City Council approves share of WRA revenue

By David J. Coehrs -

The City of Wauseon has agreed to a 20% cut of sport tournament profits generated by the Wauseon Recreation Association.

City Council members on Monday approved the WRA proposal, originally accepted through a motion approved during a city Finance Committee meeting held Aug. 10. At that meeting, Wauseon Public Service Director Keith Torbet said the city’s percentage amount can be reevaluated periodically.

City Parks and Recreation Superintendent Matt Mennetti had confirmed that WRA tournament expenses include registration software, concession stand equipment, and the concession workers’ payroll.

Torbet said although the WRA owns the concession equipment the stand is operated by city employees, who are covered under the association’s food license.

The Council meeting began Monday with a presentation by Joe Short, a candidate for the Fulton County Commissioners.

In other business, Council voted to approve a recommendation by the city Park Board to greenlight a project proposed by local Eagle Scout Matthew Schroeder. The project will install four bicycle racks in the city, two each at Homecoming Park and Dorothy B. Biddle Park. The 10-foot racks will be installed on 12-foot by six-foot concrete pads at an estimated cost of $4,600.

Schroeder said he had planned to begin fundraising for his Eagle Scout project once it was approved by the city. He said any group or individual funding one of the bicycle racks would have their name placed within the accompanying concrete pad.

Councilor Patrick Griggs, who attended the meeting, suggested placing one bicycle rack at each of the parks if Schroeder fails to raise enough funds for four.

City Public Works Superintendent Jon Arps, who also attended the meeting, said his department would oversee the installations but he would prefer to have one bicycle rack completed before installing the remaining three.

The Park Board members discussed a possible discrepancy with the timers for light illuminating a South Park basketball court. The park closes at 10 p.m. but the lights have remained on well past that hour.

Members were told a discussion relating to recreational programming being transferred from the WRA to the city has been tabled until a Council member may deem it necessary to reintroduce the issue.

The members were also informed of an upcoming city ordinance listing prohibited activities at Rotary Park. Some residents fishing in the park’s pond are reportedly ignoring a catch-and-release rule and leaving with fish.

In department reports:

• Fire Chief Rick Sluder said the department is still negotiating with Fulton County on a contract renewal.

• Police Chief Kevin Chittenden advised motorists they must stop for school buses anywhere in the city. He noted that each year motorists voice confusion about the issue, especially regarding the center lane on Shoop Avenue.

Chittenden also reported a rash of stolen campaign signs, with the thefts taking place primarily late at night over the last couple of weekends.

And he reminded county residents of a “Backing the Blue Barbecue,” to be held Sept. 12, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., at the county fairgrounds on State Highway 108. Sponsored by the Delta Eagles, all proceeds from the $10 chicken dinners, $15 half-rack rib dinners, and a $5 50/50 raffle will go to county law enforcement offices.

“It’s been a rough year for them with all of the COVID-19 stuff, so this is just (the Eagles’) way of showing their support,” Chittenden said.

• Public Service Director Keith Torbet said the city’s unlimited trash drop will be held Sept. 28 to Oct. 3, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday.

He said downtown banners honoring local veterans will be rotated this week for 30 new banners, which will remain up through Veteran’s Day.

Torbet said the department has been awarded a maximum $289,784 Ohio Department of Transportation Small Cities Grant to fund pavement of Oak Street between Fulton Street and Shoop Avenue in 2024.

And he said the city pool closes for the season at week’s end. Hours will be 5-8 p.m. through Friday and noon-5 p.m. Saturday.

“I’ve gotten a lot of positive comments,” Torbet said about the pool. “It would have been nice not to have the limitations on people, but we did the best we could and it went over well.”

He said he’ll have a season total for the number of visitors next week.

• Law Director Tom McWatters III told Council members the department is working its way through contract negotiations with the fire department’s union representative.

He also mentioned that asphalt grindings will used to cover the north and south sections of Indian Hill Trail adjacent to Homecoming Park to help alleviate water draining issues. McWatters said the asphalt will be then be covered with limestone.

In new business, Council approved motions to: authorize the finance director to pay city bills through Sept. 14; accept the ODOT Small Cities Grant for paving on Oak Street; accept a $2,223 Bureau of Worker’s Compensation Bulletproof Vest Grant; and schedule Treat or Treat for Sunday, Oct. 31, from 6-7:30 p.m.

By David J. Coehrs

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

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