Sewer rate increase approved, funds appropriated for debt


GALION – During the regular session June 14, with all members present, Galion City Council passed several ordinances, including one to increase sewer rates within and outside city corporations limits of Galion.

There was no discussion of the resolution and the ordinance passed with opposing votes from council member Paula Durbin and Carrie Zeger. The motion passed 5-2 without discussion. In their May 10 meeting, council heard the sewer rate has not increased since 2014. The sewer has been running at a deficit and the rate increase is “out of necessity.”

The sewer ordinance adds a minimum service charge of $7.51 to in-town rates and a minimum service charge of $11.27 to rural rates. Residents can expect their sewer bill to reflect their water bill beginning this month. For example, if a resident’s last water bill was $24.33 and their sewer bill was $15.26, with the new increase, their sewer bill would also be $24.33.

For an ordinance amending 2022 appropriations, Dr. Felder asked City Auditor Brian Satterfield to explain.

“This is all to take care of the debt service payment that is coming up in July. There were some funds that were underfunded budget-wise and we’ve made some adjustments based on what we have coming up on the $2.6 million. It also includes a couple things for the health department,” Satterfield explained.

The appropriated funds are for, but not limited to, water debt service, sewer debt service, and Health Department programs and advertising.

Council agreed to suspend the rules on this second reading and the motion carried 7-0.

Council also passed an ordinance for street paving after moving it to the final reading. It passed 7-0.

“This seems to be quite a bit of paving for this year; normally we don’t have this much opportunity to do this much work. It’s a very good thing that we have this amount of funding. $508,000, that’s quite a bit; I would say, barring any other discussion, we ought to move this along as quickly as we can since the season is upon us,” Mike Richart said.

The ordinance authorizes the Safety Service Director to advertise for bids and to enter into contract for various street paving projects.

The final ordinance addressed at the meeting was for a First Responder Recruitment, Retention and Resiliency Grant that will benefit the police and fire departments.

“This came through the police, fire and health committee and this is a grant that the police department, fire department. [It] is one grant that will support both entities and help with recruitment and retention,” Ault said.

“This is part of the $250 million American Rescue Plan money that Gov. DeWine earmarked for first responders. The first $180 million of that, Mark was before you a couple of months ago requesting some of that for equipment. This $70 million is earmarked strictly for recruitment, retention of first responders,” Fire Chief Phil Jackson said.

It offers incentive for police, fire, dispatcher and EMS personnel for two years. It is not in lieu of raises; it is additional. There is no cost to the city and the application had to be submitted by Friday; therefore the council suspended the rules and passed the ordinance 7-0.

The council also responded to three resolutions.

A resolution approved Galion Design Review Board appointments of Rick Maddox and Judy Gibson. Richart explained that both appointees have been on the Design Review Board and continue to serve and this resolution is a renewal.

“They continue to do the work they do there, and I think it’s commendable that we have citizens that are willing to do this. I would suggest and recommend that you pass and they be reappointed,” Richart said.

The resolution was moved to final reading and the appointments were approved.

Another resolution passed for the Harding Way West Design Review Board for renewed appointments. Chris Heydinger, David Keller, Chris McCarthy, Michelle McCarthy and John Sipes were approved to continue their service.

By Rhonda Bletner

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