A new member was appointed during last week’s Wauseon City Council meeting.
Brandon Tijerina will fill the seat previously held by Jeff Stiriz, who died in June. Tijerina’s term runs from Jan. 1, 2022 to Dec. 31, 2023.
The appointment was approved following an executive session of Council. Also approved after the executive session was a one-time bonus of $1,500 for Finance Director Jamie Giguere for exemplary work and a 3.75% increase in salary for the clerk of council. The clerk of council raise will consist of a 3% annual increase simlar to that received by non-union employees and a 0.75% merit increase.
Also at the meeting, Fulton County Economic Development Corporation Director Matt Gilroy and representatives from Wauseon Machine addressed Council regarding the need for new housing in the Wauseon area.
Scott Anair, the President and CEO of Wauseon Machine, Matthew Bombick, CFO at Wauseon Machine, and Crystal Escalera, Human Resources Manager at Wauseon Machine, were present to share why they support and believe that the TIF (Tax Increment Financing) Program is valuable to the City of Wauseon. Anair shared that they are at a bit of a crossroads regarding the ability to grow.
He said that the market for Wauseon Machine continues to expand, but the labor pool continues to decline. This is forcing many manufacturing companies to automate certain positions because there is no longer enough labor, Anair added.
He also shared that they are planning to double the size of Wauseon Machine and Manufacturing in this region in the next three to five years. The goal is to fill positions with homegrown talent, but that is not always possible. There was a hire that spent eight months looking for a house to purchase in Wauseon but ended up having to rent. Another had to rent in Angola, Ind. for awhile before finding a house in Wauseon.
He also said they want to be part of the solution as they grow.
Tom McWatters shared that the current TIF is funded through public funds that will be paid back through taxes. He said there was talk early on about reaching out to potential partners or companies in the area to see if they would be interested in partnering as an investor.
He asked if Wauseon Machine and Manufacturing would be interested in partnering as an investor in a future TIF. Anair said they would for sure be willing to look into that.
Also at the meeting, Council approved on emergency resolutions approving a wage increase for non-union employees, authorizing an agreement for indigent defense services, authorizing the finance director to establish a new fund for depositing and administration of funds from certain fire and EMS levies, designating public depositories and awarding public monies, and to enter into an agreement for a countywide emergency management agency.
First readings of the resolution included an ordinance providing for a city law director, assistant law directors and setting a rate of compensation and an ordinance to make approprations for current expenses during the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2022.
Councilman Patrick Griggs, who did not seek election in November, was recognized for his service to the citizens of Wauseon. Mayor Huner presented him with a plaque and thanked him for the knowledge that he brought to the City of Wauseon.