The Nov. 22 City Council meeting began with the swearing in of two firefighters who received a promotion. Jay Gaffney and Mike Saurers were both promoted to the rank of fire lieutenant.
“They went through a written exam and an assessment center that has task-oriented tests. A lot of hands on knowledge was gained. I’m very happy for them,” Fire Chief Phil Jackson said.
“The City of Galion is fortunate to have employees of their caliber,” Council President Carl Watt added.
In legislation there was a third reading for Ord. 2016-101, a contract renewal with Efficiency Smart. The program provides energy saving services to residential and commercial electric customers. The term of the contract is three years at a cost of $146,526 per year.
Councilman Mark Triplett motioned to postpone the legislation pending further budget discussions, seconded by Councilwoman Susan Bean.
Councilman Gail Baldinger noted the five-year recovery plan is projecting an increase in electric rates. He question what impact the Efficiency Smart program would have on rates. Mayor Tom O’Leary noted the cost of program is small in proportion to the city's power costs. Through the program, large power users would be able to minimize the impact of any rate increase.
Local business owners Eric Flick and Matt Horn, who have both used Efficiency Smart services, spoke in favor of the program. Horn said he wants work with Efficiency Smart again to do a light retrofitting project, which will lower his operating costs and allow him to hire more employees in order to fulfill upcoming contracts.
After discussion, the motion to postpone the legislation failed 5-1, with Bean dissenting. The third reading then passed 5-1, with Bean dissenting.
Ord. 2016-105 authorized the safety-service director to advertise for sale and sell property owned by the Galion Police Department. Police had acquired the property, located on South Washington Street, after a drug bust made in 2012. It is being sold because the city has no use for the property.
Police Chief Brian Saterfield explained proceeds from the sale will go to the Law Enforcement Trust Fund for training and equipment. The legislation passed as an emergency.
Ord. 2016-106 was legislation to approve the 2017 budget. Council passed this item as a first reading.
2016-107 was an amendment to the financial recovery plan. Council passed this item as a first reading.
Ord. 2016-108 was a CRA agreement with S. Longstreth LLC. The company owns Longstreth Memorials, which wants to move its operations to 1263 State Route 598 (the Galion Industrial Park). Longstreth has proposed making an investment of $1,342,897 and hiring the equivalent of five full-time and part-time positions within 12 months.
The Housing Council recommended a tax abatement term of 50% for 12 years. The legislation passed as an emergency.
Ord. 2016-109 amended 2016 appropriations for workers compensation in several departments:
Also approved the following transfers: $210 to Water Fund, $340 to Sewer Fund, $25,000 to Fire Department salaries, $600 to City Council salaries, and $200 to Law Department salaries. The legislation passed as an emergency.
Ord. 2016-110 was a vacation of several unimproved streets north of Harding Way West, in an area known as the former Lavant junk yard: Carpenter Avenue, Berry Street, Harmon Avenue and Herbert Avenue. The Planning and Zoning Commission previously recommended the vacation. Ord. 2016-111 was a vacation of alleys running adjacent to the streets vacated in the previous ordinance. Both items passed as first readings.
Res. 2016-22 approved then and now certificates in the amounts of $21,120 for audit services provided by Perry and Associates, and $3,700 for LGS audit services provided by the State Treasurers Office. This item passed as an emergency.
Council called a Special Meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m. for further discussion on Ordinances 106 and 107.