A recommendation that fire protection contracts between the City of Wauseon and the townships it services be renewed on an annual basis was approved Monday by City Council.
Finance Committee member Jon Schamp told the council the process was recommended because each township will have an individual contract with the city. He said exceptions to the one-year limit can be made by either party.
“Our attitude from day one on this was, this was supposed to be a negotiated process. Our starting point was just a starting point,” Schamp said.
Fire Chief Rick Sluder told committee members during an Aug. 11 meeting that a formula he and the Fulton County Auditor’s Office developed for the contracts based on fire department expenses would mean substantial cost increases for some of the townships.
He said Dover Township, which currently pays $20,000 plus $5,000 in labor costs annually for fire protection, has made a counter-proposal of 1 mill, or $36,203 annually. That amount equals the fire protection millage paid by Clinton Township residents in property tax. Dover Township trustees said since they have no levies in place, carryover in the township’s fire fund will cover any contract increase for now.
Schamp said Monday that Sluder continues fire protection contract negotiations with the townships. They began in March.
In a Park Board report, Councilor Scott Stiriz said a cold process previously approved by the council for installing asphalt in Dorothy B. Biddle Park will begin after Labor Day. Bruce Ernst Asphalt Inc. of Wauseon has been contracted to complete the work on the park’s parking lots.
Stiriz said a pavilion constructed at the park has been awarded a Certificate of Occupancy, and has been equipped with picnic tables. At a Park Board meeting held Aug. 9, City Public Works Superintendent Dave Murry received approval to include a second Biddle Park pavilion in next year’s budget.
Stiriz also said the board will consider placing “No Smoking” signs around the park to discourage visitors from littering the ground with cigarette butts.
In department reports:
• Police Chief Keith Torbet said signs have been placed on Glenwood Street announcing a section will be blocked from traffic twice daily during the school year. Torbet said the blockade is to protect children during their commute to and from school.
• Public Service Director Dennis Richardson said city administrators will tour the construction area on Linfoot Street to make a list of what work remains on the reconstruction project. He said all work should be completed within a week or two.
Richardson said the New Pool 4 Wauseon Committee moves forward to collect construction bids from contractors.
“It’s kind of a watershed moment. I think they’re to be congratulated and applauded for their effort in getting this whole thing started and raising well over $100,000 for the project,” he said.
He also reported that interviews continue for vacant positions at the city’s water treatment plant, and said a new recreation supervisor will be announced soon to fill the position vacated by Aaron Tiplady.
• Finance Director Jamie Giguere told the council she has created a link on the city’s website that allows residents to pay water bills and tax payments online with a credit card. A 3.5 percent processing fee will be attached.
Giguere said notice of the link will likely appear in future mailings.
The City Council meeting began with a summary of the Wauseon Recreation Association by board member David Gerken. He reported the organization at this time has a more than $20,000 excess, but worked at a deficit in 2015 due to the $20,000 purchase of bleachers and the nearly $7,000 to replace a slush machine, both for Biddle Park.
Gerken said, based on a recent Health Department inspection, the WRA will have to spend about $10,000 to upgrade equipment at the park’s concession stand to commercial grade.
He noted that the organization, which was created in 1981, hosts baseball tournaments and the Special Olympics, and provides softball and soccer at the park.
In other business, City Council also approved the suspension of three readings and emergency passage of:
• A resolution authorizing Mayor Kathy Huner to accept donations from the New Pool 4 Wauseon Committee of architectural and engineering services from Duket Architects in Toledo.
• A resolution authorizing the mayor to grant a permanent easement to Toledo Edison on city bicycle trail property between Enterprise Avenue and Dickman Road to install underground electrical service for Skyway Towers.
• Separate ordinances to include new chapters to the city’s codified ordinances regarding solicitation and camping.
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.