Wauseon Council updates city codes

Drug paraphernalia, vehicle laws affected

By David J. Coehrs - dcoehrs@aimmediamidwest.com

A short session of Wauseon City Council on Monday focused on revisions of several of the city’s codified ordinances.

Council members unanimously agreed to update the codes for possessing drug paraphernalia, for fishing at the municipal reservoir, and for low-speed and under-speed vehicles on city streets.

At a Safety and Code Committee meeting held July 16, Law Director Tom McWatters explained that the state made possession of marijuana a non-criminal violation. For that reason, McWatters said, the section of city code regarding drug paraphernalia required updating to keep the paraphernalia illegal. Local jurisdictions can supersede state law.

The update includes any items found on a person containing drug residue.

“We’re taking the state exception out,” McWatters told Council on Monday. “(Until) now, our code makes paraphernalia use in respect to drugs not illegal.”

He said fishing at the municipal reservoir had previously fallen under the authority of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Police Chief Keith Torbet said representatives of that department may still examine fishing licenses but recommended placing that responsibility under city codes.

McWatters said city laws involving low-speed, under-speed, utility, and mini-truck vehicles on city streets will now include the phrases “in city” and “only vehicles owned by a person who resides in Wauseon or person doing regular business in Wauseon.” Safety and Code Committee member Scott Stiriz said the code update will include a one-time fee of $20 and an annual inspection.

Stiriz also reported that Torbet has purchased an Ohio Department of Transportation-approved temporary stop sign, to be used on Oak Street when the city swimming pool is open.

In department reports:

• Chief Torbet said Norfolk Southern Railroad will wait to repair its railroad tracks in the city until sometime in the fall. Repair originally coincided with the city’s annual Homecoming event.

After a delay, two Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) previously awarded to the city have been released. The grants, $15,000 and just under $60,000, respectively, will purchase new in-car cameras and replace the department’s computer server.

• Public Service Director Dennis Richardson said the department is searching in-house for a new city recreation superintendent following the resignation of Nel Rodriguez. He said a candidate is scheduled for an interview.

Rodriguez was appointed to the position in September of 2016.

Richardson said the city has contracted with American Electric Lighting to supply power for city street lights.

And he said bids for street salt opened Aug. 10. “Hopefully, we’ll get some decent prices. The county did not,” he said.

• Finance Director Jamie Giguere said city income tax revenue is unchanged from the previous month.

Stiriz told Council that VFW Post #7424 is interested in donating a flag pole, to be placed by the city pool.

Council members suspended the rule of three readings and approved on emergency an ordinance granting a job creation income tax credit to Cleanlites Recycling Inc. The Michigan-based business recently purchased a building at 715 W. Linfoot St.

Drug paraphernalia, vehicle laws affected

By David J. Coehrs


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

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