Councilman Bill Marshall (left) and Safety Service Director Jay Fleming discuss future building permit language during a committee meeting prior to Monday's City Council meeting. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
Councilman Bill Marshall (left) and Safety Service Director Jay Fleming discuss future building permit language during a committee meeting prior to Monday's City Council meeting. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT – In order to stop the recently passed building permit ordinance that would require all projects of $300 or more to have a permit from taking effect, Council asked Mayor Jerry Mazur to not sign the ordinance during Monday's City Council meeting. Mazur agreed and vetoed the ordinance until a new ordinance could be put in place.

The veto means that the current ordinance that has been in place for many years will still have rule while Council discusses plans to replace the ordinance. According to Council, the current ordinance is too vague, and in one place the ordinance states that projects starting at zero dollars require a permit while in another it states that projects starting at $1,000 require a permit.

"That's the problem we're trying to fix," said Council President Jon Tomlinson.

Council discussed an improved ordinance in a committee meeting Monday. Some members felt that there should be no permit required for citizens who do the work themselves and are doing cosmetic improvements, and most of Council agreed that contractors who do work on a home or residents who do structural work should have to get a permit. However, a dollar amount was not agreed upon. The permit ensures taxes are paid on the project and that the correct safety procedures are being followed.

Tomlinson advised that contractors who are doing work on a structure currently get a building permit.

In other business, Councilman Bill Marshall asked for 30 minutes prior to next Council meeting to speak with neighbors of the 681 N. Washington St. property. Marshall noted that the property has been a long-standing problem in the city and wishes to get neighbor's thoughts and opinions on the situation.

Also during the meeting, Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming updated Council on a few upcoming projects. The Washington Street and Central Avenue traffic light project is ready to be placed out to bid. That project is expected to be completed in the fall and will eliminate current traffic issues being caused by the current light. Fleming also noted that the City received a grant to connect the bike path on John Brown Road to Leeson Avenue.

Fleming also announced that Kyle Klinker will serve as the new Parks Department Director.

During her report, Auditor Martha Balyeat noted that the city has still managed to stay in the black, and at the end of August the city took in around $286,ooo more than they spent. It was noted that this is in large part due to many departments being mindful of their budgets.

"We're not making any great strides forward," said Balyeat. "We're still going to be reliant on the .22 tax for 2019, and who knows what will happen after that, but we're not going backward."

Tomlinson showed appreciation for those who have a part in managing the budget, noting that they work with what they have and make do.

"We have to appreciate what they are able to do with the limited funds we are able to provide," said Tomlinson of many city departments.

Balyeat noted that the main departments struggling from budget cuts are police and fire who are both working with limited employees.

Economic Development Director Stacy Adam spoke during the meeting about current economic development happenings. She noted that in a weeks time, and by partnering with Eaton and Ohio Means Jobs, Eaton was able to fill 63 full-time positions and 13 temporary positions. They were in need of a total of 100 employees.

Also during the meeting, Council voted to introduce legislation for a liquor permit for Casey's General Store.

With no further business, Council adjourned. The next meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 24. A public hearing to discuss the TIF for the subdivision purposed for the Dickinson Farms area is set for 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 17.