Bellefontaine City Council conducted their first meeting in May Tuesday night. A crowded agenda, which included the passage of several ordinances, took a brief backseat to a discussion about numerous stray cats that are wandering around a city residential area.
Patrick Wolfe of 409 East Chillicothe Avenue was concerned about the quantity of the cats, the diseases they carry, and the apparent lack of an ordinance that would address their removal. Council members Peter DeSomma and Jerry Pitzer supported Wolfe by sharing similar experiences in their neighborhoods. Pitzer commented that part of the problem is that residents feed the cats motivating them to stay.
The Humane Society has been contacted about the problem but provided few remedies. They will not take the cats.
Law Director Howard Traul noted that ordinances concerning the problem have been proposed in the past. The problem, according to Police Chief Brandon Standley, is who would have the responsibility of enforcing the ordinance.
Alan Hale of the Logan County Solid Waste District updated council on the National Emergency Grant Program. Funded by a federal grant from the Department of Labor for $1.5 million (they have received $998,000 so far), the program provides employment and training opportunities for those that are interested in the clean-up resulting from high winds and other bad weather.
Hale indicated that there are 5 full time employees and 14 participant trainees. They work 10 hour days. Hale hinted that they are still looking to employ other qualified applicants.
Council adopted (after waiving the final two readings) ordinances authorizing the seasonal employment of workers in the street and water departments for the summer.
Council adopted (after waiving the final reading) an ordinance authorizing the service-safety director to accept a $50,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Criminal Justice Services.
Council adopted on final reading the ordinance that will allow the state of Ohio to do a performance audit on the city’s utility department. The audit is expected to begin at the end of this summer.
Standley shared with council how pleased he was with the results of the neighborhood outreach program that took place on May 8th at Heritage Court. Approximately 200 residents attended and interacted with Standley and other officers about ways to improve communication.
Standley talks about the neighhborhood outreach.
American Legion Harold Kerr Post 173 representatives Russell Strayer and Gordon Shellaberger (pictured left with Officer Andrew Kennedy) presented the police department a plaque in appreciation for their excellent work and commitment. The plaque was part of National Police Week activities.
Service-Safety Director Jim Holycross indicated that Wednesday morning the cupola that was lost during last summer’s wind storm will be reinstalled on the city building.
Here is a picture of crews installing the cupola on the City Building Wednesday morning.
Holycross updated council on the status of the new hangar that is expected to be built at the Bellefontaine Regional Airport. The $600,000 needed for the project comes from grants from the FAA. The money was received in $150,000 yearly increments. With the money now available, construction is expected to start next month.
Holycross talks about the new hangar.
Traul expressed some concern about House Bill 5. The bill, if passed, will bring uniformity to how municipal income tax will be administered. Traul does not want municipal tax paid to the state first. He feels that the agencies that rely on municipal tax funds will suffer delays in getting their money.
Council will next meet on May 28th at 7:30 p.m.