Wauseon mayor praises storm clean-up


By David J. Coehrs - dcoehrs@aimmediamidwest.com



Wauseon Mayor Kathy Huner took a moment during a meeting of City Council on Monday to praise city departments for their work following severe weather over the weekend.

Gusty winds that accompanied thunderstorms caused fallen tree limbs and power lines across the city. Police, fire, and Public Works crews worked through the night to clear streets and restore power to residents.

“Fire, police, and Public Works, you guys did an amazing job,” Huner said. She told council members she received numerous calls from citizens expressing satisfaction with the way the departments worked together. She said she also received calls “saying they were so impressed with how many people within this city came forward and helped them.”

The mayor added, “It could have been a lot worse. Wauseon got beat up. We got a black eye. But I really feel that everybody came together.”

In a Park Board report, member Scott Stiriz said three signs costing $200 each have been placed by the city in Homecoming Park, designating it a dog park. Stiriz said despite the signs and bags the city has made available for dog waste, some dog owners do not clean up after their pets.

“Hopefully, It will get a little bit better,” he said.

He said questions have arisen over whether recently blacktopped parking lots in Dorothy B. Biddle Park will be striped to designate parking spaces. Stiriz said the project is not finished, and the lots will likely be striped afterward.

He also reported that a resident has asked the board to consider installing gaga ball in a city park. The game for smaller children is similar to dodge ball.

Stiriz said board member and Public Works Superintendent John Arps suggested Homecoming Park for the location rather than the resident’s choice of Reighard Park. Arps said Reighard Park has become too congested.

The Park Board selected the Homecoming Park pavilion for the game, which would be played within a 10-foot by 10-foot wooden hexagon frame. The game would be funded and constructed as an Eagle Scout project.

Following further discussion, the council chose not to act upon the project until it’s further reviewed. “This might be a great idea, I don’t know, but I think we need more information,” Councilor Heather Kost said.

Stiriz said there is time to review the request, since construction would have to wait until next spring.

Tree Commission member Rick Frey said member Kim Bowles will apply for the city to host a Tree City USA event in 2021.

Frey recommended the city fertilize trees in city parks, and that 10 trees be replaced. He said the trees can be planted at the commission’s Nov. 15 meeting.

Frey said the commission wants to host a chainsaw safety course. He said the Ohio Division of Forestry was contacted about giving the course but it has no certified instructors.

In department reports:

• Fire Chief Rick Sluder said although the city is grateful for the help citizens offered during the weekend storm, he advises they take caution when power lines are down.

“It’s not a good time to have people come in and start cutting apart trees right after a storm,” he said. “We encourage people not to go crawling through trees in their backyards where power lines are at, just as a safety factor.”

Sluder said people may not realize what types of objects can become electrically charged by downed power lines and cause electrocution.

He also reported that the city fire station will have a Christmas Cheer box available for donations.

• Police Chief Keith Torbet said he is participating in “No Shave November” to raise awareness for prostate cancer and for Christmas for Kids in Fulton County. The latter event will be held Dec. 16 at 9 a.m. in conjunction with Walmart and the Christmas Cheer project.

The department hopes to provide Christmas gifts for at least 25 underprivileged children.

• Public Service Director Dennis Richardson said a photo taken by Water Reclamation Plant Superintendent Clem Kutzli of the facility has been selected for inclusion on the 2018 calendar distributed by the Ohio Water Environmental Association.

Responding to an inquiry by Councilor Jeff Stiriz, Richardson said city sidewalk installation will have to wait until next year.

• Finance Director Jamie Giguere told the council October city income tax revenue increased 5.92 percent over the same time last time.

Giguere also reported that a new city water utility clerk could be hired by week’s end. The position was left vacant by Andrea Gerken, who was appointed Clerk of Council following the retirement of Margaret Murphy.

In new business, council members approved motions for a police department grant that reimburses half the cost of bullet proof vests for officers and for $50 Chamber of Commerce gift certificates as holiday gifts for city employees.

The council also approved:

• The suspension of three readings and emergency passage of: an ordinance to approve and enact 2017 replacement pages to the city’s codified ordinances, and to repeal conflicting ordinances; a resolution authorizing the mayor to advertise for, accept the lowest and best bid for, and enter into a contract for Water Reclamation Plant dewatering improvements.

• The first reading of a resolution to authorize the mayor to enter into a city-county dog service contract with Fulton County Commissioners.

• The second readings of ordinances and resolutions related to proceeding with an energy improvement project to be completed at 435 E. Linfoot St.

• The third readings of resolutions to advertise for bids for renovations to fire department sleeping rooms and police department offices and to request qualifications for an engineer. Both go into effect in 30 days.

By David J. Coehrs

dcoehrs@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.