Installation of a baby box — a device for taking in abandoned babies — was proposed by Mayor Mike McCann’s administration Tuesday night during Defiance City Council’s meeting.
A related ordinance was one one of four let lie by council, which was unable to move those legislative items forward because two members were absent. That left council short of the six votes needed to move ordinances to a final reading following first readings.
However, council was able to approve one ordinance following a third and final reading that establishes a designated outdoor refreshment area (see related story).
The baby box ordinance will receive a second reading at council’s next meeting, and would allow a lease with Safe Haven Baby Boxes Inc. — a nonprofit company — for installation of a newborn safety device at the city fire department at Perry and Third streets.
The project will be made possible with funds provided by the Zonta Club of Defiance. The initial installation fee is $10,000, with an annual cost of $200 to follow to cover a state-required inspection.
According to McCann, the heated and monitored baby box would be installed on the west exterior wall of the fire department, facing Jackson Avenue. The box would come with an alarm that would immediately alert city safety personnel that an infant has been placed in it.
The mayor explained that there are “quite a few rules” involved with such a device, including 24-hour monitoring.
“... some will say it’s sad that we need it and it is, but it beats what some of the alternatives might be,” McCann told council.
In non-legislative business Tuesday:
• McCann reported that the city has received “numerous citizen concerns” about the condition of a business property on Second Street, just east of the Auglaize River bridge. Many miscellaneous household have been placed in front of the building in recent days. McCann said officials have been “working diligently” with the police department and the court “to mitigate the problem.”
• Ward 4 Councilman Chris Engel noted the poor condition of a property at 716 Ottawa Ave. McCann said he would look into the matter.
• council scheduled a sewer committee meeting for 6 p.m. May 28 in the city service building, 631 Perry St.