By: Jacob Kessler
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
The Wauseon City Council held their meeting on Monday, December 18th. The meeting began at 5:00 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence. Council first moved to approve minutes from the previous council meeting held on December 4th, as well as the Committee of the Whole meeting that was held on December 14th.
Director of Public Service Keith Torbet then proceeded to deliver minutes from the Park Board meeting.
Items discussed during the meeting were listed off, including the Wauseon Homecoming moving to Biddle Park for this upcoming year.
Many questions arose during the discussion, with it being decided that the Homecoming Committee would attend a park board meeting to better answer questions.
Additional discussions were also held regarding softball diamonds at Biddle Park. It was the board’s recommendation, for the time being, to investigate the reconditioning of two of the baseball diamonds on the northwest end of Biddle Park for multi-purpose use, which council approved.
This approval was only for the investigation of the matter, with pricing already having been quoted at $30,000 per field.
Four new fields were also said to have been discussed, with investigations needing to be done to see what a true need is.
Next heard was the tree commission meeting. It was stated a list of trees had been made that either needed to be removed or trimmed.
Work is also still being done to rewrite the city’s Tree Ordinance, which will be given to council for approval upon its completion.
Next came department head reports, with Fire Chief Phil Kessler stating the Christmas for Kids event went very well.
Police Chief Kevin Chittenden echoed this sentiment and stated there was a much larger turnout for first responders than in years past.
This was the first year there were more first responders than children, which was good to see. Chief Kessler also stated the Santa Experience at the Wauseon Depot would begin that night.
Torbet spoke next and informed council that the final leaf pickup had taken place earlier that day. Leaves will still be accepted from residents who drop them off behind the Public Works building at a designated spot.
After the first of the year. A brush pickup will be held as well. Conversation then shifted to a future street resurfacing project for Oak Street, with it being stated bids would have to be awarded by April.
It was then stated that the mayor would be sending a letter to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Dispatch, alerting them that the city would no longer be responding to non-mutual aid-requested calls for York Township. Law Director Tom McWatters stated that a press release would be sent out at that time.
Councilman Shane Chamberlin then voiced his disapproval of the city’s budget for 2024, which is up for approval.
His disappointment stems from the fact that no money was put aside for the creation of new softball fields at Biddle Park. He went on to say that he was voicing his opinion in order to lay a foundation for his vote later on.
The approval of legislation took place next, with the following items being approved. The first reading of Ordinance 2023-8 to make appropriations for current expenses and other expenditures of the City of Wauseon, State of Ohio, during the fiscal year ending December 31st, 2024. This vote was 5-1, with Chamberlin being the no vote.
The first reading of Ordinance 2023-9 providing for a city law director; assistant law director; setting a rate of compensation; and declaring an emergency. The first reading of Resolution 2023-33 approving a wage increase for full-time, non-union employees; and declaring an emergency.
The second reading of Ordinance 2023-6 amending section 191 of the codified ordinance of the City of Wauseon and declaring an emergency.
The second reading of Resolution 2023-16 authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement for a countywide emergency management agency pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 5502; and declaring an emergency.
The second reading of Resolution 2023-17 authorizing Holiday Pay for part-time, non-seasonal employees; and declaring an emergency.
The second reading of Resolution 2023-18 authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement for indigent defense services in county court with the Fulton County Commissioners; and declaring an emergency.
The second reading of Resolution 2023-20 authorizing the mayor to enter into agreements for health insurance coverage with Pareto Captive Services, Lucent Health Services, and Tokio Marine HCC; and declaring an emergency.
The second reading of Resolution 2023-21 authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with The Standard to provide life insurance and voluntary dental and vision insurance for full-time employees; and declaring an emergency.
The second reading of Ordinance 2023-7 amending section 1114 of the Codified Ordinances of the City of Wauseon to add a new section 1114.12 titled “Adult Use of Cannabis Operators”; and declaring an emergency.
Several council members questioned the fact that the ordinance was on the agenda as an emergency, with the sentiment being that they did not want to pass the ordinance right away.
Mayor Huner spoke to council and informed them that she hopes to get individuals together from Wauseon and different communities, in order to discuss the situation and gauge how people feel.
Councilman Harold Stickley also stated his view that marijuana is here, it is here to stay, and that it will increase costs for law enforcement and the fire department.
In his view, those who use marijuana should help cover those costs through the use of taxes. Public comment on the matter was also called for before member moved to vote as a regular item, and not as an emergency item. The item may be up for further consideration at the next regular meeting.
Council next moved to approve the 2024 holiday schedule, payment of the bills through December 31st, 2023, and payment of the bills that are separate from those due through the 31st.
Mayor Huner then presented councilman Scott Stiriz with a gift of appreciation for all he has done in his past eight years on council. With that, council moved to adjourn at 5:51 p.m.