Wauseon Council to ban smoking in parks

Parking lots excepted

By David J. Coehrs - dcoehrs@civitasmedia.com

Members of Wauseon City Council on Monday unanimously approved a recommendation by the Building and Grounds Committee to ban all smoking in the city’s public parks, with the exception of their parking lots.

Committee member Rick Frey said signs will be posted in the lots advising visitors of the new city regulation.

He said City Law Director Tom McWatters III had presented several options at the committee’s March 2 meeting regarding smoking in public parks. They had included proposals to ban smoking within 25 to 50 feet of areas that would be designated smoke-free and to ban smoking completely in all areas.

In the end, the committee determined that smoking only in the parking lots was acceptable.

In other business, Utility Committee member Shane Chamberlin said that during a Feb. 20 meeting the owners of Wauseon Senior Village proposed an expansion on the property’s north side. They told the committee they will apply for federal funding assistance, and requested a $25,000 waiver of city tap fees to increase funding possibilities.

They also offered to install sidewalks to connect the senior complex with Dorothy B. Biddle Park.

Chamberlin said the committee agreed with the village addition but offers no recommendation at this time.

Committee members also discussed a possible agreement with Fulton County to provide phone and Internet service to city buildings through the county’s fiber optic cable system. Chamberlin said the joint operation would cost the city about $1,300 a month, a savings of two-thirds over its current IT service, which costs between $3,400-$3,500 monthly.

But the committee also discussed concerns about the proposed agreement, including whether confidential city records would remain secure and the cost of placing fiber optics in the city’s satellite buildings.

No recommendation was made to the council.

The Personnel Committee determined during a Feb. 27 meeting that a new executive assistant position in the Wauseon Fire Department should be filled through direct hire. Member Heather Kost told the council a proposal to use an intern was scrapped after the committee determined that a probation and evaluation system already in place could be used with a full-time hire.

No recommendation was made to the council. Fire Chief Rick Sluder will begin advertising for candidates this month.

In department reports:

• Chief Sluder said the fire department will hold an open house and breakfast March 18 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the delivery of the department’s Seagrave pumper truck. The antique truck will be on display.

• Police Chief Keith Torbet said the department’s building will be upgraded this week with a new camera system.

He said enrollment for this year’s Safety City has begun. The department has applied for a $2,000 Norfolk-Southern grant to defray the program’s $5,000 cost. He said over the past several years Safety City has been paid for entirely through donations and registration fees.

He also announced April 29 as the next Drug Take-Back Day, with hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at locations throughout the county. Residents can bring unwanted and unneeded prescription drugs in zip-lock plastic bags to the police department for disposal.

• Public Service Director Dennis Richardson said the city is currently arranging relocation of the city’s recreation office to Biddle Park. State permits have been received for the office section of the project.

Richardson also reported that the city pool project is progressing. Duket Architects of Toledo has submitted a draft contract to the Astro Pool Company of Mansfield, Ohio, for review, and the city has proposed bid dates for the pool house project.

• Finance Director Jamie Giguere said city income tax revenue was up eight percent in February.

• Law Director Tom McWatters III discussed an agreement the city approved on emergency passage Monday with Wood County to provide inspection services for the city’s residential buildings. He said a contract between the entities can be terminated after 30 days if the relationship isn’t proceeding well.

City Council also passed 5-1 the second reading of a resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into agreement with Fulton County for sanitary sewer services. Councilor Rick Frey cast the negative vote.

Parking lots excepted

By David J. Coehrs


David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.

David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.