Councilman-At-Large Bill Marshall and Safety Service Director Jay Fleming pull party poppers that Council President Pete Weir handed out at the end of the meeting to send the final meeting of the year “out in a bang.” (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
Councilman-At-Large Bill Marshall and Safety Service Director Jay Fleming pull party poppers that Council President Pete Weir handed out at the end of the meeting to send the final meeting of the year “out in a bang.” (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT – City Council met for the final time in 2017 on Wednesday evening. Saying good-bye to their positions during the meeting was Council President Pete Weir and First Ward Councilman Fred Fisher.

Jon Tomlinson will be sworn in as Council President in 2018, and Fisher will be replaced by Jeff Agler. To celebrate the end of the year, Weir handed out party poppers at the end of the meeting to send City Council out with a "bang."

Fisher stated that his time on City Council was educational and that the other members would still see him around.

During the meeting, City Auditor Martha Balyeat discussed the temporary budget once more as it included a few minor changes. One of which is a savings of $80,520 in the General Fund after the loss of a firefighter. It was also noted that some of the money saved was due to training cuts in the fire department.

During his report, Councilman-At-Large Bill Marshall explained that nuisance violations were down 28 percent in 2017 from 2016. In 2016 the city received about 550 violations, while that number dropped to around 400 in 2017.

In 2018, Marshall and City Law Director John Hatcher plan to work together to continue concentrating on nuisance violations and will look at bigger penalties for repeat offenders.

Marshall also noted that the trash pick up schedule will change at the beginning of the year to line up with recycling days.

“Whenever your recycle pick up was, that will be the date that they will do the trash,” said Marshall. “It’s that simple.”

Safety Service Director Jay Fleming asked Council to take a look at old ordinances that needed to be updated as times have changed. One of those ordinances is one that prohibits moving signage.

“Today everybody is doing LED signs,” said Fleming who noted that the ordinance is from 1993 and that the city has gotten a lot of requests for lighted signs.

He proposed the language that prohibits a business or a building in an industrial zoning area be removed so that businesses are not in violation of the ordinance. Fleming did, however, note that moving signs in a residential area may still need a variance.

Also during the meeting the Council read and passed an ordinance to expand the downtown redevelopment district to include several more businesses on Washington street and surrounding areas for its third and final reading.

Council read an ordinance to increase water and sewer rates for a second time. The ordinance has one more reading before it is passed.

Council also read, for the second time, an ordinance to make temporary appropriations for the annual expenses and other expenditures for the city.

The next City Council meeting will be Monday, Jan. 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building. A swearing in ceremony will take place at 5:45 p.m.