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City Council held its first meeting of 2017 on Jan. 10. The first item of legislation was Ord. 2016-118, which authorized and directed the safety-service director to advertise for a request for qualifications for engineering and consulting services for Galion Municipal Airport, and enter into a contract with the firm deemed most qualified. This item passed 5-0 as a second reading. Council members Susan Bean and Shirley Clark were absent.
Ord. 2017-1 authorized and directed bidding for various materials and equipment for multiple departments. Items include everything from water meters and pipes, to asphalt patching and paint.
Council member Bill Comerford clarified the legislation restocks the shelves for the city departments. This item passed 5-0 as a first reading.
Mayor Tom O’Leary said a special meeting may be needed in order to hold another reading for this ordinance. While the city’s supply of road salt is adequate, some other materials will need to be ordered soon.
City officials were also notified of a liquor license transfer for Ralphie’s that evening. The business is renovating the former Varsity Grille and will open this spring. The city also received notification of annual liquor license renewals for all businesses that hold a license.
In the mayor’s annual report, O’Leary covered several topics:
On the economic development front, the inertia in the community has been overcome. New restaurants have opened and there are several irons in the fire near the upcoming Sleep Inn hotel. He is “guardedly optimistic” about industrial development. The city has also been working to bring a solution to the east end of town for grocery options.
The expanded Community Reinvestment Area made a difference for commercial projects last year. The city will focus on using this tool for new housing in 2017.
Utilities will be one of the biggest challenges in 2017. City officials spoke to a consultant last week about looking at cost allocations for the electric fund and how to better manage them. Water and sewer funds will be closely monitored throughout the year.
The cost was reduced for the Portland Way North sewer line replacement project, which will result in considerable savings. The engineer is finishing the project design in order to bid it early this year.
The Police Department had one retirement recently, another retirement is coming mid-year, and an officer is transferring. Vacant positions will be filled based on the recently updated Civil Service list, but need to find the right mix of detectives and lieutenants. Also, the Fire Department is undergoing succession planning.