The subject was trees at Monday’s Wauseon City Council meeting, and the city’s habit of removing them without first consulting the Tree Commission.
Commission member Rick Frey said the group would like the city’s Public Works Department to refrain from cutting down targeted trees before it first notifies the commission. Frey said he has requested the department provide a list of trees scheduled for removal.
“There were a couple trees that we advised not be taken down last year,” he said. “There were a couple trees that, after seeing that they were down, I would have personally not taken down.”
Frey said a current case in point is a healthy red maple tree being targeted for removal in Reighard Park to make way for a new pavilion. He suggested the pavilion could be relocated to a nearby section of the park where a tree that can be transplanted stands.
Mayor Kathy Huner said it’s a matter of city administrators and Commission members talking to one another. “There’s just a communication gap going both ways,” she said.
Frey also requested a boost in the city’s financial support of the commission to $6,000. He said the increase would cover the rising cost of purchasing trees and would allow for public education on the value of trees.
Huner said the request would have to be included in next year’s city budget.
Council members approved a recommendation by the Safety and Code Committee to remove a “no turn on red” sign at the intersection of Shoop Avenue and Linfoot Street. Committee member Scott Stiriz said there was unanimous agreement among the committee’s members that the sign is unnecessary.
In department reports:
• Fire Chief Rick Sluder said law enforcement and rescue entities involved in the recent active shooter drill at Wauseon High School are still working on a report of the event. Sluder said the drill was generally successful.
He said the fire department is presenting a public program this month on cooking safety, particularly for senior citizens. He said there have been two cooking related fires in the city the past week.
And Sluder reported that three firefighters have been hired through a civil service process.
• Police Chief Keith Torbet said a recent Drug Take Back event collected over 95 pounds of unwanted prescription medication.
He said the department is currently raising money for the annual Christmas for Kids campaign. It will be held Dec. 8 in conjunction with the city fire department and other area departments. The event provides underprivileged children with a breakfast donated by McDonald’s and a shopping trip to Walmart for Christmas presents. The children are transported to the store by police and emergency vehicles with activated lights.
Torbet said it’s hoped that over 100 children will be able to participate this year.
• Public Service Director Dennis Richardson told Council members Matt Mannetti has been hired through a civil service process as the city’s new assistant recreation superintendent. He said three people are being interviewed for a position at the city’s water treatment plant following a resignation there.
Richardson said plans continue for an almost 150,000 square-foot expansion at Haas Door, located on Krieger Street. He also said a project to handle biosolids at the city’s Water Reclamation Plant continues.
• Finance Director Jamie Giguere reported city income tax revenue decreased 3.7 percent in October. She said her department has hired two new employees, Sarah Wheeler and Trish Lillich.
The City Council also approved:
• The first reading of a resolution authorizing the mayor to contract with the Fulton County Commissioners for indigent defense services.
• The waiving of three readings and emergency passage of resolutions to recognize Nov. 24 as Small Business Saturday and to authorize holiday pay for certain part-time employees in the police and fire departments.
• Third readings for ordinances to: decrease green belts for the sides and rear of a mobile home park, from 20 feet to 10 feet; restrict residential signs to 800 square inches; adopt the most recent Ohio Fire Code. All will take effect in 30 days.
In new business, council members scheduled a public hearing Nov. 19, 5 p.m., in Council chambers at 230 Clinton St, second floor, to review the Planning Commission’s recommendation to allow a rezoning of property at 1201 N. Ottokee St. from R-2 – single family – to R-4 – multiple family – to allow sale of a duplex.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.