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The Daily



06-24-03: Celina council moves toward annexing trailer park

The Daily Standard
    Some Celina city councilors don't like the idea of annexing a trailer park, owned by someone who maintains untidy properties, into the city.
    An ordinance to accept a new 22.5-acre annexation from eastern Jefferson Township was passed to a second reading Monday night, with two council members objecting.
    Councilwoman Angie King said she has "very strong reservations" about accepting the annexation along Ohio 703 that includes the houses on the east half of Lakeview Drive, Fairview Resort trailer court, Celina First Baptist Church and the bare land to the east of the church.
    King said Larry Hussie, owner of Fairview Resort, also owns a house on Lisle and Brandon streets that was declared a public nuisance at the last Mercer County health board meeting.
    "Under the circumstances, I don't feel that it's in our best interests," King said.
    Safety Service Director Mike Sovinski and Community Development Director Sue Canary said Monday night, and at a committee meeting on the issue, the city can address any concerns about the trailer park once it becomes part of Celina. Until then, the council has no jurisdiction.
    Sovinski said many people already think that Fairview is in the city limits anyway.
    "If this gentleman had been cooperating in the past ... I might be a little more forgiving," Councilwoman Sharon LaRue said of Hussie.
    Both LaRue and King voted "no" on the first reading of the ordinance. LaRue also complained that this annexation will create an island of unincorporated land. The houses on the west side of Lakeview are not included in the annexation and will remain in the county. Canary has said the annexation is to allow another property owner to construct a self-storage facility to the east of the church and a quick annexation was needed. Canary said Monday the island will be addressed.
    Some council members also voiced reservations about conducting a vulnerability assessment on the city's water system, and the engineering firm chosen to do it.
    King, LaRue and member Bob Nuding voted no on the second reading of an ordinance allowing Sovinski to enter into a contract with BBS Corporation, Columbus, to complete the assessment that is required by federal mandate in response to the uprise in terrorism.
    Utility committee members were told this month that BBS is certified to complete the study and will do it for no more than $22,800. King said the committee was not told of the other firms that bid on the study and asked for another committee meeting, because the cost may be cheaper with another firm.
    Councilman Rick Bachelor said he read the text of the federal law and noticed there is no penalty clause for not completing the assessment, a point that has come up several times since the issue came up at the last meeting.
    Councilman Nuding voted against accepting the new employment contract between the city and the Celina Professional Firefighters, because the contract ending date was not what he expected.
    City officials finished negotiations with the fire department union in late May and the new one-year contract gives firefighters a 3 percent raise and several other smaller contract changes, such as adding death of an aunt, uncle or brother-in-law to the list of funeral leave reasons.
    The contract is in effect from July 15 to July 15, 2004. The one-year agreement allows the contracts for the police union, fire union and employees under the Celina Municipal Employee Relations Committee (CMERC) to all end in the same year.
    Nuding said he was led to believe the contracts would end all on the same day, not just the same year.
    The five council members in attendance Monday agreed that game officials working for Celina's baseball, softball and football programs need a raise, and passed the first reading of an ordinance increasing the per-game payment by $5. The summer season is halfway over and council members agreed the pay change should be retroactive back to the beginning of the season to benefit all referees.
    Sovinski said the Celina Parks and Recreation board approved and budgeted the increase in November, but the official ordinance was overlooked until now.
    In other business, council members:
    - Heard a first report from the new Director of Administrative Services Jeff Hazel, who was hired to replace the retired Dave Schmidt. Hazel said he is looking into switching the utility billing cycle from once a month to twice a month to cut down on the "spiking" of work in the office.
    - Heard from resident Ira Belcher, who is upset because the city removed a grass, curbed island from the entrance of Greenview Estates. The island was in the right-of-way and had a sign and a tree in it. Sovinski said the island was not being taken care of and the city removed it because it is in the right of way. After a lengthy discussion, Sovinski agreed it was a "hasty" decision. Belcher agreed that he would generate a list of residents who will commit to maintaining the island when it is put back.
    - Heard from resident Don Kohnen, who brought up his concerns about the poor storm water drainage at North Shore Park. Kohnen said it needs to be fixed with larger tiles and a pump station. A pump station was given to Eaglebrooke Estates for free, he said, probably because members of the city have an invested interest in that subdivision, Kohnen continued. He also asked why the "hot water hole" boathouse and dock has not been fixed yet.
    - Learned the 2003 sister city student trip to Japan has been postponed a year due to current world issues. Canary said both Celina and Nandan-Cho, Japan, officials agreed that SARS and other issues are too prevalent for world travel.


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P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822