GALION — Galion City Council members are ready to get to 2018.
But there is a lot remaining on the council agenda. This week, council members met in a regular meeting Tuesday and had a special meeting Wednesday. A second special meeting is planned at 7 p.m. Monday to consider more legislation and another meeting will be scheduled — likely on Tuesday — to put the wrap on another piece of time-sensitive legislation.
At Tuesday’s meeting, council members approved legislation that makes changes to several funds to keep the budget in line as 2017 nears its end and a new year gets ready to start. At the meeting, city officials had hoped to pass most of the legislation (by declaring an emergency, which means it would not have to be read and approved at three different meetings). But they did not receive the votes to do that — six of seven council members must agree — which prompted the special meetings so legislation can be passed without declaring an emergency.
The Wednesday meeting was called in the hopes of giving additional readings to the ordinances introduced Tuesday night. They included final passage (third reading) of the city’s Amended Recovery Plan and the final passage (third reading) of the city’s Adopted 2018 Budget.
On Wednesday, only five members of council were present — Jim Hedges and Susan Bean were absent — which meant the legislation before council again could not be passed as “emergency legislation.”
Therefore, legislation before council (second readings were approved) will be addressed again Monday evening. That legislation includes Setting the PCA and electric rates for the city. Changes to the electric rates include: existing service rates for residential customers going from $10 to $12 and the fee for commercial customers jumping from $15 to $20.
More information on the PCA and electric rate increases are available on the City of Galion website.
Also on Monday, a second reading that involves donation of land off Ohio 598 and north of Biddle Road is expected to receive approval. It also will likely have it’s third reading approved the following night, at the third special meeting within a week.
That legislation was pulled from Tuesday’s regular city council meeting so changes could be made, including the addition of another approximately 7 acres to be donated to the city via the Niss family.
“It’s undeveloped, but it’s zoned commercial,” said Mayor Tom O’Leary.
The previously discussed land donation is approximately four acres.
O’Leary estimated the donation is worth in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. He also stressed that the city is in no hurry to extend utilities to the area until they are needed for development.
“I don’t anticipate roads and utilities to be extended out there until developers are ready for it,” he said.
Gary Frankhouse, executive director of the Crawford Partnership, which has played a big role in the facilitation of the development in that area, is excited about the possibilities.
“The seven acres is in the area that we’ve talked about when discussing a possible rec center out there,” he said. “Mrs. Niss has family in Galion and is excited about the possibilities for that area.
“The Sleep Inn was really the first development in (the Ohi0 598 area) since that highway was completed,” Frankhouse continued. “The 24Store and other development is the second step and the rec center could be something beyond that.”
The land donation legislation must be finalized before the end of the year. When approved, it will pave the way for the Valero 24Store early next year.