The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Apr. 2, 2020

Council temporarily OKs Haven of Hope

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent writer

If the necessary steps are taken, a men’s homeless shelter will open — at least temporarily — in Van Wert.

The decision by Van Wert City Council allows Haven of Hope to open the shelter on North Market Street upon receipt of necessary permits, and it allows it to remain open while Governor Mike DeWine’s “stay at home” order is in effect, which is currently until April 6.

Van Wert City Council President Jon Tomlinson presides over Monday’s meeting in City Council Chambers. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

After a somewhat lengthy discussion and a motion by Councilman At-Large Joel Penton during Monday night’s meeting, council members voted 5-1 in favor of allowing a temporary shelter. First Ward Councilman Jeff Agler was the lone “no” vote, while Second Ward Councilwoman Joi Mergy was absent.

The decision won’t affect Haven of Hope’s appeal of council’s rejection of the facility as an approved use under the B-3 (business) zoning category. That appeal will be heard in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

In other business during Monday’s socially distanced meeting, Van Wert Area Economic Development Executive Director Stacy Adam told city council she reached out to Ohio Development Services to consider revisions to guidelines and job requirements needed for Revolving Loan Fund aid for local businesses impacted by COVID-19 mandates.

“We are going to immediately be accepting working capital loan (applications) from local small businesses to try to get them through over the short term, until Congress can resolve their issues and get their stimulus package in place,” Adam explained. “We are going to allocate all the remaining money we have and make that available, based on the new guidelines that we got on Friday.”

“I’ve also requested additional allocations but I’m not sure whether or not we’ll get that,” Adam added. “People can call our office or they can go to info@vanwerted.com and we will do everything electronically or over the phone to provide some short-term relief.”

Adam also addressed an issue with a previous RLF loan made for property at 111 W. Main St. The current owner wants to sell, but can’t because of an $11,500 lien caused by a previous owner’s default, as well as a former city law director’s mistake.

Council members agreed to cover the lien and go after the responsible party for reimbursement.

During his report to City Council, Safety Service Director Jay Fleming said that, during the COVID-19 crisis, all city workers are considered essential employees.

“We’ve asked them to monitor their temperatures and their health conditions before they come to work,” Fleming said.

Fleming added that the city will work with the Van Wert County Emergency Operations Center if the county has a confirmed case of COVID-19.

“It’s a coalition of EMA (Emergency Management Agency), police departments, the sheriff, health department, and hospital staff working together to understand and try to plan direction for what we’re going through in the community,” Fleming stated.

Law Director John Hatcher noted that, despite the pandemic, the courts are open for business.

“If you have any legal cases pending, contact your counsel or contact a court administrator by phone or email and find out if your hearing has been turned into a telephone hearing, because most civil cases have,” Hatcher said. “If it’s a criminal case and it’s a pretrial, and not a trial or motion hearing of some kind, contact your counsel, contact the court to find out if your case has been turned into a telephone pretrial and what details go with that.”

“We’re trying to make sure everybody’s rights are taken care of,” Hatcher added.

Council members approved the city’s permanent budget for 2020.

The next meeting of Van Wert City Council is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 13, in Council Chambers on the second floor of the Municipal Building, 515 E. Main St.

POSTED: 03/23/20 at 9:42 pm. FILED UNDER: News