Councilmen Brent Crone and Jon Tomlinson are sworn in Monday night by Van Wert Mayor Don Farmer. Monday night was the first meeting of the 2014-15 council. (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)
BY ED GEBERT
Times Bulletin Editor
VAN WERT -- With the start of a new year, Van Wert City Council began 2014 by adjusting to a few new members, familiar faces, and new duties. Council-at-large representatives Jon Tomlinson and Brent Crone were sworn in at the meeting's outset since neither were able to attend the swearing-in ceremony in December.
From there, a mostly introductory session began with new Council President Ken Mengerink guiding council members through the process.
Legislative duties on Monday were light with only a zoning change processed by council. After no objections were raised at public hearings in December, properties at 811 Washington St., 817 N. Washington St., and 103 Bonnewitz Ave. were changed from R-2 medium density residential to B-3 highway business.
Beyond the series of votes to make those changes, council members were given a tour through the city's financial statements by City Auditor Martha Balyeat. The final figures for 2013 showed that the city took in around $470,000 more than it spent last year, and it showed nearly $680,000 more in the general fund than one year ago. Balyeat cautioned that more than $525,000 of that money came from one-time windfalls in inheritance taxes, and settlements from the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation and a legal settlement dealing with Atrazine.
Both Mayor Don Farmer and Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming recognized the efforts put in by city employees during last week's snow emergency,
as well as county and state workers also. Farmer informed council that he had just received paperwork back on the former Washington School property and that he would sign the papers once they had been reviewed by City Law Director John Hatcher. With Van Wert City Schools maintaining a bus stop at that location, an agreement was reached for the school district to take care of snow removal at that site.
Fleming also reported that the concession stand at Smiley Park is coming along well in construction. Crews are inside working on drywall at this point.
Also, Fleming mentioned that there are a few tweaks to be made on the new stoplight at the corner of Fox Rd. and S. Shannon St. but that everything
had worked fine Monday morning during school transportation hours.