Council OKs funding change for sewers

The ordinance to put the governmental electricity aggregation program on the November ballot was voted down 6-1 with little discussion at the Tiffin City Council meeting Monday.

Council members also discussed an ordinance amending the budget to begin Phase 3B of the Sewer Separation Project. The project is to complete the sewer separation under the railroad tracks by Market and Perry streets. Included in the work is repaving the streets, Mayor Aaron Montz said.

“That’s a lot of the reason why the sewer work came in a lot higher than we had originally anticipated,” he said.

Although the estimate was higher than originally budgeted at the beginning of the year at $2.872 million, bids for the project came much lower than the estimate.

“We were very pleasantly surprised by what we got… the winning bid came from Underground Utilities Inc. at $2.035 million,” he said.

After completion of this project, the city is to have about 25-35 percent of the sewers separated, according to Montz.

Law Director Brent Howard said the city may need to get easement rights from landowners to complete the project. He is to give a report at the next meeting.

The three-reading ordinance was suspended and the ordinance amending the budget passed with a vote of 7-0.

Montz also requested legislation on the creation of a revitalization district. If approved, the district would allow up to 15 additional liquor licenses in the city. At least 75 percent of the businesses’ sales must be food sales, so bars would be unable to utilize these licenses, said Montz.

“I think that’s very exciting, especially with the recent growth we’ve seen in the community,” he said. “We all know that with more liquor licenses, it means more jobs, more sales and more tax revenue for the city of Tiffin.”

Howard outlined the timeline that the legislation would have to take, including public hearings on the district. The request was referred to the Law and Community Planning Committee.

Montz also reported that the city’s Community Development Block Grant applications were declined.

“It may be a blessing in disguise,” he said. “With all the work we have going on at City Hall right now … we would have been very hard-pressed to get all of this done.”

The city will be receiving $75,000 from the state to move forward with legislation for the demolition of the Salvation Army building.

Ken Davison presented to council his suggestion for Tiffin to participate in the Ohio Main Street Program. Through Heritage Ohio, the program would work with the community to revitalize historic or traditional commercial areas and improve aspects of the downtown district. Thirty-seven cities in Ohio participate in the program, Davison said.

Tiffin has applied in the past, but has not been accepted to the program. Davison called for the city to follow through with the program.

“I’m not about to give up,” said Davison. “I think Tiffin is an outstanding candidate for this program.”

For the city to become an associate member for a year, it would cost $950. Davison said the Tiffin Historic Trust would be willing to contribute to the fund in order to apply for the membership.

“We’ve gotten away in this community from our sense of history,” he said.

“I hope it sparks some activity in the community,” said President Paul Elchert.

In public comment, Jerry Haver asked council for information on the Stalsworth Hotel. Montz said the project was on hold due to retirement of the city engineer. After the completion of several summer projects and a final approval from the board and the Architectural Board of Review, the city will move forward on the project.

Haver also asked about the status of Buffalo Wild Wings coming to Tiffin, and Montz said that they were still looking for a location.

Montz also thanked Dan McElhatten for his donation to the Parks and Recreation Department.

Finance Director Gwynn Reinhart reported that she does not have enough information to finish writing an ordinance for the grant to rehabilitate the Laird Arcade Building. Tiffin Community Reinvestment Group LLC offered to pay the grant-related fees if the group can pick the grant administrator.

A second public hearing is to be scheduled.

Reinhart said the General Fund unencumbered balance as of July 31 was $1,627,938.93. Municipal income tax receipts were 6.1 percent higher than in 2008 and 5.4 percent higher than in 2012.

The unexpended balance for all funds was $12,072,936.45.

The next farmers market is scheduled for 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.

The art festival is 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday on the courthouse lawn.

The Sandusky River Cleanup is 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. Aug. 31. Volunteers are welcome.

In new business, council approved the following resolutions and ordinances by a vote of 7-0:

A resolution appointing Howard as the designee for Tiffin City Council and its individual members, to attend public records training sessions for purposes of compliance with Ohio Revised Code and declaring an emergency.

A resolution approving the mayor’s appointment of Joseph Granata to fill an unexpired term on the Park and Recreation Board, through Dec. 31, 2015.

A resolution approving the mayor’s appointment of Bonnie Boroff, to fill an unexpired term on the Seneca Board of Health, through March 31, 2015.

An ordinance amending the budget ordinance 12-73 to appropriate funds for security equipment for municipal court.

An ordinance amending the budget ordinance 12-73 for the 2013 Sidewalk Program.

An ordinance amending the budget ordinance 12-73 to appropriate donated funds for fireworks display-related expenses.