GALION — The city’s budget and recovery plan were eventually approved at Tuesday’s Galion City Council meeting.
A reduction in the amount of funding allotted for the city’s health department caused a debate after a council member made a motion to amend the recovery plan to add an additional $62,000 each year for the next five years to the health department fund.
“They needed $302,000 to operate this year,” said 4th Ward representative Susan Bean.
The amount allotted from the city for the health department is $250,000.
“There are positions that need filled to continue to offer the programs we currently have available. If those are not filled, we may not have enough people to operate all of the programs we currently offer,” said health commissioner Trish Factor.
Bean said the health department is an important part of the city and is used by many residents
Jim Hedges, who represents the 3rd Ward, asked about a $124,000 line item owed to the line department for electricity for the Commerce Center.
“We have a gross lease with the tenants of the Commerce Center so they do pay the electric bill through their rent. We did not require it to be paid monthly, which is one of the then-and-now items on the agenda tonight,” said Mayor Tom O’Leary.
O’Leary said the extra money for the health department is not in the budget and if the amendment is passed, it would deplete the general fund that is already going to be in the low range at the end of the five-year recovery plan.
The motion to add $62,000 to the health department’s budget, that had been seconded by Jim Hedges, was voted down, 5-2, with only Hedges and Bean voting for it.
The recovery plan and 2017 budget passed on the third readings.
Other legislation passed by council includes the vacation of unapproved streets including Carpenter Avenue, Berry Street and Harmon and Herbert Avenues to allow for development in that area. The issue was passed as an emergency on the second reading.
The ability for Galion Police officers to purchase their service weapon when they retire was also passed by council as an emergency. Other legislation passed as emergencies includes the the- and-now certificates, end of the year appropriations, and union contracts with city employees and police.
Nick Ramsey came to the meeting to complain about being harassed by the city’s zoning and building inspection department.
“I just received another letter from Bob Johnston. I get one every year about permits that I do not need. Ever since we put Millie’s Diner out and began living in the building that I own, I am being harassed about these permits I do not need,” he said.
Ramsey said the building is still zoned commercial and will still be commercial if and when he decides to move or sell it someday.
“Everything that needs approved already has been,” he said.
Council president Carl Watt said council would check into the situation.
The next council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Dec. 27 in council chambers at the Galion Municipal Building.