By Karen Cornelius
Woollybear compliments: Vermilion City Council met on Monday night, September 25. There was no city correspondence, no open to the audience, no law report, and no old business. Councilwoman Barb Brady was absent. City prosecutor Margaret O’Bryon was sitting in for law director Ken Stumphauzer.
Council president Steve Herron said he had no official report, but wanted to comment on the Woollybear Festival and commend the city, fire, police, chamber, and volunteers for a successful parade and festival. He said while it was hot and there were several health-related incidents, the first responders handled them professionally. Councilman Jim Forthofer added that the cleanup of streets after the event was remarkable and he agreed with Herron’s comments. Councilman Brian Holmes also said the first responders did a fine job.
Mayor’s report/John Vargo salute: Mayor Eileen Bulan announced the last public meeting for the Lakefront Connectivity Plan is Thursday, October 5, at Lakeview Park at 6 p.m. She asked people to try and attend so they can give input on this plan. She also announced that the city offices will be closed for Columbus Day, Monday, October 9. The mayor said flu shots will be available to the public at the Erie County Health Outreach Center at the Vermilion YMCA on October 5 and October 20, from 9 a.m. until noon. She congratulated the Firelands Symphony Orchesta for a fantastic concert that was held at Paper Moon Winery last Sunday and to the Vermilion Chamber of Commece for a very successful Woollybear.
The mayor offered condolences to the Vargo family in the passing of John Vargo. John was the president of the Vermilion Veterans Council for many years. He was the one who always put our flags at half-mast when necessary and he always attended and spoke at the Eagle Scout ceremonies. He will be missed, said the mayor.
Lastly, mayor Bulan asked city council for an executive session that night to discuss property acquisition.
Councilman Fred Ostrander asked the administration if they knew of any place people could go to fish that was handicap accessible. He had a call from a gentleman who used to go by the waterworks to fish, but now there’s no fishing there. The mayor suggested the public boat ramp off West River, but the caller told Ostrander it was too hard to get down there. Mayor Bulan said she would talk to the port authority and look into somewhere. Service director Tony Valerius said the port authority was planning a new kayak ramp which will be handicap accessible and maybe something could be worked out in that area. Ostrander said other communities on the lake have nice piers and Vermilion doesn’t.
Ostrander also asked the mayor about how the Land Bank program works concerning the empty field at the former gas station on Grand and Liberty. The mayor said that property went into foreclosure, was up at a sheriff’s sale twice with no bids, and then went to the Erie County Land Bank which then owns the property. The Land Bank donated the parcel to Vermilion. Ostrander asked city engineer Lynn Miggins about the completion of the railroad bridge on HIghbridge. She said the finish date is end of September, 2018. They are waiting due to some endangered species, the Indiana Bat and a warbler-type bird, once they migrate, then trees can be removed.
Under new business, council voted to go into executive session for property acquisition after the reading of the ordinances. At this time, councilman Ostrander asked for another executive session to discuss the purchase of real estate not connecting to the mayor’s request. Council voted for it as well.
Service director’s update: Service director Valerius asked council to approve going out to bid on icebreaking and chemicals for the water and sewer plants. The motion to prepare legislation for bidding was later done and approved under new business.
Council-at-large Monica Stark asked about the signage at the city entrance east of town that was knocked down by a driver. She said it had all the clubs and organizations listed and she hoped it would be replaced. Valerius said he and the mayor were discussing it and wondering how to pay for it so there’s no plan yet. Mayor Bulan said she would like a better sign like one in Huron, Ohio, but there wasn’t enough insurance money for a nicer sign. Stark suggested approaching the service clubs to replace the sign. The mayor said she discussed it with Rotary and the Lions.
Finance director’s update: Finance director Brian Keller asked council to suspend the rules on another amendment to the 2017 appropriations that night. He said he talked with a representative from the Ohio Treasury Department about the online Ohio Checkbook site and Vermilion’s data is loaded. Keller said a representative would like to come to city council and give a presentation on how it all works. Council president Herron suggested the committee meetings on October 16 or the council meeting on October 23.
Council-at-large Stark asked Keller about the appropriations amendment and what the $41,000 was for the court. She asked about the $80,000 from the water fund. Keller said the first amount was for the court roof and the $80,000 was to cover the Mapleview Ditch Project and lowering the watermain and for the Main Street waterline project. Under the reading of the ordinances, council suspended the rules on the budget amendment and adopted it by emergency.
Woodside resurfacing project: City engineer Miggins asked council to suspend the rules on a first reading for a change order on Woodside so drainage could be added at a cost of $12,619.50 by the contractor Precision Paving of Milan. During the reading of the ordinances, council suspended the rules and adopted the ordinance by emergency to keep the project going.
Reading city ordinances: A second reading was given to an ordinance to approve the plat of Bacon Allotment Re-subdivision #1 for recording purposes. A first reading was given to amend the original contract for Abraham/Miller Excavating of Vermilion for the Main Street Green Infrastructure Enhancements and Water Main Improvements by extending the contract completion date to December 31, 2017. A first reading was given to an ordinance to amend the city’s code on peddlers, canvassers, and solicitors. A first reading was given to an ordinance to amend a chapter on “District Regulations” and a section on “RS SPecial Residence District.” A first reading was given to an ordinance to amend a chapter on “Flood Damage Reduction” and a section on “Application Required.” This will be sent to the Finance Committee. A first reading was given to an ordinance to amend a section on “Zoning Certificates and Site Plan Required for Industrial and Commercial Developments.” A first reading was given to an ordinance to authorize the mayor to apply for a loan from the Ohio Water Development Authority for the construction of the Vermilion Water Main Replacement Project Phase 1. This ordinance was suspended and then adopted by emergency. Council-at-large Stark said she was glad this passed so the city could move on it and fix the waterlines.
Council’s schedule: Vermilion City Council will meet again on Monday, October 23, at 7 p.m. at the municipal complex on Decatur Street. All five committees will meet on Monday, October 16, at 7 p.m.