Times Bulletin News Writer

VAN WERT - A myriad of topics were discussed by members of Van Wert City Council Monday evening, among them was the idea of doubling the term of office of council members.

Councilman Stan Agler proposed a meeting to discuss the possible chance of council members two-year terms becoming four-year terms, an idea brought to light by Councilman, Jeff Agler. Ward boundaries and representation would also be looked at during this meeting.

Parks and Recreation Committee Chairman Stuart Jewett reported a lot happening with local parks. Jubilee Park should be up and running for the upcoming baseball season, while lights in Fountain Park are currently being updated for the upcoming Concert in the Park season. A meeting has also been scheduled to discuss the upcoming construction of the concession stand and restroom facility at Smiley Park. Safety and Service Director Jay Fleming reported that things are wrapping up for the Smiley Park building replacement, and a committee meeting will be required to begin the bidding process for the construction. Fleming also reported that the city has applied for a $36,000 grant has been applied to FEMA to reimburse funds spent on cleanup and replacement after the June 29 wind storm.

The Health, Service, and Safety committee held a meeting Monday night to attempt to wrap up the nuisance and abatement issue. A potential ordinance was given to each council member to review. It was established that a building board of appeals is already in place and includes five members appointed by the mayor.

"This is not designed to be a catch-all remedy but will give the city more options," said Farmer who noted he would like to see a daily fine placed on those who do not comply with regulations. He also believes the $300 cap currently in place on fines should be removed to urge property owners to continue the upkeep of their building and not allow it to reach a point of becoming unrepairable. According to Farmer, the city does not want to be held responsible for taking care of a neglected property and would like to be able to take a person to court for the offense, but even then it would be after the city has already paid for the repairs needed. Council members stated they would like to see something done sooner and to give the ordinance more teeth in order to make a positive action.

The annual Woodland Cemetery report was also presented to council. In 2012, the cemetery saw 112 burials, up from the 103 burials in 2011.

The meeting concluded with community member Jerry Mazur questioning the ballot language pertaining to the levy to fund the proposed aquatic center. Costs are still uncertain at this time, but any excess money raised by the levy would be used for repair of all community parks and capital improvements. There is worry from several that any excess money should be used solely for the upkeep of the center and that uncertainty about what the money may be used for will scare people away from the voting for the levy on the ballot.