OSS: Reconsider recycling

Ottawa, Sandusky and Seneca County Solid Waste District Director Tim Wasserman requested Tiffin City Council reconsider curbside recycling at the council meeting Monday.

In public comment, Wasserman said Clinton Township is experiencing a high volume of recycling and he believes city residents are utilizing the township’s bins.

He said the township and the district are overwhelmed by the volume and may have to remove the bins or turn away Tiffin residents to protect the integrity of the site.

Wasserman said in comparison to other communities, he believed the city could save residents on hauling and recycling by instituting a curbside recycling program.

He also said issues – such as senior citizens having low usage – could be discussed when looking into contracts.

The city would bid out curbside recycling only if it was a benefit to residents, Wasserman said.

He said the district and the township are willing to work on a solution with the city.

Tiffin Law Director Brent Howard said the specifications were flexible and could be discussed before a contract is signed.

Councilman Joe Hartzell asked whether there is a program for the city comparable to the one with the county.

Councilman Rich Focht said the city already had laws addressing curbside recycling and should follow those laws, but should also save people money if the city decides to go with a program.

Council President Rich Cline said although the township is overwhelmed by recycling, Clinton Township residents benefit from Tiffin’s services.

Clinton Township Trustee Jim Distel said he did not want to turn away people from the recycling bins. He also said parking during today’s election may be minimal due to the number of bins in the parking lot.

He said he hoped the city could work with the district and the township to come up with a solution.

The issue had been referred to the Law and Community Planning Committee at a previous meeting.

Howard also addressed the issue of prayer before council meetings.

He said the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision Monday on a case similar to the issue brought to the city of Tiffin by the Freedom Against Religion Foundation. The court upheld the use of Christian prayer at the start of local council meetings in its opinion on Town of Greece v. Galloway.

The decision stated prayers were consistent with a national tradition and said prayers in the limited context could co-exist with the principles of the establishment and religious freedom.

Howard said the decision stated a challenge based solely on the content of the prayer would not establish a Constitutional violation and the city was not forcing residents to join in the prayer.

The opinion also said the principal audience of the invocations is lawmakers, not the public. The case took into account the city inviting local clergy to join the council in prayer.

Howard said he is to look into the proceedings and plans to bring information back to council.

Finance Director Gwynn Reinhart said in her report the General Fund unencumbered balance as of April 30 was $2,487,265.80.

Municipal income tax receipts are up 10.3 percent from April 2013. In April, the city received the Hotel Motel Tax payments for the first quarter totalling $10,942.46, Reinhart said.

The final receipt for estate taxes was received, totalling $10,662.02, she said.

The unexpended balance for all funds was $13,874,151.30.

The ordinance authorizing Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz to move forward on a Transportation Alternatives Grant application for the Heidelberg Streetscape Project was withdrawn because the project was included in a previous ordinance.

Montz also requested the demolition of the Stalsworth Hotel and livery building be referred to committee. Cline referred the request to the Economic Development and Downtown Planning Committee.

Council is to meet in a committee of the whole meeting to discuss natural gas and electric aggregation with Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council at 6 p.m. May 16.

In other business, council approved by 7-0 votes:

An ordinance amending Chapters 907 and 908 of the Tiffin Codified Ordinances regarding the city’s Industrial Sanitary Sewer System Pretreatment Program.

An ordinance approving Ohio Department of Transportation Bridge Inspection Program Services and declaring an emergency.

An ordinance authorizing Montz to accept a license agreement and take all other actions necessary to acquire a license agreement for the Phase 3B Combined Sewer Separation Project, suspending the three-reading rule and declaring an emergency.