Joy Short (pink shirt) appealed a Planning Commission zoning decision regarding Murphy's Trash Service LLC during Monday's City Council meeting. Other citizens showed up both in support and in opposition to the decision. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
Joy Short (pink shirt) appealed a Planning Commission zoning decision regarding Murphy's Trash Service LLC during Monday's City Council meeting. Other citizens showed up both in support and in opposition to the decision. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT – City Council heard an appeal request from Joy Short, owner of Murphy's Trash Services LLC, during Monday's meeting. Short approached Council to have a decision made by the Planning Commission to deny the rezoning of her property at 1014 E. Main St. from an R2 to a B1 zone overturned.

Short noted that the property has been used for Murphy's Trash since 1997 and that four trucks had been parked there up until recently when it was discovered that the trucks were breaking an ordinance because they were commercial trucks parked in a residential zone. Short asked for the rezoning so that she could continue to park the trucks at the property as she has done for over 20 years.

Allen Brown, owner of 1020 E. Main St. and Cathi Carpenter, resident at 1020 E. Main St., also attended the meeting and told Council that they did not want the trucks parked at 1014 E. Main St. Carpenter claimed that the trucks smelled bad and attracted rodents, a claim that Short denied and said was subjective.

Council decided to table a vote until they could see the property and speak with the Planning Commission to learn more about why they denied Short's zoning request. A vote is expected to take place at the May 29 meeting.

In other business, City Auditor Martha Balyeat shared that the income tax revenue is $69,000 below last year at this time, but she said that last year income tax revenue was around $100,000 ahead of the previous year (2017).

"Last April was a record-breaking April," said Balyeat. "So, revenues were particularly high."

Balyeat noted that because of a change in how businesses pay their net profit tax, revenues that are typically seen in April will now be seen in June. She said this changes her 20-year projected averages and said that she will know more about the income tax revenue situation after June.

"It appears that income tax revenues could be not meeting our projection," said Balyeat. "At the end of June, we need to take a real serious look at it."

She also noted that Municipal Court fines and costs are down $25,000. Law Director John Hatcher attributed some of the decrease to the weigh station on U.S. 30 being closed for the time being.

With the decrease in certain revenues, Balyeat noted that the General Fund is currently $46,000 behind where the City was last year at this point and time.

Also during the meeting, Bill Marshall reminded residents that there is an ordinance in place that makes mowing grass into the streets illegal. He stated that this is a safety precaution and urged residents to mow grass inward for the first few passes to ensure grass is not blowing into the roadway.

Council asked the Law Director to prepare an ordinance to allow Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming to advertise, bid and award for road paving projects. Sections of Rosalie Drive, Shaffer Street, Golden Oaks Drive, Congress Street, Jackson Street, Sibley Street, Monroe Street, and Walnut Street will be paved this summer.

During his report, Mayor Jerry Mazur thanked several people who he worked with during his time as mayor which will come to an end in 2020. Councilman Ken Markward recently defeated Mazur in the May primary election and won the November Republican nomination for mayor.

"I'd like to thank the two Councils that I've worked with over the last three and a quarter years," said Mazur. "I think we made a lot of progress in economic development and some other areas in regard to cleaning up the city and making it more livable. I'd like to thank the Council for their work in that. I'd like to thank Jay (Fleming) for his efforts in training yet another mayor, and I'd like to congratulate Ken (Markward) for his accomplishment at the primary. I wish him all the best at the general."

Council approved two ordinances on the consent agenda which include ordinance 19-05-027 which transfers funds from 101 to 302 and ordinance 19-05-028 which advances funds from 101 to 302.

Council also approved ordinance 19-05-030, an ordinance that authorizes the Safety-Service Director to advertise for bids and award contracts to the lowest and best bidder for the painting of the water tower and for replacing the blower at the Waste Water Treatment Plant.

With no further business, City Council adjourned. The next Council meeting will be held Wednesday May 29 at 6:30 p.m. A 6 p.m. committee meeting will be held prior to the next Council meeting to discuss code enforcement ideas.