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02-25-03: Canary gets support
The Daily Standard
    Two Celina businessmen offered support for Sue Canary and the city's community development department at the Celina City Council meeting on Monday.
    A few council members voiced the opinion this month that Canary's department is not providing results, and the city should join economic development forces with Mercer County.
    Frank McKirnan, co-owner of McKirnan Bros' Inc., said the community development department  is "crucial" to Celina, and it sounds like the ordeal over Canary's job is "about personal issues, not sound government."
    McKirnan said he had been seeking a larger building, and Canary offered him space in the new Celina industrial park. Upon talking to Mercer County Economic Development Director Larry Stelzer, McKirnan said he was offered a location outside Celina.
    McKirnan said it's clear retaining businesses in Celina it not the county's top priority.
    Local developer John Irmsher gave each council member a stack of handouts with questions about Celina's demographics and comparisons of Celina's utilities prices to those in other towns.
    "We have not been aggressive in promoting our community," Irmsher said. "A couple of years ago I could see what direction we were   heading." 
    He said Celina needs a new development committee, with members from the private sector who pay to be on the committee.
    "This community doesn't know how lucky it is," he said, noting the city has the Bryson Trust, a state representative from Celina, the lake, a four-lane highway and other advantages.
    The controversy over the community development department surfaced publicly when council members Bob Nuding, Angie King and Sharon LaRue indicated at a committee meeting this month they would not support the budget if the community development department was funded.
    At Monday's meeting, Councilman Denny Smith suggested the council postpone a vote on the 2003 budget until the community development issue is worked out. Councilors agreed to table the budget.
    A purchase ordinance allowing Safety-Service Director Mike Sovinski to purchase the large items that have been included in the budget barely passed first reading. Nuding, King and LaRue voted against the first reading of the ordinance, but council President Bill Sell cast the tie-breaking vote to move it to second reading.
    Before the vote, Nuding noted the ordinance included a pick-up truck with a plow for the electric distribution department. In committee, the plow was not discussed, Nuding said.
    In another matter of business, Sovinski said the ozone generation system at the Celina Water Plant may be working at capacity, though a final report is not yet completed.
    The council hired a firm to study the effectiveness of the ozone system, after learning the system may be working only to 40 percent effectiveness.
    "What I'm hearing is the ozone is actually running a lot more efficient than we understood," Sovinski said.
    Councilors approved the study as a possible alternative to constructing a new water plant under orders from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Celina has violated the law that says trihalomethanes (THMs) must remain at a certain level. The city's THM level, on average, exceeded the state limit for 10 years.
    Moving forward with EPA requirements to construct a new plant, council members passed the first reading of an ordinance to begin well field exploration, at a cost of $19,000.


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