Delaware City Council Discusses Meters, Development and State Legislation In Heated Chambers

Delaware City Council Chambers Gets Hot!

This week’s City Council meeting was marked by a contentious, thirty minute discussion between Second Ward Councilwoman Lisa Keller and Public Utilities Director Brad Stanton and Dan Whited, Director of Delaware’s Public Service Group, over automated meter readers the city may purchase.

Brad Stanton, left, and Dan Whited answer Councilwoman Lisa Keller's questions.

Brad Stanton, left, and Dan Whited answer Councilwoman Lisa Keller’s questions.

City officials had vetted meter readers from Datamatic for a year, and the purchase of additional automated meter readers from a currently undetermined company would cost the city $1.5 million.

Keller found that Datamatic is now bankrupt, due in part to numerous lawsuits over hardware malfunctions and failed readers, and she questioned why this was never brought up by the vetting committee. According to the Public Utilities Director in Highland Village, Texas, at least 72 cities had sued Datamatic; Highland Village spent almost $2 million on their original meter readers and the cost to have another company fix them.

Councilwoman Lisa Keller raises questions over the reliability of automated meter readers for water bills.

Councilwoman Lisa Keller raises questions over the reliability of automated meter readers for water bills.

Brad Stanton said that he and his staff are still very confident in the technology as a whole, and that there are other companies and many other cities whose Datamatic systems did work. Keller pointed out problems with another manufacturer and remained dissatisfied.

With the air conditioning out during the nearly two hour meeting, city council worked to speed through many of the other matters at hand.

Representative Andrew Brenner speaks to the Council.

Representative Andrew Brenner speaks to the Council.

They heard a legislative update from state District 67 Representative Andrew Brenner, who described efforts he’s supporting in the state legislature, though he doesn’t expect a lot of activity before the midterms.

Specific issues he mentioned including setting a minimum amount that would have to be spent on individual schools; allowing high school students to have dual enrollment in colleges, and creating a hotel tax that could provide much needed funding for the Delaware County Fair.

They also approved development plans for Terra Alta Section 1, Part 2, east of Pollock Road, west of Berlin Station Road and north of Braumiller Road. A resolution to repeal a currently unenforced ordinance banning firearms in public parks was held over to a third reading.

Depending on the weather and status of the council chamber’s air conditioning, the next meeting may be held at an offsite location.

 

delawareo.com

Council, Police hear racial concerns following Ferguson, Eastside Mission Expansion , and City Firearm Laws,

On August 25 – the day 18-year-old Michael Brown was buried in Missouri – echoes of the national questions on race and policing strategies that have resulted from his death came to Delaware’s City Council meeting.

Mark Butler, an African-American Delaware resident, addressed the Council and the audience during the time allotted for public comments.

Delaware resident Mark Butler, a local minister, addresses City Council during Public Comment.

Delaware resident Mark Butler, a local minister, addresses City Council during Public Comment.

“I just want to take a few moments just to reflect on some issues that are happening in our country, and in particular the recent death of a young man, a young African-American male in Ferguson,” he said, referring to Brown.

Butler expressed concerns regarding the relationship between the African-American and the police department, in light of tensions around the nation regarding unarmed African-American men killed in police confrontations recently: Brown in Ferguson, but also Ezell Ford in Los Angeles, Eric Garner in New York City and John Crawford III in Beavercreek, Ohio.

“I’m speaking from the perspective of an African-American male – I believe implicit bias and unconscious bias still exists in our community, I believe it still exists here in Delaware, Ohio,” he said.

“…We need to take care of what’s happening here in Delaware, there’s a lot happening here in Delaware with the police department.”

Chief Bruce Pijanowski of the Delaware Police Department. Photo courtesy of the City of Delaware.

Chief Bruce Pijanowski of the Delaware Police Department. Photo courtesy of the City of Delaware.

Chief Bruce Pijanowski of the Delaware Police Department. Photo courtesy of the City of Delaware.Delaware Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski was not present at the meeting, but answered questions in an interview with DelawareO.com on August 26.

He did not directly address the racial component of Butler’s comments, saying that the remarks were “pretty complicated” and he didn’t want to speak off the cuff without reviewing them in depth.

“Profiling – I understand what it is, we don’t practice profiling,” Chief Pijanowski said. “If there’s a specific complaint that’s what I’d like to hear about and then get into the nuts and bolts of it.”

“In general I’m concerned any time a member of the public has a concern with the police department and I’m open to that…I don’t get offended when people have a concern with the police department, there has to be a dialogue.”

Pijanowski described recent efforts to connect with the community through outreach efforts such as working in school areas, holding basketball and martial arts camps, open gyms in the winter and First Friday events.

“We’re trying to be really involved in the community,” he said. As an example, he described how officers tried to be more involved with local residents, especially youths, after a nighttime confrontation between three people that led to gunfire outside Woodward Elementary School in May 2013.

He also acknowledged the difference in how he tries to approach police work and the concept of police as occupiers, an issue that’s gained national attention after police in Missouri responded to mostly unarmed protesters with military grade weapons and vehicles.

“One thing I feel strongly about is I need to police the city of Delaware the way the city of Delaware wants to be policed,” Pijanowski said. “I’m not an occupying force, and I want people to feel comfortable about the Delaware Police Department.”

He and Butler will be meeting later this week to discuss the issues raised during the Council meeting.

In Other Business

Council approved a permit for Eastside Mission Church to expand their property at 32 Joy Avenue and provided more funding for the Blue Limestone Park Wetlands Restoration Project they also considered an ordinance to change part of Section 933.06 of the Delaware Codified Ordinances regarding carrying of firearms in public parks.

The city ordinance bans such carrying, however the Supreme Court had ruled that cities could not enact gun legislation that was more restrictive than state laws to ensure uniformity; the ordinance as currently stated is technically unconstitutional according to City Attorney Darren Shulman, although it’s not enforced.

Council did not vote on the change, but agreed to postpone the vote until more information could be provided to the community.

Council also considered an ordinance to adopt the 2015-2019 Five-Year Capital Improvement Program, but did not take a vote during the meeting.

The council also heard a presentation by former Dempsey Middle School students, now high schoolers, who visited Sakata, Japan.

Former Dempsey High School students, with advisor Andy Hatton on the far left.

Former Dempsey High School students, with advisor Andy Hatton on the far left.

 

Council approves Liberty Casting expansion, JEDD negotiation and more

Delaware Police Chaplain Jeff Slider reads a prayer at the start of the meeting.

Delaware Police Chaplain Jeff Slider reads a prayer at the start of the meeting.

While 16 ordinances were brought up for consideration or public reading at the July 14th city council meeting, just six were approved; the rest will be voted on at future meetings.

The first ordinance on the agenda, one that’s drawn significant public attention, concerned potential demolition of the Elks Building as part of a new Delaware County courthouse. The relevant ordinance was held over for a fourth reading on July 28th, where county officials will provide updated information to Council.

Two of the ordinances which were approved concerned an expansion to Liberty Casting, supported by the City Planning Department.

Delaware resident Marilyn Nims speaks to the City Council.

Delaware resident Marilyn Nims speaks to the City Council.

During public comment on the ordinance, Delaware resident Marilyn Nims read a letter to council concerning noxious odors she believes come from the plant ‒ an issue that was also raised during previous public debate on the ordinance.

At the Council meeting June 23, Liberty Casting CEO Jerry Harmeyer said that their procedures are in EPA compliance and that the company uses affordable filtration systems; Harmeyer was at the July 14 meeting but did not make a public comment.

Second Ward Councilwoman Lisa Keller noted that she’d observed the odor, but after discussing the matter with City Attorney Darren Shulman said the issue should be handled separately.

Berkshire Trustee Bill Holtry (left) and Administrator Jeff George (right) address the Delaware City Council.

Berkshire Trustee Bill Holtry (left) and Administrator Jeff George (right) address the Delaware City Council.

The council also approved an ordinance authorizing City Manager Tom Homan to negotiate with representatives of Berkshire Township and the Village of Sunbury on entering a Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) to oversee a planned Tanger/Simon outlet mall.

The JEDD was also an issue that had been discussed previously at Council, and Berkshire Trustee Chairman Bill Holtry, Administrator Jeff George and Sunbury Mayor Tommy Hatfield returned to Delaware to discuss the ordinance with City Council.

Other ordinances approved by Council included appropriations ordinances to fund an Economic Development Specialist position and provide funding to increase the depth of Mingo Park’s Jack Florance Pool.

Council also voted to remove compensation for the Civil Service Commission, which the Commission had agreed with.

