GALION — An ordinance for the purchase of a Vactor Jet truck without the proper procedures being followed was almost tabled during the Galion City Council meeting Tuesday evening.
Records show that a check for $334,224 was sent to Best Equipment Company for the purchase of the truck on July 19. The ordinance needed to be approved by council before the purchase was complete.
“It was a mistake we made,” said auditor Brian Treisch about the lack of legislation.
According to city law director Thomas Palmer, the Ohio Revised Code dictates that the approval from council of an ordinance regarding the purchase should have been completed before the check was sent but since that did not happen, council needed to approve the ordinance after the fact.
Council member Susan Bean made a motion to table the ordinance so council members could research the issue further before approving it but that motion died with a vote of four to three. The three votes to table the ordinance came from council members Bean, Jim Hedges and Dale Baldinger.
Mayor Tom O’Leary said the purchase of the truck was included in the city’s budget for this year, which was approved by the state auditor’s office.
“This piece of equipment is used daily,” O’Leary said.
O’Leary said the truck’s equipment is used to remove debris from the city’s sewers and can be used by the line department to remove electric poles when needed.
“This is a piece of equipment that is completely necessary,” O’Leary said.
O’Leary said the truck replaces old equipment that no longer worked properly or at all.
The ordinance was passed as an emergency.
Ann Heimlich, owner of Grandma Ann’s Attic, was at the council meeting to express her disgust with the city’s design review board regarding windows she purchased for her building on Harding Way East.
Heimlich said she requested meeting minutes from the May 27 meeting of the Design Review Board but was given minutes dated May 26.
“I was told by my contractor that the windows had been approved because of safety reasons,” said Heimlich.
Heimlich says that when her contractor began to install the windows, he was issued a stop-work order by the city.
“I was told they were approved but now I am being told that they do not fit with the historical appearance of the building and I can’t put them in. I spent $2,500 on those windows and I am losing money from not being able to rent out the apartment because the windows just have Styrofoam over them,” Heimlich said.
While Palmer did not address Heimlich’s situation specifically, he said changes are being made in the design review process, beginning with an ordinance presented to council Tuesday evening.
“This ordinance allows property owners in the three design review areas to become members of the design review boards, even if they do not live within the city limits. Previously, members had to live within the city to become a member of the board,” Palmer said.
The first reading of the ordinance was passed by council.
“The owners should have some say in their buildings. I hope this is the first step to help Mrs. Heimlich and her situation,” said council member Dr. Tom Fellner.
Progress is being made towards a Tim Hortons for the city of Galion on the west side of town.
Council approved a Community Reinvestment Area agreement (CRA) between the city and Rensko Holdings, LLC, that will allow a 50 percent real estate tax reduction for the property owner for 15 years as an incentive for the Tim Hortons to be constructed within the city limits.
The proposed $1.3 million restaurant is to be constructed across the street from the Riverside Drive-Thru on Harding Way East.
Originally, the CRA agreement would have allowed for a 70 percent tax discount for 10 years but the agreement was changed to allow the tax relief without having to involve Galion City Schools which could have slowed down progress for the restaurant.
The ordinance to allow the CRA was approved by council as an emergency.
Shelter at Amman’s Reservoir
Three pieces of legislation regarding the construction of a shelter at Amman’s Reservoir were approved by council including one to request $21,759 from the Freese Foundation to help fund the project.
Council also approved $30,000 to be used for the shelter from unappropriated funds in the city’s recreation and parks budget. If the funding from the Freese Foundation is approved, an ordinance allowing city safety service director Nikki Ward to ask for bids for the shelter.
Galion Cross Country Coach Ken Jarvis had addressed council earlier in the meeting to express how beneficial the shelter will be for the annual Cross Country Festival at Amman’s each year.
“We have the largest cross country event in the state and the addition of a shelter and eventually a restroom facility will be wonderful,” Jarvis said.
Lawsuit against city
An ordinance to hire attorney Teresa Grigsby as co-counsel for the city with Palmer for impending litigation was approved. The city is a party in a lawsuit regarding the Westmoor Sewer project filed by Susan Vander Maas against Howell’s Septic Service, LLC.
The city’s former insurance company will cover payment for Grigsby’s counsel, according to Palmer.
The next city council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Sept. 13 at the Galion Municipal Building on Harding Way East.
Reach Gasuras on Twitter: @kimberlygasuras
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