GALION-The initial gathering of Galion City Council members for the new year transpired on Jan. 10 Uptowne inside the Municipal Building.
A first order of business was to approve the minutes from three successive and important meetings during the final days of 2022.
Andy Rehm was then sworn in as a lieutenant with the Galion Police Department. Ryan Strange remains acting chief, a role he assumed on Dec. 29.
A first reading was offered for several ordinances to kick off 2023, including first-orders-of-business like authorizing the safety services director to seek contracts for purchases of necessary materials and equipment needed to operate the city.
The council followed by engaging in a thorough conversation, initiated by 3rd Ward Council Member Mike Richart, about the County Health Department, school nurses, keeping those local affairs in Galion rather than Bucyrus, and money allocated by the general fund. Ordinance 2023-3 to amend appropriations carried unanimously. Council members agreed more information on specific numbers for the aforementioned topics was a good 2023 goal in order to eventually prepare for the 2024 budget.
The group approved Michael Flick to a three-year term on the Galion City Health Board, as Dennis Sterling declined to seek another term, which ended Jan. 15.
The meeting closed with roughly 15 minutes on the adjustment in water and sewer rates. Members and Mayor Tom O’Leary noted the topics were analyzed in multiple meetings last year and encouraged citizens to attend and discuss their concerns.
The city recently made $2 million worth of improvements to the local water/sewer plant, partially to meet EPA regulations.
The mayor also explained that the city cannot simply transfer money from the Galion’s General Fund to cover additional expenses.
“You gotta raise the money in order to fund these big capital expenses,” O’Leary added.
He prioritized finding a middle ground on these and future debates, when possible.