election. Mayor Shaw thanked them both for their on-going commitment to the city as they have both just completed their twelfth year serving the city.
Chelsie Firestone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org