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City Council adopted the updated financial recovery plan during its Dec. 13 meeting. One item in the recovery plan that came under discussion was the 2017 appropriations for the Health Department, listed in the plan at $250,900. The department received $290,000 in 2015, and as of the meeting, the department received $230,000 for 2016.
Councilwoman Susan Bean motioned to increase funding for the Health Department to $302,000 for each of the five years in the recovery plan, seconded by Councilman Jim Hedges.
Health Commissioner Trish Factor explained some positions at the department are unfilled pending results of the budget process. Currently they have three full-time employees and four part-time employees, with one open full-time position and one open part-time position. She also noted some funding needs to be fronted in order to cover programming costs before revenue comes in.
Some officials were concerned with the increase of $63,000 per year, most notably where the extra funding would be taken from. After discussion the motion failed 5-2.
Councilman Mark Triplett asked if there was any intent to lay off employees. “Depending on some retirements in the Line Department, I don’t expect any lay-offs. But we will not replace those positions,” Mayor Tom O’Leary responded.
Ord. 2016-107 passed unanimously as a third reading.
Ord. 2016-106 was legislation to approve the 2017 budget. It also passed unanimously as a third reading.
Ordinances 2016-113 and 2016-114 were tentative agreements with the Fraternal Order of Police and the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, respectively. Effective Jan. 1, 2017, wages will be increased by 2.5% for each of the three years of the contract.
Before the vote, Council President Carl Watt read an email sent by Police Chief Brian Saterfield: “I believe both of these contracts were negotiated in good faith and are consistent with the other contracts. Getting these contracts passed prior to the beginning of 2017 will go a long ways toward keeping moral high within my department.”
Both items passed unanimously as emergencies.
O’Leary thanked council for approving all of the city’s union contracts. “All city employees realize there’s limited resources. I think we ended up with agreements that were fair to all, tax payers included.”
Ord. 2016-110 was a vacation of several unimproved streets south of Harding Way West, in an area known as the former Lavant junk yard: Carpenter Avenue, Berry Street, Harmon Avenue and Herbert Avenue. The Planning and Zoning Commission previously recommended the vacation. Ord. 2016-111 was a vacation of alleys running adjacent to the streets vacated in the previous ordinance. Both items passed unanimously as emergencies.
Ord. 2016-112 gave authorization for retiring Galion police officers to be resold their service pistol at market value, at the discretion of the Chief of Police.
Law Director Thomas Palmer explained the policy will allow the retiring officer to purchase the firearm if it is valued at less than $1,000 and the Safety Service Director declares the firearm is not needed for municipal purposes. The item passed unanimously as an emergency.
Ord. 2016-115 was an amendment to 2016 appropriations for several fund transfers:
Also, the FAA Grant Fund was reduced by $340,000 because the city did not spend the grant funding. The item passed unanimously as an emergency.
Ord. 2016-116 approved an advance of $71,806 to the Cheshire Debt Service Fund. Financial Supervisor Belinda Miller explained the city advances the debt payment each year, and then collects assessments from the county auditor. The item passed unanimously as an emergency.
Res. 2016-25 authorized two then and now certificates pertaining to the South Street Commerce Center. The first was $124,513 for electric service and the second was $1,249 for water service. The payments were for one year’s worth of utilities, paid out of the rental income paid by the building’s tenant. The item passed unanimously as an emergency.