City wants building razed

Mayor Aaron Montz and Tiffin City Council discussed the possibility of the Architectural Board of Review’s reconsideration of their decision not to allow the razing of the building behind the Stalsworth Hotel at the meeting Monday.

Law Director Brent Howard said the board would be required to publicly vote since it is a public board.

Montz said that a new building could be constructed to fit in with the downtown style for less than it would cost to renovate the existing building.

He said it would take about $1.8 million to fix the rear property.

“To think that someone is going to come out of the community and invest nearly $2 million into a building that is nearly ready to fall in on itself, I think that’s just foolish for anyone to think that,” he said. “That’s why we want to raze the building.”

Councilman Jim Roberts said the building formerly was a haunted house called Nightmare Within – an appropriate name for the building.

“It is, within, a nightmare,” he said.

Howard said the architecture board was confident the property could be marketed. He also said council could provide more information to the board detailing why the city wants the building razed and ask for reconsideration.

He said the city has power of eminent domain and ltimately can decide the building’s fate.

Montz also thanked the fire departments and police departments involved in Sunday’s fatal fire.

Montz provided a written report from Tiffin Fire Chief Bill Ennis. In the report, Ennis wrote that on Sunday, the department was at the minimum staffing of eight when the fire occurred.

He also reported that if the fire had occurred in the middle of the city, transport of the victims would not have been completed as quickly as it did. With the Bascom Fire and Seneca County EMS involved, the departments were able to move quickly to control the incident.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Montz also read a proclamation declaring Sept. 21 as an International Day of Peace.

“We’re urging peace, not just across the world, but also here locally,” he said. “How nice would it be to just have one day where we can all get along and not complain and be happy people for just one day in the year?”

Sister Paulette Schroeder from the Sisters of St. Francis said the Peace Fair is planned for Sept. 28 on the courthouse lawn. A parade is slated for 1 p.m.

“All this week … you can do little acts of peace every day,” she said. “All those… little things (can) build up relationships and make it a much more attractive town.”

Montz announced that Matt Watson has been hired as the new assistant city engineer and is to start Sept. 30.

Donovan O’Neil, Northwest Regional representative for Auditor of State Dave Yost, presented Finance Director Gwynn Reinhart with the Auditor of State Award.

“To put it in layman’s terms, everything’s on the up and up in the city of Tiffin,” O’Neil said. “The books are all reconciled, and the dollars and cents are all there.”

He also said the only 52 entities out of about 800 in the region received the award. Reinhart thanked her staff for their hard work in receiving the award.

Reinhart also provided several requests for legislation during written communication.

Due to the hiring of the new assistant engineer, the wages and benefits lines are to be adjusted.

Reinhart also wrote that Chief Fred Stevens required two increases in his budget for the purchase of ammunition and an in-car mobile camera.

Due to the cost of the new long term control plan for the sewer separation project, Reinhart requested an additional $115,000 for engineering services.

The city has received an insurance claim check for storm damage at Oakley Park that is to go to the replacement of the bleachers and fencing.

The requests were referred to the finance committee.

In other business, the street paving program is to begin soon and will be completed by the end of October.

At 10:30 a.m. Saturday, the Heritage Festival Parade is to take place. At 7 p.m., the Harlem Ambassadors are playing a local team at Tiffin Columbian High School. Tickets are $5.

Oktoberfest is to be held noon-5 p.m. Oct. 6 at Garlo Heritage Nature Preserve.

Council is to meet in a committee of the whole with the executive board of Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. to discuss issues between the board and council at 4:45 p.m. Sept. 26.

In other business, council passed 7-0:

*A resolution accepting the amounts and rates as determined by the budget commission and authorizing the necessary tax levies and certifying them to the county auditor, and declaring an emergency.

* An ordinance authorizing the mayor to accept easements and take all other actions necessary to acquire easements for the Sanitary Sewer Separation Phase 3B Project, and declaring an emergency.

* An ordinance designating a revitalization district within the city of Tiffin.

* An ordinance amending the Budget Ordinance 12-73 for a donation to the Police Department and receipts in the Indigent Drivers Alcohol Monitoring Fund.

* An ordinance amending the Budget Ordinance 12-73 for engineering services for the sewer long term control plan and insurance proceeds for damage to Oakley Park, with a suspension.