Jason Maassel

Napoleon councilmen Jeff Mires (left) and Joe Bialorucki listen as city Mayor Jason Maassel presents next year’s budget for council’s consideration Monday night.

NAPOLEON — The city’s 2020 budget was passed on first reading during a Monday night meeting of the Napoleon City Council.

Mayor Jason Maassel presented a summary of the budget at the start of the meeting.

Income tax revenue in 2020 is projected at $4.2 million, an increase of a little more than $100,000 over this year.

Total revenue next year is estimated to be $55.46 million, compared to $51 million this year.

“Obviously the electric utility is the biggest income, and also the biggest expense,” Maassel said.

The electric utility is projected to account for 30% of the city’s revenue in 2020 ($16.87 million), while purchased power represents 24% of the 2020 appropriation budget (more than $14 million).

Maassel also addressed the lack of local government funds in next year’s revenue.

“Yes, the local government fund is zero, but we’re still getting lots of dollars from the state for grants,” Maassel said. Estimated grant revenue next year is $1.75 million.

After purchased power, the city’s largest expense next year will be capital improvements, with $11.5 million appropriated.

“It looks like we’re spending a lot of dollars on capital, we are, not necessarily on roads though and those kinds of things,” Maassel said. “It is capital and we’re spending it, but maybe not on stuff that people are going to see on a day-in and day-out basis.”

Among the city’s biggest capital projects next year will be Glenwood Avenue waterline improvements ($458,000), phase VI of improvements to Park Street ($485,000 with $275,000 in grant funds), annual resurfacing projects ($465,000) and the Industrial Drive river bridge water line ($438,000).

Machinery and equipment purchases planned for next year include two police patrol cars ($96,800), three storm siren replacements ($60,000), a remount of two EMS vehicles ($250,000) and the purchase of a mini excavator for the electric department ($50,000).

Council also passed an ordinance allocating 65% of next year’s net available tax receipts to city operating expenses, with the remaining 35% funding capital improvements. In the past, the split was 62/38, but the change reflects money that will be returned to the capital improvements fund after being set aside years back for the pool. Per the ordinance, the split will revert to 62/38 in 2021.

The appropriations ordinance passed 6-0 on first reading, with new councilman Ross Durham absent Monday.

Also Monday, council passed on first reading a piece of legislation that will repeal several of the city’s gun ordinances, in response to changes made by the state legislature.

“The legislature, in its infinite wisdom, as decided to bar municipalities from enacting or having on the books any sort of ordinance that adversely affects a person’s right to bear arms, as they define it,” said city law director Billy Harmon, who suggested the change at council’s Nov. 4 meeting as a means of preventing future lawsuits.

“If you can show a municipality’s firearms ordinance has adversely affected you, that person has a private right of action and could take us directly into court,” Harmon said.

Harmon said some municipalities plan to keep their ordinances on the books, and face the lawsuits as they come.

Ordinances to be repealed are 505.11 (hunting prohibited), 505.15 (hunting of Canada geese), 549.08 (discharging firearms) and 549.09 (throwing or shooting projectiles).

State statute still prohibits the discharge of firearms near certain premises, such as schools. The state legislature’s modifications to Section 9.68 will take effect Dec. 28.

In other business, council:

• passed on first reading an ordinance authorizing the city manager, law director or finance director to take bids for certain projects or items valued at more than $25,000 without requiring additional legislation.

• heard from Councilman Joe Bialorucki that no issues were reported during the municipal properties committee’s recent review of the Napoleon Outdoor Refreshment Area (NORA).

• passed an ordinance supplementing the 2019 budget to account for $713,638 needed to replace digester covers and remove sludge at the wastewater treatment plant. The ordinance was passed under suspension of the rules, as Mazur called it “a much needed project to keep that operation functioning.” The funds were not previously appropriated as the city had not determined the cost of the work.

• passed an ordinance authorizing the expenditure of funds for the demolition of the existing municipal pool, which is being replaced, and authorizing competitive bidding for the demolition work. The engineer’s estimate for the demolition is $220,000. Bids are due Dec. 11, and will be reviewed by council Dec. 16.

• passed a resolution to continue offering to waive or reduce some fees related to the construction of new homes in the city for another 12 months, in an effort to prompt development.

• passed an ordinance approving the execution of an Efficiency Smart schedule with American Municipal Power (AMP).

• passed on second reading an ordinance raising shelter house rates by $5 at Ritter Park, Wayne Park and the Rotary-Lions Community Center, and an extra $10 at the community center during certain timeframes. The extra money will be put into a maintenance fund.

• passed on final reading an ordinance amending the city income tax code to include two definitions (“pension” and “retirement benefit plan”) as given in the state budget.

• appointed Councilman Lori Siclair to serve as delegate to the Ohio Municipal Electric Association.

• appointed Maassel and Councilman Dan Baer to serve on the Henry County Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) board of directors.

• directed Harmon to draft legislation re-entering into a programmatic agreement with the Ohio State Historic Preservation Office.

• accepted a $100 donation from Kenneth and Judy Hein to the Napoleon Fire Department.

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