The Kenton City Council met Monday evening at the City Building for its fifth regular session of 2017. During communications and petitions, council member Dave Beazley commented on the report from the Income Tax Department, noting what he called a "substantial anomaly" in the total deposits for February. In February 2016, the department deposited $389,440.45. For the same time period in 2017, the deposits were only $190,812.09, an almost $200,000 difference from the previous year's deposits. According to Keri McLaughlin, Chief Deputy Auditor for the city, the department is aware of the issue and is researching further. McLaughlin will provide an update to council when one is available.
Additionally, City Auditor, Brian Hattery, issued a statement to council regarding a report he had given at a previous meeting about the receipts from the water and sewer departments. His statement reads:
"During the second council meeting held in the month of January this year, I made a report to this council concerning the collections of the water and sewer billings. At that time, I stated that the city was not receiving over $100,000 of what it had been billing annually from both sewer and water. I based these figures on reports that I had retrieved from the water and sewer office after being told which reports to use. I have since learned that there was a mis-communication which resulted in me referencing the wrong reports and as such, that my stated underpayment calculations were incorrect. As a matter of explanation to the council, the city's water and sewer office uses a utility billing software that seems designed specifically for that use and not for accounting or the auditing of records.
I have always considered it a part of my duties as Auditor for the City of Kenton to inform council and others when I and my office have found something of concern. That was my intent in these chambers on the 23rd of January. However, all people, including elected officials, are responsible not only for their intentions but also somewhat responsible for the outcomes of their actions and statements.
It seems that I have, what is commonly referred to as, 'jumped the gun.' This is an entirely human but entirely unprofessional mistake. I should have consulted with others to verify my numbers and understanding before making such a public declaration.
I apologize to the council, the administration, and the public for my haste. If my words in any way cast doubt on abilities, honesty, or integrity of those who work in our water and sewer office, I especially apologize to them."
During old business, council read one piece of legislation for the third time. The ordinance, providing for appropriations to upgrade and repair a well, passed 7-0.
In new business, the council by-passed the three-reading rule for three pieces of legislation. The first, an annual editing of the codified ordinances, passed 7-0; the second, an ordinance for appropriations to repair the sewer plant, passed unanimously as well; and the third, an ordinance providing for the HVAC replacement and upgrade in the city building, also received "yes" votes from all 7 council members. The total appropriations for the repair to the well and the HVAC unit were $42,132.00 and $238,500.00, respectively.
The council also heard from several committees:
Finance: the Finance Committee met on March 6th. Two companies discussed their proposals for the HVAC at the City Building. After hearing both proposals, the committee recommended moving forward with ATR. Legislation was put forth and approved unanimously.
Special Projects: the Special Projects Committee met on March 1st to discuss the Kenton Amateur Radio Club's request to put receivers on the tower at the 555 building. It was the recommendation of the committee to conduct a study to understand the tower's actual capabilities before making a final decision.
Safety: the Safety Committee met March 1st to discuss complaints about the intersection of Vine and Grove Streets. No action was taken at the March 1st meeting, and at Monday night's council meeting, Police Lieutenant Rob Lutes told council that in 10 years of traffic violations, the department could not find any accidents occuring at that specific intersection. The committee also discussed the speed of truck traffic on North Detroit Street and what can be done to discourage high speeds. Possibilities include a digital speed sign and a police officer being positioned to issue citations.
Downtown Revitalization: the Downtown Revitalization Committee will be announcing a date for spring cleanup in the coming weeks. There will be a public meeting to discuss the committee's plans on March 29th.
MOP: An annual reorganizational meeting will be held for the MOP Committee on the first Thursday in April.
Parks and Recreation: the Parks and Recreation Committee will meet on Tuesday, March 14th, at 4:30pm at the 555 building.
The council also received a notice from Ohio Health that a Medication Disposal Day will be held on Saturday, April 8, from 9-11am. There are three locations that will be accepting unused and/or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications as well as medicated lotions and sunscreen. The locations are:
-Hardin Memorial Hospital, Medical Office Parking Lot
-South Main Street and East College Avenue Parking Lot in Ada
-Forest City Building
During the comments portion, the council heard from:
Safety Service Director, Jim Hites, who said spring cleanup dates for the city would be announced by the end of next week; he also said he would be introducing the new Recreation Director, Pool Manager, and four new street employees at the next council meeting.
Police Lieutenant, Rob Lutes, who said that the department is going to be utilizing a local section of law to handle trash citations from now on. The law, number 660.04, section (b), reads:
"No person shall cause or allow offal, filth, or noisome substances to be collected or remain in any place to the damage or prejudice of others or of the public."
Lutes said that by utilizing this law, the department will be able to expedite the trash citations and also issue citations to tenants directly instead of having to go through the landlords. The department is also looking at raising parking ticket costs around the city square. Currently, tickets are $10, and people "seem to be ok with paying that," said Lutes. The department reasons that a stiffer financial penalty may deter repeat offenders, many of whom are courthouse employees.
The meeting was then adjourned.
The next meeting of the Kenton City Council will be held on Monday, March 27, 2017 at 7:00pm in council chambers. There will be a Council Public Hearing prior to the meeting regarding the rezoning of the Forest Court Apartments at 6:30pm.