Council hears Christmas Parade concern

WDA president questions city takeover

By Rachael Krisher - For the Expositor

Jim Kerr, President of the Wauseon Downtown Association, addressed city council at the meeting Monday about his “concern of perceived overreach of the Holiday Committee.”

The Wauseon City Holiday Committee will be taking over the organization of the Christmas Parade for 2022. Kerr stated that prior to the Holiday Committee taking over the parade this year, the Wauseon Downtown Association has organized the Christmas Parade for 20 years and it has become the second largest event in downtown Wauseon.

He said that thanks to the Wauseon Downtown Association the parade has become “one of Wauseon’s greatest events” with over 40 parade entries in 2021. Kerr does not believe that the “committee has the right to take over from a volunteer organization” and organize the parade themselves after the Wauseon Downtown Association has spent the last “20 years building the parade for the community”.

In response to Kerr, Director of Public Service Keith Torbet, explained that the Holiday Committee voted unanimously after discussions of concerns after the 2021 parade, specifically noting concerns regarding the “lack of volunteers and lack of organization” in 2021.

A letter was sent to the Wauseon Downtown Association in July 2022 letting them know of the committee’s decision and although Kerr did respond via letter in August, no in person discussions have occurred until now. Torbet explained that the City of Wauseon has “many events tied to the parade” and therefore needs it to run smoothly.

Mayor Kathy Huner also noted that she personally spoke with Kerr on the phone asking him to come to a Holiday Committee meeting, but he never met with the committee to discuss the concerns he brought to Council Monday. Kerr continually reiterated concern for the Holiday Committee’s overreach saying it’s a “bad move for the city” and saying to council “please don’t let it happen again.”

Council entered executive session for approximately one hour for the “purpose of considering the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion, or compensation of a public employee or official” per the statement on the council agenda.

After exiting executive session, council voted to table the recommendation of the personnel committee to enter into an agreement with Paylocity for HR and payroll solutions. Council also voted to table Resolution 2022-29: a resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with Paylocity for human resource and payroll solutions.

Fire Chief Phil Kessler reported that the department has a new full-time firefighter/paramedic starting tomorrow. This new employee will take the oath of office at an upcoming council meeting.

Police Chief Kevin Chittenden reported that the police department will be issuing a patrol officer test on Saturday with four candidates taking the test. Chittenden also reported that the department received over 50 pounds of prescription drugs during their recent Drug Take Back Day, which was turned over to the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Torbet reported that both the Brunell Street and Washington Street projects are complete. Torbet reported that the completed Brunell Street project came in $100,000 over the original estimate. Torbet also reported on an upcoming inspection of the city’s water tower, which he says is “expected to pass.”

Council passed on first reading a resolution to amend the annual appropriation ordinance, by authorizing the Director of Finance to increase or decrease certain line account appropriations within the various funds listed within the year of 2022.

Council also passed on first reading a resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement for indigent defense services in county court with the Fulton County Commissioners.

Council passed on second reading a resolution authorizing the mayor or her designee to accept the lowest and best bid and to enter into a contract with lowest and best bidder for the refuse franchise.

Council approved payment of the bills presented and the proposed 2023 council meeting schedule.
WDA president questions city takeover

By Rachael Krisher

For the Expositor