City Auditor Martha Balyeat speaks during the City Council meeting Monday evening. (DHI Media/Sherry Missler)
City Auditor Martha Balyeat speaks during the City Council meeting Monday evening. (DHI Media/Sherry Missler)

By SHERRY MISSLER

Times Bulletin Staff Writer

smissler@timesbulletin.com

VAN WERT — Van Wert City Council met Monday evening. One matter council members wanted to address is the problem of bulky items being left at the curb.

Rich Riley of Young’s Waste Service offered to accept items that residents find difficult to get rid of. He offered two dates in September, Sept. 14 and 28, when city residents can bring in large items like appliances, couches, and other bulky furnishings. The plan is for the city to pick up at least a portion of the tab. Young’s would be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., charge the city a maximum of $3,000 with any additional cost being picked up by Young’s. This service will be only for city residents and apply only to nonregular, noncommercial trash. There was some question as whether some help could be provided for those people without a truck or trailer or the ability to bring in large items. Tomlinson noted, “We are trying to benefit the community, and as much as I feel for the people who maybe don’t have a truck in my mind, I’d rather just run this in September as is and tell people ‘if you need help, find somebody with a truck.’” He added that if the program is a success, “we can certainly do it again in the spring, and plan on having some transportation.” Council voted to prepare an emergency resolution for the money needed. This resolution is to be presented at Council’s next meeting on Aug. 26.

Auditor Martha Balyeat presented the July 31 bank reconcilement during her administrative report. She had both good news and bad. “General Fund revenues are $33,000 behind where we were last year.” She added, “Total income tax which would be the General Fund, Police and Fire, Safety and the Street Fund were $41,000 ahead of where we were last year. I’m not sure we are going to meet our projected revenue number. It’s gonna be tough. Year to date revenues are $3,861,000 while expenses are $3,803,000 so we’ve actually taken in $57,000 more than we’ve spent.” She went on to say that income tax revenues “are not increasing quite at the pace we thought they were. But I don’t think that will cause us any problem this year. Going forward, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.”

She made the case for charter government using the reconcilement report. “One thing I do want to point out. This reconcilement is something apparently the county does not do. That’s why they are having the problems that they are having. I think this whole situation just gives us all the more reason to pursue charter government, because the biggest problem is that you don’t have any power over your elected officials once they’re elected. You can boot them out at the end of their term, but those terms at the county are four-year terms. The other big problem is that you can end up with people in those positions who have absolutely no experience, no education, and no prior knowledge of the kind of work that they’re going to do. So if you go to charter you can hire somebody. You get to look at their credentials and judge them on merit.”

She concluded, “I think that the situation the county’s in just gives us all the more reason that we need to push for charter government, and try to educate the public on what that does. It’s an unfortunate circumstance that the county is in, and we don’t want to be in a mess like that.”

Law Director John Hatcher spoke on opposition to House Bill 49 which centralizes the tax collection through the state of Ohio and charges local governments administrative fees. He noted that the legislation is a violation of “Home Rule” powers granted to municipalities.

He also spoke briefly on the state’s new hemp law, saying law enforcement will not write citations for possession because they don’t have the equipment needed to allow them to determine the amount of THC. He noted that it would likely mean fewer court cases and possibly less revenue from fines.

Council voted to prepare an ordinance designating a “Purple Heart” parking space in front of the Courthouse.