Council rejects single-hauler plan

Tiffin City Council voted 4-3 against an ordinance allowing for curbside recycling and a single trash hauler at the meeting Monday.

The ordinance would have allowed for the administration to bid out for a single trash hauler for curbside recycling and trash hauling for municipal facilities, residential and small commercial units.

In public comment, Tiffin resident Michael Brown presented pros and cons of switching to a single hauler. By switching, he said the city could increase recycling, decrease wear and tear on streets, decrease costs for residents and receive grant money.

He said the only negative outcome of switching to a single hauler was residents losing their choice.

Larry Lundy, founder and general manager of GIBS Sanitation Service in Fostoria, spoke against the ordinance, stating education was more important in promoting recycling and eliminating the public’s choice would take business away from local haulers.

Councilman Joe Hartzell said he researched cities that have gone to a single hauler and he was against the ordinance. Many cities did not have contracts with local haulers, and he said switching would take away the livelihood of local businesses.

Councilman Rich Focht said council should look into the current ordinance for recycling.

Councilmen Mark Hayes and Steve Lepard said the city is losing out on grant money and may have to pay in order to provide recycling in designated locations.

Mayor Aaron Montz said the grant money the city could receive from having a recycling program would be used toward playground equipment.

Council President Rich Cline said ordinances requiring residents to bring in their toters within 18 hours of collection and for mandatory recycling cannot be enforced.

He said, with failure of the ordinance, council either would have to repeal the ordinances or allocate funding to hire someone to enforce the laws, because there is not enough staffing to enforce the current ordinances.

Cline referred the issue of the current ordinances to the Law and Community Planning committee.

Council also discussed the shared justice center study during a committee of the whole meeting.

Montz said the city should move forward on the project and not wait for the Seneca County commissioners to make a decision.

He said after Andrew Kalnow, chairman and CEO of National Machinery LLC and owner of East Tower LLC, announced his purchase of the former East Junior High School, the building also could be considered for the shared justice space.

Montz said he had hoped a firm could be hired by next year and construction could begin by 2016. No decision has been made on a design or location for the justice center.

The shared justice center is estimated to cost about $8.5 million, according to a recently completed study. The center would save about $850,000 between the city and the county, with about $180,000 in operations and maintenance savings per year, Cline said.

Seneca County Commissioner Fred Zoeller said every year the project is delayed, 6 percent is added to the cost of the project, totaling about $500,000 a year.

He also anticipated no additional taxes would be levied.

Montz agreed, saying the city and county had the money now and both entities could not anticipate the economic outlook for the next several years.

Judges Steve Shuff, Mark Repp and Michael Kelbley attended the meeting in support of adoption of the study. Shuff said the study was a concept and that the location could be decided later, but the city and county had to move forward as soon as possible.

Montz supported waiting until a study is completed on the feasibility of using the East Tower building for the center.

Council is to hold a special meeting at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the resolution in support of the joint justice center, the purchase of a new street sweeper and transferring $100,000 from capital improvements to street paving.

Tatehito Ueda, president of Taiho Kogyo Co. Ltd., presented to the city a donation of $1,000 in appreciation of its work with the company.

Ueda said the Tiffin Taiho plant has continued to grow, with record sales of $37.4 million in 2013.

“The city leadership welcomed Taiho into the community and the partnership has remained strong these last 18 years,” Ueda said.

He also thanked former Seneca Industrial Economic Development Corp. President and CEO Rich Focht and Montz for their assistance in guiding Taiho through its expansion.

Ueda said he looked forward to continuing the partnership between the company, SIEDC and council.

Montz also presented Ueda with a proclamation thanking him for the donation, which is to be used on improvements at Jocko Huffman Field at Hedges-Boyer Park.

Finance Director Gwynn Reinhart said in her report the General Fund unencumbered balance as of March 31 was $2,283,409.03.

Municipal income tax receipts are up 9.3 percent from March 2013. Reinhart said the city received the first half of 2013 property taxes from the county, which inflated the General Fund unencumbered balance.

The unexpended balance for all funds was $13,160,630.36.

In written communication, Montz requested council consider the 2014 Residential Alley Paving program. The request was referred to the Streets, Sidewalks and Sewers Committee. Montz’s request for wireless Internet for city hall was referred to the Materials and Equipment Committee.

Reinhart’s request that council consider amending the budget to allow for the purchase of EMS equipment was moved to the Finance Committee.

Columbia Gas is to hold a public hearing in the training room in City Hall at 6 p.m. Thursday. Residents in the Second Ward may be affected by gas mainline replacements and drilling.

City offices are to be closed April 18 for Good Friday.

Council also passed in a vote of 6-0 an ordinance amending Budget Ordinance 13-73 to appropriate funds for legal services involving the AQUAOhio Inc. water rate case with a suspension of the three-reading rule.

Lepard abstained from the vote due to a conflict of interest.

In other business, council approved with votes of 7-0:

A resolution approving Montz’s appointment of Brandon Amory for a term on the Americans With Disabilities Act Advisory Committee through Dec. 31, 2016.

An ordinance authorizing Montz to sign an agreement with the Tiffin Community YMCA to operate and manage the city’s pool at Hedges-Boyer Park for the 2014 summer season, and declaring an emergency.

An ordinance approving the labor contract between the city and Local 322, International Association of Fire Fighters, for the period of Jan. 1, 2014, to Dec. 31, 2016, declaring an emergency and suspending the three-reading rule.

An ordinance amending the Budget Ordinance 13-73 to appropriate funds for grants received for EMS equipment and suspending the three-reading rule.

An ordinance approving the labor contract between the city and the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (Tiffin Police Communication Technicians), for a period from Jan. 1, 2014, to Dec. 31, 2016, suspending the three-reading rule and declaring an emergency.