Park Board, Tree Commission work out kinks

By David J. Coehrs - [email protected]

A cooperative venture between Wauseon’s Park Board and Tree Commission that may become an annual event was the focus of Monday’s City Council meeting.

Park Board member and councilor Shane Chamberlin told council members the joint meeting “tried to smooth out the communication pipeline between the two.” He said the panels agreed to hold future meetings together, likely annually, to continue their cooperation.

At the inaugural Nov. 10 meeting, Park Board members said they’d like to approve all tree plantings in city parks. Tree Commission member Jim Spiess said the group’s concern is planting and replacing trees in the parks and on city boulevards.

Public Works Superintendent Dave Murry reported that his department recently replaced 15 trees in the city. Murry said the department has a $5,000 budget for trees, so it cannot replace all city trees that have died. He also said the department loses revenue set aside for memorial trees and accompanying stones, since reimbursement for them is placed in the city’s general fund.

Tree Commission member Kim Bowles said government grants for tree purchases are difficult to obtain and have numerous conditions attached.

The next joint meeting is scheduled for Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. in City Council chambers, 230 Clinton St.

In a separate Park Board meeting, Murry was advised that a wall at the Imagination Kingdom playground in Reighard Park needs to be replaced. Hiring a contractor to complete the work was suggested, but Murry said that is prohibited because the city owns the playground.

He also questioned why money is still being raised for the playground.

Murry told the board he wants Public Works to budget next year for a pavilion at Dorothy B. Biddle Park.

In department reports:

• Regional Planning Director David Wright said two city building business owners are in the final contractual phase of downtown revitalization plans with the Fulton County commissioners.

• Police Chief Keith Torbet said his department will patrol the city’s upcoming holiday parade.

• Code Administrator Tom Hall briefly reported that a couple of new houses are being constructed in the city.

Hall said sidewalks will be installed on Chestnut and Cherry streets next year. Councilor Jeff Stiriz suggested that sidewalks also be installed on a portion of Elm Street near Burnell Street.

• Public service director Dennis Richardson reported that screw pumps are ready to be installed at the Water Reclamation Plant.

Richardson said bids received for work on the east clarifier at the city’s water treatment plant are over the engineer’s estimate. He said they’re presently being verified for validity.

“Right now, we don’t have a recommendation,” he said.

His department enlisted the help of the Ohio Department of Transportation to develop a better detour for thru truck traffic on Linfoot Street.

And Richardson said city crews are still picking up leaves, and that citizens should not put out brush for collection.

• Law Director Tom McWatters III said an emergency medical services contract has been finalized with the county commissioners. City Council later approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Kathy Huner to enter into the contract with Fulton County and other political subdivisions.

McWatters said negotiations between the city and its employee unions are proceeding, with an anticipated conclusion by early December.

In new business, the council accepted a letter of retirement from Public Works Assistant Superintendent Lindsay Huner, and passed a motion to give all city full-time employees and appointed and contracted city department heads a $50 Chamber of Commerce gift certificate.

City Council also approved:

• The suspension of the three readings rule and emergency passage of ordinances to: approve, adopt, and enact 2015 replacement pages to the city’s codified ordinances and repeal conflicting ordinances; levy assessments for improvements spelled out in Resolution No. 2005-10 as amended by Resolution No. 2005-6.

• Second readings authorizing the mayor to enter into agreements for: a city-county dog service contract with the county commissioners; an amendment to the agreement for indigent defense services in county court; a bail bondsman for Western District Court; professional services for the Wauseon downtown revitalization ADA ramp project by Peterman & Associates, Inc.

• A third reading of an ordinance accepting the Planning Commission’s recommendation to deny a zoning change from R-2 to R-3 requested by developer Tim Dennis.

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.