The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, May. 28, 2020

Council OKs measure, hears zoning appeal

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Van Wert City Council heard an appeal of a zoning request by Murphy’s Trash Inc., discussed financial incentives for economic development, approved a measure that would allow the safety-service director to seek bids and sign contracts for Issue 1 projects, and also learned what city streets would be paved this year.

Stacy Adam, executive director of the Van Wert Area Economic Development Corporation, talks about a proposal to give companies financial incentives for job creation. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Joy Short, owner of Murphy’s Trash, came to Council Monday evening to appeal the Van Wert Planning Commission’s denial of a zoning change from R-2 to B-1 on property she owns at 1014 E. Main St. The property has been used for 22 years as a parking site for four company trucks, but Short found out recently it was illegal to park commercial trucks at a property zoned residential.

She then sought to change the zoning for the property so that the trucks could be parked there, but the request was denied by the Planning Commission. Short said she plans to install a fence between the property and one adjacent to it and also paint the house and garage there if the zoning request is granted. 

After hearing from Short, and three area residents — one who had no problem with the zoning change and two who were opposed — Council members decided to table the issue until the May 29 meeting so they could view the property and contact the Planning Commission to find out why Short’s zoning request was denied.

Prior to the regular meeting, a Finance Committee meeting was held to talk about the possibility of providing financial incentives to businesses that create jobs within the city. Stacy Adam, executive director of the Van Wert Area Economic Development Corporation, gave details of the proposal, which would provide tax breaks for companies based on new jobs created. 

While Council seemed to favor the idea, City Auditor Martha Balyeat said she had some concerns, noting that she believed tax incentives could hurt the city if some large company left and tax revenues were needed. No decision was made Monday on the financial incentive plan.

Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming listed the streets where repaving is planned this summer. Streets include all of Golden Oaks Drive and portions of Rosalie Drive, and Shaffer, Congress, Jackson, Sibley, Monroe, and North Walnut streets.

Fleming also requested legislation allowing him to sell city equipment that was either obsolete and otherwise not used, and noted that brush pick-up was underway this week, noting that brush was being collected first, while paper leaf bags would be picked up later in the week.

During her report, Balyeat noted that income tax revenues were down $69,000 from last year, although adding that last year’s tax receipts were a record and that revenues this year are $100,000 ahead of two years ago.

The city auditor also noted that Van Wert Municipal Court revenue from fines and other fees has decreased approximately $25,000 over last year. City Law Director John Hatcher said the decrease is likely because the weigh station on U.S. 30 has been closed.

Balyeat said that, because of revenue decreases, the city’s General Fund is approximately $46,000 under last year’s revenues at this time.

“It appears that income tax revenues could not be meeting our projects,” she noted, adding: “At the end of June, we need to take a real serious look at (tax revenues).”

During his report, Mayor Jerry Mazur, who lost his bid for another term during May’s primary election, thanked Council members he has worked with over the past four years, spoke about the accomplishments of his time in office, and also congratulated Third Ward Councilman Ken Markward on his primary election victory.

“I think we made a lot of progress in economic development and some other areas in regard to cleaning up the city and making it more livable,” the mayor noted. “I’d like to thank Council for their work in that.”

Mayor Mazur also thanked Fleming for his help throughout the past four years.

Councilman At-Large Bill Marshall, who chairs the Health-Service-Safety Committee, reminded city residents that it is illegal to blow grass clippings onto the street, and adding that he had seen clippings in the street in various areas of the city. Marshall noted that grass clippings in the street were particularly dangerous for people on bikes and motorcycles.

He requested that those mowing their lawns blow clippings away from the street for the first few passes to ensure clippings stayed off city thoroughfares.

Legislatively, Council approved two financial ordinances and also adopted an amended ordinance authorizing Fleming to seek bids and contract for repainting of the north water tower and replacing a blower at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The city received a $400,000 Issue 1 grant to pay for a majority of the work.

The next meeting of Van Wert City Council will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, in Council Chambers on the second floor of the Municipal Building, 515 E. Main St.

POSTED: 05/14/19 at 7:12 am. FILED UNDER: News