During a brisk meeting on Monday, Wauseon City Council voted unanimously to move forward with annexation of the city’s bicycle trails.
In what Mayor Kathy Huner called an ongoing action, council members approved the Planning Commission’s recommendation to annex the trail from Indian Way to County Road 11, and from Enterprise Avenue to U.S. 20A in the County Road 22 area.
Council members were given copies of a memo from Police Chief Keith Torbet, whom the commission asked in February to recommend areas for future annexation to the city. The top five suggestions from his 13-item list include: the northeast corner of Airport Highway and North Shoop Avenue; County Road 15, the Clinton Township building and two house south; the south side of Airport Highway from Becker’s Corners to 760 E. Airport Hwy.; the city bicycle trail from County Road 13 to Indian Way; and the Enterprise Avenue and Elm Street areas south of Oasis Christian Fellowship Church and between 840 W. Elm St. and Kids World Early Learning Center at 700 W. Elm St.
Torbet said in the memo those locations would most benefit the city and the police department.
The council also approved 6-0 a motion to waive the city’s fees for water and sanitary sewer taps to the Fulton County Heritage Center, to be located in the Ohio Department of Transportation/Fulton County complex being constructed on State Route 108. The $2,320 charge would have included a 50 percent surcharge added for taps outside the city.
Public Services Director Dennis Richardson said Fulton County was also asked to waive its tap fees for the new campus, which total $10,000.
“Since the county’s doing it, we will probably fall in line with that,” he said.
The cost of time and materials for installing the taps will be billed to the project. Those figures were not available.
Speaking for Regional Planning Director David Wright, Huner said the Downtown Revitalization Committee tabled action on purchasing benches and trash receptacles and planning for American Disabilities Act-compliant ramps until it further reviews the downtown area. Huner said committee members will tour downtown to get a clearer picture of placement.
The items will be purchased with Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds.
In other department reports:
• Assistant Police Chief Bill McConnell said the department will begin an enforced round-up of junked vehicles. He said the city will be divided into four quadrants, with two police officers assigned to each quadrant to identify junked vehicles.
“We’re going to actively try to get this taken care of,” McConnell said.
He also announced the annual Youth Police Academy will be held the second week of June. He said up to 15 youth from Wauseon participate in the week-long academy.
• Code Administrator Tom Hall said the city’s Pride and Preservation Committee will review three new revitalization project requests from building/business owners. Hall said the new projects may have sprung from agreements by the Ohio Development Services Agency and the Fulton County Commissioners to drop the 1:1 fund-matching obligation of the CDBG grant.
• Dennis Richardson reported that underground work has been completed for the Linfoot Street reconstruction project. He said the next phase will involve building up a gravel road bed.
• Finance Director Jamie Giguere told the council city income tax revenues have increased eight percent over this time last year.
And the council approved the first reading of an ordinance to amend Section 523.03(M) of the city codified ordinances to include the use of electronic cigarettes and other vapor devices in the restrictions regarding smoking in workplaces and specified public places.
Huner closed the meeting with a brief report on a March 31 round table meeting held between Fifth District Congressman Bob Latta, the Wauseon, Archbold, Delta, and Swanton mayors, Richardson, and Fulton County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Matt Gilroy. Topics included the Environmental Protection Agency, education, workforce development, and the county’s heroin epidemic.
Huner said the panel also touched on ways to retain the area’s industries and families, and how to rebuild business following the nation’s declining recession.
She said the participants agreed the current heroin trend “isn’t just in northwest Ohio, it’s all over. It’s nationwide.” She said they discussed the county’s proactive effort to fight the problem, and said Latta “was very impressed with what we’re doing around here.”
The next City Council meeting will be held April 18 at 5 p.m. in the second-floor chambers at 230 Clinton St.
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.