Voter to decide on Wauseon pool, charter issues

By David J. Coehrs - [email protected]

The City of Wauseon will have five proposals on the Nov. 3 ballot, one to decide the matter of a new community pool and four which would amend the city charter to more clearly define its intent.

Voters will be asked to support a five-year, 2.6-mill Parks and Recreation levy, an additional tax for construction of a pool in the same Reighard Park location as the city’s original pool, which opened in 1941. That pool was closed permanently after the 2008 season due to its deteriorated condition.

According to the Fulton County Auditor’s Office the levy would generate $290,483 annually, costing the owner of a $100,000 home $91 a year. The levy would fund construction of the pool including its amenities, and renovation of the city’s original pool house which remains standing at the location.

Astro Pool Company of Mansfield, Ohio, approximated a cost of $1 million and drafted a design for a city pool, but no contract was signed. City Council member Jeff Stiriz said if the levy is passed by voters the project would go up for bid.

Private funds to assist with expenses have been raised by NewPool4Wauseon, a non-profit grass roots effort.

Council President Heather Kost said a new pool would be a boon to Wauseon. “The more amenities a community has, the greater draw to that community,” she said.

The city also has several charter amendments on the ballot.

An amendment to Section 3.02 would require City Council members to have been registered voters of Wauseon for at least a year before they file for office, and to be registered for their duration in office. The amendment would include those appointed to the council or to city office.

The charter section also would be amended to allow for the removal of those deemed unqualified under the new provisions.

Kost said the amendment was drafted to better define that section of the charter and to make the charter consistent with the Ohio Revised Code. “People who are elected officials should have a feel for the current situation in the city,” she said.

The amendment is in response to the discovery in February that City Council member Martin Estrada wasn’t a registered Wauseon voter when he was appointed to replace Don Mathews, who died of cancer. After consideration of the circumstances surrounding his appointment, Estrada was permitted to retain his seat.

And because this issue is on the ballot, voters also will be asked to decide whether to amend Charter Section 11.01. The amendment would delete language in the section stating, “the failure to possess or maintain qualifications of the office” as a basis for removal from public office.

Due to the aforementioned issue regarding requisites for office holders, “this doesn’t have to be in (the charter) anymore. It’s basically cleaning up language,” Kost said.

Voters also will decide on an amendment to Charter Section 5.03 that would prevent the City Council president from voting twice on an issue–once as a council member and once as mayor to break a tie vote–when sitting as Acting Mayor in the mayor’s absence.

The situation has occurred a couple of times with past councils, and “the consensus was that everybody thought only one vote should be allowed,” Kost said. ““It’s like one person gets two votes. It’s not the best method for legislation. The issue’s come up, but this is the first time it’s been brought to the ballot.”

Lastly, the ballot will contain a charter amendment proposing the removal of references to nominating and electing the city finance director. The references are not applicable because the position is appointed.

Kost said the amendments are up for vote due to a “home rule” provision attached to Wauseon’s city charter. She said citizens should direct questions to a City Council member.

By David J. Coehrs

[email protected]

David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.

David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.