Eaton Council discusses Expo building project

By Kelsey Kimbler -

EATON — The Preble County Board of Commissioners asked Eaton City Council to partner with them on the addition to the Expo Center at the Fairgrounds, by waiving building service fees. While council was interested in working with the commissioners and waiving fees where they could, they were not interested in passing legislation needed to waive all of the requested fees.

During a council meeting on Monday, Jan. 15, City Manager Brad Collins reported the commissioners had approached him to present another partnership to the council.

The Expo addition is going to be constructed in several phases, with Phase I being the construction of the building “shell.”

“They asked if we would consider waiving any of our building service fees for this project and I wanted to get some discussion from council to see what direction you are interested in pursuing,” Collins said.

Mayor Gary Wagner explained that the city manager does not have the authority to waive those fees and this is a decision council would have to make. At that point, staff would have to draft legislation to allow the city to waive fees they normally do not waive.

Council then discussed whether a partnership on the Expo building would benefit the city in any way. Several members pointed out fees are not normally waived, not even for non-profits and churches. However, some members were interested in partnering with the county to maintain a good relationship.

Mayor Wagner added, he would see the partnership as economic development, as additional traffic to the fairgrounds might bring customers into the city.

Ultimately, council was not interested in waiving all of the building fees, some of which would ultimately be out-of-pocket expenses for the city. Council stated they would consider waiving application fees and any fees that are not out-of-pocket costs, but also noted, since the project has already been awarded, many fees have already been paid.

As they have not waived fees in the past, council decided not to do so now, although they would be willing to cooperate with the county. They resolved to work within the parameters of their current legislation, but not draft any new legislation nor waive fees for the county they would not for other organizations who have had similar requests.

There was also discussion on whether the city should implement a policy on when to waive fees, which is something the city will explore in the future.

In other business:

•The official Fire and EMS Division December 2017 report shows a combined response of 198 calls; 133 EMS responses, including 12 back-up EMS calls; and 65 fire/rescue responses, including six general alarms. They received mutual aid six times and provided mutual aid six times.

The report also shows there were three heroin overdose responses in December. According to Fire Chief Brian Smith, these are only the calls in which Narcan is administered. There was a total of 92 overdose responses for 2017, compared to 29 in 2016, and 34 in 2015.

The highest month in 2017 for heroin overdose responses was April, when there was a total of 17.

•Council approved a resolution authorizing the transfer of certain general revenue funds to special revenue funds. The transfer will be to the following funds: Public Safety ($225,000), Recreation ($16,250), and Fort St. Clair ($16,250).

•Council approved a resolution which would authorize the City Manager to execute the purchase of a vehicle for the EMS Division from the State Cooperative Purchasing Program. The division will be replacing a 2007 Ford 450 E Series Van emergency medical vehicle with 216,000 miles.

•The first reading was held for an ordinance levying assessments for sidewalks, curbs, and gutters along Nation Avenue.

•Staff is working on 2017 annual reports.

•Employee of the Year nominations are due soon.

The City of Eaton will hold its next council meeting on Monday, Feb. 12, at 6 p.m. in the Eaton City Building.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH