MOUNT VERNON — At their Jan. 25, 2021 meeting, council members gave the go-ahead for city administrators to acquire all or part of nine properties. The city can now make formal offers to the various property owners.
The largest area involves five parcels in the area of 311 S. Mulberry St. One parcel is the site of Duke's Quick Lube. Three parcels sit in what was formerly Walnut Alley; the other parcel fronts on Phillips Drive.
City Engineer Brian Ball said the city is interested in acquiring the parcels as part of the future relocation of State Route 13. Plans call for South Sandusky Street/Phillips Drive to be widened and become two-way. The project is on a three-to-five-year time frame.
Southbound traffic will flow from Sandusky Street to Phillips Drive to South Main. Northbound traffic will flow from South Main to Phillips Drive to Sandusky Street.
Two properties are on the east end of Dixie Drive. Currently, Dixie Drive is a dead-end street. The city wants to acquire a small portion of land from two property owners for the construction of a cul-de-sac.
Another property is the site of Shellmar Park on the southwest corner of Marion and Madison streets. The Knox County Land Bank plans to donate the park to the city.
The remaining parcel is at the southwest corner of Gambier and Main streets. To comply with Ohio Department of Transportation regulations, the city needs to acquire a small triangular section on which the signal pole sits.
Also at Monday's meeting, council waived the required three readings and adopted remaining appropriations for 2021. The budget includes funding for a newly-created director of human resources position. In other action, council:
--Waived the third reading and approved a contract with the Knox County Area Development Foundation for economic and development services. The city will pay $25,000 to ADF and allow ADF the use of the B&O Depot on West High Street.
--Waived the required three readings and approved membership in the Regional Planning Commission at a cost of $4,192.25
--Adopted legislation raising the wastewater rates. Council changed the effective date from Jan. 1, 2021, to March 1 and removed the 10% automatic renewal for years four through 10. Council also included language requiring council to review rates annually at the first regularly scheduled council meeting in November.
--Accepted a wage and benefits bargaining unit agreement for the sergeants, lieutenants, police officers, and records clerk in the Mount Vernon Police Department. The one-year agreement reflects no wage increase for 2021; it does reflect a six-month trial of moving from three eight-hour shifts to two 12-hour shifts with 10-hour shifts for certain supervisory personnel. The detective division will stay on an eight-hour daytime shift. This change is expected to begin Feb. 7.
--Gave a first reading to an ordinance amending the number of hourly employees for the city. The changes relate to the proposed restructuring of the public utilities department.
--Postponed indefinitely an ordinance amending the city's accessory structures code
--Heard an update from Sam Filkins, vice president of the ADF, on the downtown plan
--Issued a proclamation designating Jan. 27 as Holocaust Remembrance Day