Mayor makes finance pick

Tiffin City Council appointed an acting finance director Monday night, 10 days after receiving a resignation letter from the previous director, and welcomed back a familiar face to the finance office.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz chose Kathy Kaufman as his nominee to replace Jennifer Miller, who resigned July 6.

Kaufman has about 27 years of experience in the city’s finance office. According to the city’s website, she was hired as an income tax clerk in June 1991 and has been city payroll manager since September 1999. Montz said the city now is looking for a new payroll manager.

Miller started the job in September after a monthlong hiring process. She replaced Gwynn Reinhart, who retired in November, but who will return in a part-time capacity to help Kaufman get acclimated.

Council approved legislation making Reinhart the city’s assistant finance director, working up to 24 hours per week.

Montz said he anticipates Reinhart’s time in the job to be short and said her pay should be covered by already appropriated funds. He said about $9,600 should be needed to employ Reinhart.

“We’re anticipating using less than that,” he said.

Due to state law, council’s vote on making Kaufman permanent director could come as early as the Aug. 6 meeting.

Kaufman gave her first finance report, which was a correction to June figures. She said income tax revenue is up by about $70,158, or 1.5 percent, through June 2018 compared to through June 2017.

In other business, Seneca Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Charlene Watkins gave council an update on SRPC plans that could affect the city.

Watkins said the comprehensive plan, which includes Tiffin, Fostoria, Seneca County and the county park district, is underway. She said the contractor has begun conducting interviews with public officials and department heads and meetings are planned for residents. The plan is to include strategies for housing, commercial and industrial development, education, transportation, parks and recreation, and arts and culture.

Watkins said the contractor has shown maps of proposed biking and walking trails as part of the active transportation plan. She said among the plan’s top priorities is connecting the county farm into a trail network that would lead to downtown Tiffin. She said another priority is connecting to the North Coast Inland Trail in Sandusky County and to the Wyandot County Trail.

Watkins said the proposals are impressive.

“It’s going to take a long time to do everything we dream of, but you’ve got to have the dream,” she said.

Watkins also said work is ongoing on a transportation improvement plan, a bus transit plan and a Sandusky River water trail plan.

In other news, Montz marveled at the success of several events this month, including Independence Day festivities at Hedges-Boyer Park, concerts at the new East Green amphitheater and Pizza Palooza.

“The first two concerts have been held at the green,” he said. “I think it goes without saying, it’s been an immense success. They have been packed, really just phenomenal. (People have enjoyed) the fruits of Mr. Kalnow’s labor with the East Green and the concerts.”

Montz said nearly 4,400 slices of pizzas were sold by eight businesses during Pizza Palooza downtown Saturday.

“Either we have good pizza in Tiffin or we love pizza in Tiffin. I think it’s a little of both,” he said. “This past weekend was huge in downtown Tiffin, I cannot believe the amount of people that were downtown. Everywhere was just jampacked with vehicles.”

Montz said he thinks “a few thousand” people attended the concert Saturday featuring local band Rusty Vinyl.

“I want to thank everyone involved with the events, it really was a rousing success for all of the downtown businesses,” he said.

Montz also mentioned the downtown farmer’s market and the St. Joseph Festival.

“That’s what this community is all about, great events,” he said.

Montz also updated council on several construction projects. 

He said resurfacing for the annual street paving project should begin this week, weather permitting. He said he expects it to be complete by late August.

Montz also said West Market Street across from the Tiffin Mall should re-open later this week. The area has featured detours recently because of sewer work being completed for creation of Progress Parkway.

He said widening and intersection work on US 224 at CR 1 should be finished in about a month.

Montz also said the Sarah Street Project, which includes widening and resurfacing, will go to bid July 31. The project, which is expected to cost about $1.5 million, is fully funded by federal earmark money.

Also during the meeting, Montz, Council President Mark Hayes and other city officials welcomed back Councilman Tyler Shuff, 33, who suffered a heart attack last week.

Shuff was released from Mercy Health – St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo Saturday after being taken there via Life Flight Thursday night.

“We are glad to have Councilman Shuff back,” Hayes said.