Ordinances scheduled for additional readings involve Sawmill Parkway, a Community Reinvestment Area Agreement with Henkel Corporation, a comprehensive plan and rezoning agreement with Forman Insurance Agency and a permit for the city to store flammable liquid at an East William Street lot owned by the city.

Chief Bruce Pijanowski (seated) introduces Officers Brett Simon, Kyle Tomlin and John Needham.

Chief Bruce Pijanowski (seated) introduces Officers Brett Simon, Kyle Tomlin and John Needham.

The Council was also introduced to three new Delaware police officers ‒ John Needham, Kyle Tomlin and Brent Simon. Sergeant Adam Willauer was on vacation and unable to attend.

Council members also surprised Vonie DiGenova, wife of Third Ward Councilman Joe DiGenova, with a presentation honoring her 37 years of service as a teacher at Willis Intermediate School.

According to Councilman DiGenova, she’d been told he was receiving a city proclamation in order to get her to attend.

“Your husband told you a little white lie,” said Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle.

After receiving the proclamation, Vonie DiGenova described her students, many of whom had autism.

“They were the sweetest and most adorable loving children,” she said, encouraging the audience to donate for autism research.

Vonie DiGenova receives the city proclamation from Mayor Riggle while her husband applauds.

Vonie DiGenova receives the city proclamation from Mayor Riggle while her husband applauds.

 

Council delays vote on Elks Building demolition and more.

Delaware City Council Meeting – June, 23, 2014

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The historic Elks Building at 110 N. Sandusky Street. Photo by Spenser Hickey.

Delaware’s historic past and possible future clashed at this week’s City Council meeting, with council members caught in the middle.

The public debate –
[Read more…]

City Council discusses joint economic development, approves public hearings on expansions and demolition

Patriotism was a leading topic at the start of this week’s City Council meeting, with a Pledge of Allegiance led by Girl Scout Troop 2429 and an official proclamation honoring local resident Lt. Col. Jeanne LaFountain for her five tours – four of them overseas – in the Air Force.

Delaware City Council - June 9, 2014 IMG_0107

“Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle (left center) presents Lt. Col. Jeanne LaFountain with a city proclamation honoring her for her service”

Lt. Col. LaFountain’s latest deployment, which ended recently, was in Afghanistan, where she served in 445th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton.

She doesn’t plan to stop any time soon, either.

“I’ll keep (serving) as long as the good Lord gives me the ability and the health to,” she said.

“During her deployments, Lt. Col LaFountain served with honor on medical operations missions, helping to treat and transport wounded warriors out of harm’s way to their waiting families,” Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle said while reading the proclamation.

“I am honored and humbled to receive this type of recognition, I am just one person among thousands who are out there helping to defend the freedoms that you so much enjoy. I am honored and privileged to be able to transport the young men and women who have become ill or injured during their defense of this country to the next level of care,” LaFountain said in her response.

In other news, the Council discussed at length a potential joint economic development between Sunbury Village, Berkshire Township and the city of Delaware regarding retail and office centers to be built in Delaware County; administrators of Sunbury and Berkshire attended and took questions from Delaware council members.

The Council also approved several upcoming public hearings to take place next week, including improvements to Hayes High School, potential demolition of the Elks Building at 110 N Sandusky Street as part of courthouse expansions, expansions to Liberty Casting on Liberty Road and expansions for a property owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at 15 Rock Creek Drive.

The hearing on potential demolition of the Elks Building will be at 7:15 p.m.; Hayes High School will be at 7:30 p.m.; Rock Creek Drive expansion at 7:35 p.m. and Liberty Casting at 7:40 p.m. – all will be in Council chambers at 1 S Sandusky St Monday June 23.

The Delaware Daily – Monday, March 10, 2014

Sunshine and smiles from us to you!

Monday, Monday, Monday!

Delaware Ohio News, Featured Stories, and Some Miscellany for the Day

Local News

City Council Meeting tonight – 7 PM City Hall  Agenda

OWU: Ohio Wesleyan Students on a Mission…or Nine

Examiner.com: A U.S. President who was Wounded four times in the Civil War (Rutherford B Hayes)

Central Ohio News

Wunderground.com: Update on mid-week storm

Marion Star: Marion family escapes carbon monoxide after detector’s alarm

Ohio News

Ohio Ag Net:  4-H prepared young cattleman for a career of service

National News

NY Times:  Little-Known Health Act Fact: Prison Inmates Are Signing Up

International

Missing plane (Reuters.com):  Rescuers scour sea for Malaysian jet lost in ‘unprecedented mystery’

Sports

NCAA Lacrosse update (The Ohio Machine):  NCAA Lacrosse Weekend Update – Week 4

Thought for the day

Early to bed, early to rise. I have no choice since the time changed yesterday.

