The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Dec. 17, 2018

VW City Council accepts subdivision plat

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

A depleted Van Wert City Council with two absent members heard some good financial news from City Auditor Martha Balyeat, while also accepting the plat and Planned Unit Development (PUD) design for Phase 1 of The Landing at Dickinson Farms subdivision during its meeting on Monday evening.

Van Wert Law Director John Hatcher (left) talks about last Monday’s town hall meeting opposing State Issue 1 while Council President Jon Tomlinson listens. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Council also voted to have the law director prepare an ordinance banning the dumping of snow onto city streets without permission.

City Council was down to five members for Monday’s session, with Council President Jon Tomlinson noting that Councilmen Bill Marshall and Warren Straley had both informed him that they couldn’t attend the meeting. Both were excused.

During her report, Balyeat noted that, for the year to date, the city has taken in approximately $362,000 more than it has spent so far, while tax withholdings have also increased approximately $156,000.

“That’s always a positive sign,” the city auditor said of the tax withholding increase. “That’s people who are working, who are having taxes withheld.

“We either had the same amount of people working and they are making a lot more money, or we had a lot more people working,” Balyeat added. “I think it’s a little of both.”

For the year, as of the end of September, Balyeat noted that the General Fund alone has increased more than $215,000 over the same time last year.

The city auditor said the fact that the city is spending $362,000 less than expected is also a good thing, since city spending was expected to be significantly more than that.

“We’re not losing any ground, and we may be gaining,” Balyeat told Council members.

The auditor also noted that it was getting about time to start working on the 2019 budget, as well as what to do about elected officials’ salaries prior to the 2020 primary election.

Streets and Alleys Committee Chair Steve Trittschuh asked for the preparation of an ordinance that would prohibit people and businesses from dumping snow onto city streets without permission. Like a previous ordinance banning the placing of grass clippings on city streets, the proposed ordinance seeks to make streets safer for city residents.

However, Balyeat said she was skeptical about whether such an ordinance could be — or would be — enforced.

“I can see it being passed and nothing happening after that,” she noted.

Council voted 5-0 to have the law director prepare such an ordinance.

Both Mayor Jerry Mazur and Law Director John Hatcher talked about a recent town hall meeting opposing State Issue 1 held last Monday in City Council Chambers. The meeting, which featured a number of city and county officials, as well as substance abuse treatment specialists from Westwood Behavioral Health Center, provided information opposing the issue. The issue, if approved, would create a constitutional amendment removing the possibility of prison time for drug possession.

Most of the law enforcement officials present last Monday were adamant in saying that a constitutional amendment was a poor way to deal with the issue of drug possession, while also noting that removing the threat of prison would mean fewer defendants would likely opt for treatment.

Hatcher said a video recording of the town hall meeting can be found on the city’s website (www.vanwert.org)by clicking on the “Council Meetings” link and then clicking “Watch VW Council Meetings.”

An ordinance creating a Tax Increment Financing agreement for The Landing subdivision was also read for the second time by Council members, while an executive session was also held to discuss personnel issues, with no action taken following the session.

The next meeting of Van Wert City Council will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday, October 22, in Council Chambers on the top floor of the Municipal Building, 515 E. Main St.

POSTED: 10/09/18 at 7:50 am. FILED UNDER: News