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The Weekly Informer (3/7/16)

I know that I have been on a break for a few weeks. Back to work.

On Monday, February 29th, 2016, at 5:30pm, the following transpired:

Committees (Descriptions sometimes as they appear on facebook page.):

  1. Finance (Members present, Marmie, Cost, Fraizer, Floyd, and Bubb):

  2. Resolution No. 16-20: a money-spending measure, with a request to vote on this Monday.

  3. Pemitting the transfer of $2,500 for a trailer - according to Safety Director Spurgeon -, relative to donations that his department has been soliciting for an "all purpose vehicle". Motion by Floyd, Second by Bubb. No discussion. Result: Passes 5-0.

  4. Permitting the expenditure of $87,500 from the Intra-/Inter Governmental fund for distribution of 2015 income collections: $85,000 to JEDZ1, $1,000 to JEDZ1 2016 "Refunds", and $1,500 to JEDZ2. Motion by Bubb, seconded by Fraizer. No Discussion. Result: Passes 5-0.

  5. Resolution No. 16-23: a money-spending measure, request made at the meeting for it to be voted on without the second reading.

  6. From the Infrastructure (Bond Note) Fund, spending $15,077.78 for West Church Street "land improvements". City Engineer Morehead said that this is just "a re-appropriation of funds that was on a purchase order that was inadvertently closed at the end of 2015". Motion by Bubb, seconded by Floyd. No discussion. Result: Passes 5-0.

  7. From the Sewer Department Fund, $275,000 for "engineering services" in funding the "design of an anaerobic digester". Fraizer asked if this is a “one-time expense”, which Mr. Loomis confirmed as much “for design”. However, Loomis noted that the administration will later return for a request pertaining to “construction”. Motion by Bubb, seconded by Floyd. No further discussion. Result: Passes 5-0.

  8. From the Storm Water Projects Fund & Storm Water Utility Fund, $650,000 for "a stream bank restoration project at the diversion ditch out by Granville Road at Raccoon Creek" with half of the amount paid for by a grant from the Muskingum Water Conservancy District. Motion by Floyd, seconded by Bubb. No discussion. Result: Passes 5-0.

  9. Capital Improvements:

  10. There was no business for this committee. Result: *

  11. Service: (Members present: Rath, Cost, Fraizer, Floyd, and Bubb)

  12. In his annual report, the Utilities Superintendent Roger Loomis spoke on the Division of Water & Wastewater. A few highlights from his presentation (which you will not find in the minutes provided by the city):

  13. Obviously with the crisis in Flint, Michigan in mind, Mr. Loomis addressed lead in the water. He first laid a pipe and a piece of pipe from the downtown project on the table in front of councilmembers.

  14. He made the remark that we in Newark are “on the front edge [in providing quality water]”.

  15. Claimed that there is no lead leaving our water treatment plants.

  16. In the 1990s, a “lead and copper rule” was instituted by the EPA to reduce lead to “acceptable” level (my quote to summarize his point, not his words).

  17. We apparently do not test for lead in our water, because there is “no lead in the [water] plant”.

  18. He then passed the smaller object from the table around the room. It was a “gooseneck” pipe which felt really gritty when I held it.

  19. He said that among the remedies for dealing with lead in the water is the need to flush the system for a while.

  20. He emphasized the importance of updating our infrastructure in order to avoid repeating the sins of Flint.

  21. He noted that, when testing water “stability”, you want to be in “deposit-forming territory”, and that it is not recommended to soften your water.

  22. He also highlighted that the city is trying to encourage people to pay for their water bills electronically, since it costs more to process payments otherwise. Almost half (40%, to be exact) of city-water using citizens pay in person.

  23. Resolution No. 16-21: with an emergence clause, a measure which would state "what services, if any" that our city would provide for a two acre portion of Newark Township that we are planning to annex. Though it sounds counter-intuitive to have legislation “objecting to” an annexation – as was voted on later in the meeting -, Law Director Sassen pointed out that the legislation placed before the committee and council here are required by the county’s annexation laws. In essence, if a locale chooses not to act on an “objection” ordinance, then that results in same said locale accepting an annexation. Motion by Bubb, seconded by Floyd. Cost asked where the annexation is taking place. Service Director Rhodes clarified that it was “behind God’s Acres Church off of Buena Vista”. Result: Passes 5-0.

  24. Resolution No. 16-22: with an emergency clause, a measure which establishes "a buffer zone" for the aforementioned annexation. Motion by Bubb, seconded by Floyd. No discussion. Result: Passes 5-0.

  25. Ordinance No. 16-02: with an emergency clause, a measure objecting to the annexation. Motion by Bubb, seconded by Floyd. No discussion. Result: Passes 5-0.

  26. Ordinance No. 16-03: a measure to amend our Property Maintenance Code for the purpose of "provid[ing] standard fees for certain abatement actions". Safety Director Spurgeon emphasized the work that property maintenance has been doing in “vigorously enforcing the code”. However, he added that he sees the workload on the division as being far higher than initially expected; even as a purely complaint-driven approach. One proposed change is to “raise the mowing and grass cutting service to $200.00 a cut from $100.00” and another proposal requests reducing the number of “tires on a property [from 20 to 4]”. Rath asked if this is complaint-driven, to which it was confirmed that everything handled in this area is. Motion by Bubb, seconded by Cost. There was some further discussion – led by Mr. Fraizer - asking for clarifications on what the “call volumes” are for the complaints and what percentage of the complaints result in fines. Rath inquired if the division ever finds themselves reversing fines after someone has come into compliance, to which it was noted that they have the ability to use discretion to “abate fines”. Result: Passes 5-0.

  27. Safety:

  28. No business for this committee. Result: *

  29. Personnel:

  30. No business. Result: *

  31. Recreation:

  32. No business. Result: *

  33. Street:

  34. No business. Result: *

  35. Rules:

  36. No business. Result: *

  37. Economic Development:

  38. No business. Result: *

  39. Ways and Means:

  40. No business. Result: *

Further thoughts:

Just a quick thought. I’ve mentioned before my opposition to the overuse of expedited and “emergency” legislation. I’m also opposed to further annexation into the city at this time. How can we justify growing our boundaries when we can barely maintain what is already considered part of Newark? Ponder that for a moment.

See you all next week. Thanks for reading.

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