MOUNT VERNON — To the applause of the audience, city council members postponed indefinitely a proposal to use $300,000 from the city's reserve fund to pay for repairs to the Knox Cattle Company Dam on Yauger Road.
“It is not appropriate to go forward given the lack of information and the scope of the work,” said Councilwoman Janis Seavolt.
Seavolt took the lead in discussing the legislation because Councilman Sam Barone, chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, was recused from participating due to a conflict of interest with his position on the board of Knox Community Hospital. KCH owns land in The Landings, the development affected by the dam.
Council members Nancy Vail and Chris Menapace, along with Council President Bruce Hawkins, also were recused from participating due to owning land in or adjacent to The Landings. Menapace was not at Monday's council meeting.
The remaining four council members — John Francis, Seavolt, Matt Starr, and Mike Hillier — voted unanimously to postpone the legislation indefinitely. Postponing legislation indefinitely means that council has to start anew if the issue resurfaces.
Hillier agreed with Seavolt's comment, partly due to additional action from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The ODNR Division of Water Resources notified seven property owners that it will conduct another dam inspection between September and December.
He also supported the 4-0 vote because the city plans to audit the 1999 stormwater plan filed by developer Jerry Baker. The audit includes re-running calculations for flooding, including a 100-year flood; surveying pipes, weirs and rock channel for correct sizing; and looking at density of structures in The Landings subdivision.
City Engineer Brian Ball said the audit will include the top of the watershed area at Upper Gilchrist Road, the Knox County Career Center parcel, and the entirety of The Landings subdivision. The audit will not include legal research such as easements and covenants.
Barone asked what information the audit will yield specifically relating to the cattle dam discussion. Ball responded that it will tell whether Baker's stormwater plan is correct or deficient. If it is correct, the weir will be replaced the same size.
“If there are plan deficiencies, it will give us the ability to say what are the corrective actions that need to be taken,” he said.
Ball estimates the audit to be less than $20,000. If the city awards the work this week, he anticipates the audit to begin in two or three weeks and take two or three months to complete.