A large change-out of customer water meters in Defiance is about to begin, and will require cooperation from residents.
The program was briefly explained during city council’s meeting Tuesday night, when a single legislative item — concerning the administration’s spending threshold — was handled.
However, a lengthy council committee discussion on streets, alleys and sidewalks — which included a list of streets planned, or scheduled for, paving — also was on the agenda, while the city’s charter review commission made four recommendations for amendments (see related stories on page A1).
Finance Director John Lehner informed council that the firm Professional Meters Inc. will install 5,000-6,000 new water meters over the next several months.
The company has been sending out postcards to schedule appointments to accomplish this task, and the information is “legitimate,” according to Lehner in a reference to concerns about the process.
The cards include a phone number to schedule an appointment.
Later, council approved an ordinance increasing the administration’s spending threshold (not requiring council consent) from $15,000 to $25,000. But an amendment approved last week requires that the administration advise council of expenditures within that range at the appropriate meeting.
The legislation was amended last week during a compromise reached between council and the administration.
The new ordinance states that the city administrator, or his designee, “shall report any contract for expenditure in excess of $15,000 that does not require approval by ordinance at the next regularly scheduled city council meeting.”
Also Tuesday, Mayor Mike McCann noted that some have been smoking or vaping at the city’s new Bronson Park splash pad. He said this is not permitted in the facility, which is not staffed with city personnel.
“People have to use some sense,” he said. “We’ve made great strides in our parks the last few years in making improvements, and things like this are very disheartening to me, certainly to our staff and I think general overall to the entire community. So, please refrain from smoking at the splash park. We have no intention of putting an attendant at the splash park, but the folks are sure giving us a reason to do that. But we do not want to go to that expense.”
Meanwhile, At-large Councilman Steve Waxler noted continued vandalism in the city parks — this time involving Holgate Avenue Park’s portable restrooms.
A week after the mayor had informed council of damage at Kingsbury Park, Waxler said things are “getting out of hand,” and suggested stepping up vigilance or prosecution.
In other business Tuesday:
• council approved appointments to an advisory board concerning the city’s acquisition of the 1918 school property on Arabella Street. They include Terry Melton, Doug Shindler, Cheryl Swisher, Wes Moats, Marc Warncke, Ann Miller, Chris Mack, Jerry Hayes, Mandi Kissner, Emma Kirkpatrick, Ben Pierce, Jake Oberlin, Pete Lundberg, Dave Plant, John Lehner, Mayor McCann, Niki Warncke and Rita Kissner. Law Director Sean O’Donnell will serve as an advisory member.
• Council President Dave McMaster noted that Ohio Gas Company has filed a notice with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio seeking a “rider” on its bills for 25 months to cover the cost of a geographic information system. The proposed cost is 86 cents per month for the first two years and then a final amount for month 25.
• McCann noted the frustration of residents on rebuilt East High Street with trucks driving through their neighborhood due to the closed Clinton Street bridge. Waxler suggested placing the city’s portable signs near the Ohio 15/18 interchange to help direct truckers onto the correct route.
• Ward 3 Councilman Plant asked about maintenance of new lawn areas on East High Street following the rebuild project there. McCann said homeowners can begin maintaining them now if they desire (as will be their responsibility in the future). Plant also suggested placing “deer crossing” signs on Stadium Drive and Carpenter Road.
• council met in executive session to discuss collective bargaining.