The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Jun. 3, 2023

Shultz, mayor, honored by City Council

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Van Wert independent photo
Van Wert Mayor Louis Ehmer bangs down the gavel to close out the last City Council meeting of the year. The mayor was also given a small gavel in honor of his service to the city as both mayor and as a member of Council. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Van Wert City Council honored retiring Councilman At-Large Dick Shultz, a 20-year Council veteran, gave outgoing Mayor Louis Ehmer a tiny gavel in honor of his service to city government as both mayor and a member of City Council and even recognized one-term Council members Jon Tomlinson and Kirby Kelly for their service.

Councilman At-Large Joi Mergy spoke highly of her colleague, who couldn’t attend because of illness. “I’m really impressed by his leadership and the dedication that he’s put forth,” Mergy said, adding, “Qualities like that — and 20 years serving on Council — he going to be very hard to replace.”

Mergy will likely get a chance to find out how hard, since Council President Gary Corcoran assigned her to replace Shultz as the chair of Council’s Finance Committee, a post the outgoing councilman held for a number of years.

Other Council committee chair assignments include the following: Health, Service & Safety — John Marshall (no change); Judiciary & Annexation — Agler; Brent Crone — Water and Sewer; Jeff Agler — Property & Equipment; Pete Weir — Streets & Alleys; and Stuart Jewett — Parks & Recreation.

Also Wednesday, City Council adopted a resolution honoring Shultz for his service and had a plaque made featuring the wording of the document (click here to see the entire resolution).

Mayor Ehmer was also honored for his four years as mayor, as well as his serving as a councilman at-large and council president. It was an achievement Fourth Ward Councilman Stan Agler said was unique in his memory.

“I don’t remember it being done in the last 60 years, if ever,” Agler added.

Ehmer’s successor, mayor-elect Don Farmer, led the recognition for the mayor, saying he felt the city was a better place because of Ehmer’s service, while Corcoran gave his gavel to Ehmer so he could close out the last Council meeting of the year.

During his last report to City Council, Mayor Ehmer thanked city employees — particularly City Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming and City Auditor Martha Balyeat — for their performance over the past four years.

Council President Gary Corcoran holds up a plaque made up to honor Councilman At-Large Dick Shultz's 20 years of service to Council and the city. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

“We faced some severe economic times,” Mayor Ehmer said. “Revenue was down, but we were able to maintain all services to the community, and that shows good stewardship of tax dollars.”

The mayor also thanked City Council members for their support, adding, “As you can see, this is not a one person operation; it’s just one person in a chain of events.”

Mayor Ehmer also gave a report on the last completed Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP), which was for Fiscal Year 2009.

According to the mayor, 126 households received assistance (goal: 50 households) under the Emergency Housing Assistance program that centers on homelessness prevention. The city spent $98,925.97 of the $100,000 budgeted for Emergency Housing Assistance.

Of the $125,000 budgeted for home repairs, $122,980 was spent and 14 households assisted (goal: 11 households).

A total of $194,000 was budgeted for Private Owner Rehabilitation and the amount was all spent. Five households were assisted, which met the CHIP goal exactly.

The only area where goals were not met or were close was for Habitat for Humanity new construction. Because the local Habitat for Humanity organization was unable to build the two houses planned, no money was expended, out of the $40,000 budgeted.

Legislatively, aside from resolutions honoring Shultz and Mayor Ehmer, City Council approved end-of-the-year “housekeeping” measures that provided for supplemental appropriations, transfers and Health Savings Accounts for city employees, as well as a then-and-now certificate for services provided, but for which a purchase order was not approved in advance.

Tomlinson said the HSA program, although costing the city an additional $50,000, mostly because of the excellent response among city workers, there will be considerable savings down the road for the city.

The city also unanimously approved an emergency ordinance authorizing the Van Wert County Board of Commissioners to serve as purchase agent for the City of Van Wert in connection with electrical aggregation and also approved the transfer of a Class D liquor license allowing liquor sales on Sunday for Fricker’s restaurant, although the license was not transferred from Allen County, as earlier indicated by city officials, but elsewhere in the state.

Took under advisement a request for a D-5 liquor license added as part of the new downtown revitalization district. The request was made on behalf of the Black Swamp Bistro, formerly the Stagecoach restaurant, located at the corner of Main and Walnut streets in downtown Van Wert.

Council also approved appointed local car dealer Gary Taylor to a three-year term on the Brumback Library Board of Trustees.

POSTED: 12/29/11 at 6:32 am. FILED UNDER: News