By Karen Cornelius
Mayor’s report/trash collection/city pool: Vermilion City Council met on Monday night, May 15, with councilman Frank Loucka absent and city prosecutor Margaret O’Bryon sitting in for law director Ken Stumphauzer. There was no city correspondence, no president’s report, no old business, and no law director’s report.
Mayor Eileen Bulan stated the city has been notified by Republic Services that beginning the week of June 5 all homes in Vermilion will have their garbage picked up every Wednesday. Bulk collections will be the same, the first full work week of each month now on Wednesday. All households will be notified of this change. This does not include the Vermilion Lagoons which will remain on their current schedule through the summer months.
The mayor said a lot of events will be coming up in the next few weeks with Third Thursday on Thursday, May 18. Vermilion Pride Day is Saturday, May 20, beginning at 8:30 a.m. with coffee and doughnuts provided by the Vermilion Lions Club. A shredder will be available in Victory Park from 9 a.m. to noon and a dumpster for the public at the Devon Service Center from 9 a.m. to noon. Everyone is invited to volunteer. People who need help with their yards can call the Mayor’s Office so volunteers can reach out to them. On Monday, May 29, Memorial Day will start off with a parade at 10:30 a.m. and program at 11 a.m. at the Victory Park gazebo.
The mayor also announced the community swimming pool will open, weather permitting, on Saturday, May 27. Memberships are available at the Mayor’s Office and at the pool when it opens.
Councilman Fred Ostrander commented on the trash collection change and thought it would be better because the town would look nicer for the summer and especially Third Thursday without garbage cans along curbs.
Service director’s update: Service director Tony Valerius reported the Street Department has been out Dura-patching on the east end of town, specifically on Brownhelm Station Road.
Councilman Ostrander said there was a concern on Sunnyside in the area of the bridge and tracks which is nasty. Valerius responded that he and city engineer Lynn Miggins met there and are getting proposals for repair.
Finance director’s report/junk car lot: Finance director Brian Keller said his office has requested a 60-day extension on filing the 2016 financial statements. He said this was also done last year and was acceptable.
Councilman Ostrander said there have been complaints about the business lot storing damaged cars at the eastend of the city. He said the junkyard appearance is an eyesore and the city is not getting any income from the business except $8,000 in property taxes they received before when the land was empty and not used. He said they have looked and can’t find where the city is receiving anything. Council president Steve Herron said it is an insurance business and they are making money. He put the topic on the next Finance Committee agenda in June. Mayor Bulan said they would do more research.
President Herron asked the finance director about the Ohio Checkbook program for the public to view city financial statements. Keller responded that Vermilion is on pace and has begun the process with 2015 information and will add 2014-13-12.
City engineer’s update/fire station #2: City engineer Lynn Miggins announced that in two weeks, June 5, the contractor, Herk Excavating, will start the pavement reconstruction with storm sewer improvements at fire station #2. She said they are looking forward to improving the area greatly.
Open to the audience/Mapleview Ditch: Amherst resident Sue Stone who co-owns property in Brownhelm Township on West River Road which abuts the Mapleview Ditch spoke about her concerns for a proposed ditch cleaning project. The property is farmed, but the owners would like to sell it for development. She said they were told there is basement flooding on Candy Lane, but the ditch on the border of their property has been clean. She said there is a 20-foot easement in Rolling Meadows which is the other side of their property. So she did not see why they should give another easement on their property when there is no flooding. She opposes the efforts to obtain an easement on their property. However, they would give a one-time offer to do a quick ditch cleaning. The Brownhelm Township trustees were not receptive to the offer. If the easement were forced, she would fight it. She came to city council so they would be aware of the one-time offer.
Councilman Ostrander and Mayor Bulan both commented the property was in Brownhelm Township and not the city. President Herron suggested it could impact the city if there were litigation. Councilwoman Barb Brady suggested they invite the Brownhelm trustees to come to a committee meeting. Mayor Bulan responded they meet the same night as council and couldn’t come. President Herron referred the topic to the Utilities Committee next month for further discussion.
Also from the audience, resident Dave Terken had five items for comment. He referred to fire station #1 on Ohio Street and agreed there wasn’t much clearance to expand there. He asked if they were still working on the noise ordinance. He asked since new water meters were installed if there was better accountability. He asked if the city were checking for water leaks this year. He said the city engineer’s proposal to install new water mains was impressive and the city should do a bulk of them early. Council president Herron said the administration would answer Terken’s questions next month under “response to the audience.”
New business/bike rakes/museum signs: Council passed a motion to authorize the administration to allow bike racks in the city right-of-way at seven locations including the Main Street Vermilion Office, Woodstock, Brummer’s, Soda Grill, Route 6, Granny Joe’s,and Rudy’s. They also carried a motion to allow signs for the Vermilion News Print Shop/Museum in the city right-of-ways.
City ordinances/storm water questions/Park Drive parking: Council gave a third reading to an ordinance to approve current replacement pages to the Vermilion Codified Ordinances. They adopted the ordinance by emergency. Council president Herron explained what emergency passage meant to an audience of Vermilion High School government students attending for their class credit. He said all an emergency means is that they are suspending the 30-day wait for legislation to go into effect so it can begin immediately.
Council gave a second reading to an ordinance with storm water regulations for new construction. Herron asked that they suspend the rules and there was a 5-1 vote with Ostrander opposing. He said they had talked about what to do about the new regulations. Councilwoman Brady said this ordinance was clear and just for new construction, not storm water regulations for existing businesses. She said existing business talk is floating out there and could be put on an agenda. Ostrander asked about businesses that applied for permits before this ordinance goes into effect. Service director Valerius said as far as the Building Department goes, this was not an ordinance when those businesses picked up their permits so this ordinace should not apply to them. Mayor Bulan pointed out there is no emergency attached to this ordinance so it doesn’t take effect until June 15. Businesses within this time frame who apply for permits are not subject to the new storm water regulations. Coucil then adopted the ordinance with Ostrander supporting it. The vote was 6-0.
Council members gave a second reading to an ordinance amending “Requests for Refunds” regarding the city income tax. The amendment would put refund interest only for those refunds $100 or over. A second reading was given to an ordinance to change the chapter title entitled “Storage of Junk Vehicles and Parts” to “Storage of Inoperable Vehicles.”
Council suspended the rules on the first reading of an ordinance to extend its moratorium on medical marijuana, and adopted it by emergency. In September council had passed a six-month moratorium, but it expired. This gives another six months wait until the state comes up with a sense of direction, guidelines, for dispensing marijuana for medical purposes. Council also suspended the rules on the first reading of an ordinance giving regulations for clandestine drug labs, and adopted it with no emergency. The ordinance makes property owners responsible for cleanup due to hazardous chemicals and allow the police to get search warrants.
A first reading was given to an ordinance to enter into an agreement with Brownhelm Township for the Mapleview Culvert Replacement project. This will go to committee for further discussion on June 12.
A first reading was given to an ordinance to amend the traffic control map to add “no parking signs” requested by the Vermilion Lagoons Association for the former Burley property the association now owns at the corner of Liberty Avenue and Park Drive. Councilman Ostrander said this request would hurt the business across from the property because seven parking spaces were being taken down to zero when possibly three spaces could be preserved. Service director Valerius stated that they can’t mandate usage on private property and cars should not be parking there because it’s the middle of the street and there are no curbs.