Word of the day

Parka- a warm heavy winter coat. Maybe we can put it away for a while.

What Our Writers Wrote

Stephen Evanko:  March for Art – Another First Friday Success!

Of Interest To Us

Today is Mario Day

Top 10 list!

SongLyrics.com:  Top 100 Songs of All Time

Our readers love top 10 lists. Share your list with us so we can share with others! info@delawareo.com.

Readers Picks Have something you would like to see in the “Delaware Daily?” Email us at info@DelawareO.com with a link, why it interest you, and how you would like to see your name credited for finding the link. We may publish it under our “Readers Picks.”

Tune of The Day

Good Hearted Woman – Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson

Advertiser of the Day

Questions about healthcare reform? Contact Creative Financial Insurance Agency (740) 363-5433

Delaware City Council Notes- Iconic Downtown Restaurant Applies For Liquor Permit

Delaware, Ohio City Council notes Monday, October, 25 2013

Liquor permits were a key topic of the city council’s Oct. 28th meeting, as they heard requests from two Sandusky Street restaurants. The owner of the incoming Son of Thurman restaurant, an expansion of the Thurman Cafe in Columbus, requested the city transfer existing D1, D2 and D3 class liquor permits for the address to them.

 Hamburger Inn’s owner also requested a new D5 permit, as they plan to serve beer and wine in the existing level and build an upstairs bar for stronger liquor above the restaurant. While there were some concerns about how customers would access the upper level, both requests were approved by the City Council.

The Council also heard a request for a 5-year extension on a tax break for T/M Realty’s property at 144 Johnson Drive (Johnson Industrial Park). The approved request expanded the reinvestment tax break to 15 years, the common time limit now.

Council members also discussed the Mingo Park ordinance tabled at the last meeting, moving the project forward so the pool will be open by Memorial Day 2015, although who will provide funding was not entirely defined.

City Council Discuss Mingo Pool Upgrades and Schultz School Expansion

The Delaware city council passed several resolutions Monday despite some discussion, but tabled voting on an ordinance to increase the depth at Mingo Park’s Jack Florance Pool. The Pool improvements were delayed over concerns that they would affect swimming season and how it would be funded, either by the city entirely – which council members did not support – or with cooperation from the YMCA. City Manager Tom Homan said he would discuss the issue of funding with YMCA officials.

Also discussed were plans to expand and renovate Schultz Elementary School at 499 Applegate Lane, which Councilman Joe DiGenova described as “the beginning of a new era” and to combine fees and services charges into one section of city code – a “fairly ambitious piece of legislation,” according to Darren Shulman. The ordinance received a public hearing at the last council meeting and faced no opposition; it passed with a vote of 6-0; Councilman Andrew Brush was absent and excused from the meeting.

Up Close with Andrew Brush – Delaware City 4th Ward Councilman

In October 2006, Andrew Brush, then 18, was living in Delaware’s Fourth Ward when the city councilwoman, Mary Jane Santos, resigned.

Santos had been promoted in her primary job at the Delaware County District Library and no longer had time to fulfill her duties on the council.

 “On election day, there’s not really anything you can do but sit around and wait…that was admittedly a little nerve-wracking,” Brush said.

Vacant council seats are filled by the remaining council members, who select from a pool of candidates after an application and interview process; the winner sits on council for the remainder of the term.

In Santos’ case, the vacancy had 13 months left on the term, and Brush applied to fill the seat.

“I’d always had an interest in politics,” Brush said in an interview Tuesday night.

He was not appointed, but the experience increased his interest in city politics; he began regularly attending city council meetings as a member of the public and decided to run in the following election in November 2007.

The First Term

The 2007 election for the full four-year term as Delaware’s Fourth Ward councilman had six candidates, including Brush, who was 19 at the time.

“I didn’t really think that my age was going to be an issue,” Brush said.

Brush campaigned for several months before the election, using a “very systematic” approach and raising about $2,000 – more than any other candidate in the ward.

