A changing of the guard highlighted Monday’s Wauseon City Council meeting, as the city’s police chief and his assistant accepted new positions and the retiring public service director received a formal farewell.
At the onset, Police Chief Keith Torbet swore in his assistant, Kevin Chittenden, to replace him in the position. Torbet retired after 35 years with the city police force. Chittenden joined the force in 2004, and was promoted to assistant chief last year.
In congratulating Chittenden, Mayor Kathy Huner said, “You have some big shoes to fill, but I think with the support of your officers out there I think you’re going to do some amazing things.”
The mayor then swore Torbet into his new position as the city’s public service director. He replaces Dennis Richardson, who is retiring Sept. 1 after 25 years in the office.
Torbet was presented a proclamation recognizing his years of police service from Anne Spence, the northwestern Ohio liaison to Ohio Auditor Dave Yost. He was also lauded by Huner, who shared the story of a man approaching Torbet at this year’s Homecoming event and thanking the chief for saving his life during a police call.
“To watch Keith progressively move up and see what he’s done with his department…how he has supported his officers, how he has supported this city, is just amazing to watch and to view,” the mayor said. “You protected our city well for the last 35 years.”
Huner said Richardson, who served through four city administrations, took on tasks beyond his job description and promoted the city and its economic growth.
“He’s not one for many words, but if you needed support in anything or encouragement in anything, Dennis was the one. If you needed to make sure that you could rely on someone, that was Dennis,” she said.
In other business, Council approved a recommendation by the city’s Finance Committee to pay for half the price of a sign identifying Indian Hill Trail. The $4,230 cost will be paid from the city’s Capital Fund. The remaining cost of the sign, to be placed on Lawrence Avenue, will be funded by the Wauseon Rotary Club.
In department reports:
• Fire Chief Rick Sluder said updated fire contracts with townships have been completed.
He said the department will train Saturday with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety at Fulton County Fairgrounds and Gerald Grain Center. The center is also delivering grain rescue equipment awarded through The NationWide Grain Rescue Bin Safety Week.
• Chittenden said school resource officer John Borcherdt has completed Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate (ALICE) training. “That’s something we’ve been kind of missing in our department for awhile,” he said.
Chittenden said the department will accept applications for assistant police chief until Aug. 9.
• Richardson said his office is reviewing 18 applications received for the position of Public Works construction maintenance worker.
He said pool toys ordered for the community pool should be installed in about a week.
In further business, Richardson said the Ohio Department of Transportation paving project on Shoop Avenue is finished. He said the second phase of the project will begin in 2021 from the end of the first phase at Shoop Avenue and Elm Street, and continue south to the Fulton County line.
Richardson said that second phase makes it essential for the city to replace the Shoop Avenue water main from Orth Road to Superior Street before the paving work begins.
Richardson also reported that: sidewalk construction on Leggett Street began on Wednesday; Hill Asphalt Paving of Napoleon has sealed and striped city parking lots including those in Dorothy B. Biddle Park and at the city tennis courts; Public Works employees have repaired city storm sewers damaged by constant rains in the spring; and Morton Salt was the low bidder for street salt for the winter, at $83.06 per ton.
In response to an inquiry from Councilor Steve Schneider, Richardson said the city has contracted with a company to correct the timing on traffic lights at Shoop Avenue and Elm Street which was disrupted by the ODOT paving project.
• Finance Director Jamie Giguere said the city’s July income tax revenue was down 4.29% from one year ago.
Council passed on emergency resolutions providing the city’s consent to ODOT to conduct inspections of city bridges and to amend the city’s job description and classification of the position of assistant police chief to correct a typographical error listing the unclassified position as classified.
The council also accepted a liquor permit for Train Track LLC, and designated Oct. 31 for Halloween trick or treating, with hours from 6-7:30 p.m.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.