Using public records from the Board of Elections, he focused his door-to-door campaigning on Fourth Ward residents most likely to vote in that election, rather than just presidential or congressional ones. Brush and his campaign volunteers knocked on around 2,000 doors, about 95 percent of who he projected would vote.

 “On election day, there’s not really anything you can do but sit around and wait…that was admittedly a little nerve-wracking,” Brush said.

“I felt that I had run a good campaign; that I had a clear message that I’d communicated to the voters in the Fourth Ward, and I felt that I had a solid chance of winning, I’ll put it that way. I was cautiously optimistic.”

The first of the Ward’s six precincts to report their votes was the one Brush judged his strongest; he carried the precinct with around 60 percent of the vote.

“My initial reaction to that was that it had to be some kind of mistake,” Brush said.

At the end of the night, Brush won with about 30 percent of the vote; Brush credited his victory to his message, his hard work and the hard work of his volunteers.

Brush had several items he hoped to address in his first term, including improving traffic at ‘The Point’ – the junction of State Routes 36 and 37.

“It was very, very congested,” Brush said, adding that it was a substantial traffic problem for the city.

Brush’s other policy goals were to improve long-term city budget planning as a member of the Finance Committee and to improve communication with his constituents as their representative in City Hall, which he did through his door-to-door campaign efforts, providing Fourth Ward residents with his personal contact information.

The Second Term

“The top priority for my second term, I think, has been to carry forward the successes I’ve had in my first term,” Brush said; he was re-elected to the Fourth Ward seat in November 2011.

He was made Chair of the Finance Committee mid-way through his first term and has chaired it ever since, allowing him to “preserve the progress we have made in terms of passing balanced budgets, making sure we’re good stewards of tax money.”

Another concern of his second term has been promoting economic development for the city via ‘retention, expansion and attraction’ of commercial and industrial interests.

“If I had to pick one thing that’s kind of at the top of the heap for our priorities, its economic development,” Brush said.

“…There’s kind of three prongs to that – there’s retention, which is kind of like the first pillar…you don’t want any who’s here to leave.”

Next, he said, is promoting existing businesses to expand and hire more employees.

“If you have a business that employs 150 people, it’s a lot easier to get them to add 15 or 20 jobs than it is to bring in or pull in a company with 15-20 employees. And then the third pillar of course is attraction, trying to attract new businesses.”

Delaware’s city government uses several methods of attraction, including tax incentives and substantial airport access – the Delaware municipal airport, large enough to support small jet aircraft, is located inside the Industrial Park.

“It’s not unheard of, but it’s unusual that there necessarily be the capacity to have a private commercial jet land in the airport,” he said. “That’s a big deal for us. I think it gives us a competitive advantage over a lot of other similarly sized cities in the Central Ohio region.”

Brush also credited city utility service and city employees with adding to Delaware’s attractions for business owners.

Beyond City Hall

Like most members of the City Council, Brush holds a primary job in addition to his city work; he and his longtime friend and business partner Paul Milligan are the co-founders of Best Light Video, a Columbus-based advertising and promotions company.

City councilmen are paid $6,500 a year, so “pretty much everyone on council is either retired or has another primary job,” Brush said.

“We’re truly citizen legislators,” he added.

 Brush and Milligan founded Best Light Video in 2008 and work to plan and produce advertising and corporate communication.

“We do production from concept to completion,” he said.

The ‘Services’ section of Best Light’s website lists that they offer Pre-Production, including script writing and planning; Production, such as HD filming and photography; and Post-Production editing.

“Most of the stuff we do winds up on the web,” Brush said, although they produce “a fair amount” of commercials as well.

Best Light “has served Fortune 500 companies, advertising agencies and small businesses to create effective and compelling video messages,” according to their website.

Brush is also starting an additional company to focus on software and app creation.

With regard to his Council job and city politics, Brush said his priorities are “continuing to do a good job on City Council; continuing to be the best advocate I can be for the 8,000 people I represent.”

Brush also serves on the Board of Directors of Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (a Columbus-area online charter school with over 16,000 students) and in this role he’s had some involvement in state politics, which he finds “very interesting.”

“I think that if I wanted to get involved in that at some point, I’d like to think I’d have something to contribute,” he said. “We’ll see. I think it’s a few years down the road at this point.”