The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

Oregon Council on Monday will consider approving a contract with One Call Now that includes a GIS mapping system that would allow the city to notify the public of emergencies or events.

The system is used by Wood County, Northwood, Millbury, Walbridge, Lake Township, the Northwestern Water and Sewer District, and Rossford.

Michael Scott, from One Call Now, presented the package at an Oregon committee of the whole meeting last Monday. Council agreed to put it on its agenda for the next Oregon council meeting.

Scott said One Call Now is an emergency call out telephonic system.

“There’s two basic sides to the product: a map based system, and a roster based system. Essentially, this is used for emergencies and non-emergencies. The map based system is there in case you need to call a particular portion of the system. For example, if you have a water boil emergency, a road closure, or a chemical spill that doesn’t involve the entire city, you’ll be able to go to that map based system, draw the area you want to contact, and it’s going to contact everyone within that particular area…via telephone,” explained Scott.

“We can make about 12,000 calls per minute, so this is a very quick system. As a matter of fact, we probably won’t call that quickly just from the standpoint we don’t want to overwhelm your telephone system here within the city. We do some studies prior to determining how quickly those calls need to go out. But rest assured, we’ll put those calls out as quickly as possible,” he said.

Oregon City Administrator Mike Beazley told council at a recent meeting that income tax collections were down by 16 percent, or $250,000, for the first quarter of this year compared to the first quarter last year.

“I wanted to give a little heads up on revenue as we get through the first quarter of the year. It’s been clear that many of our neighbors are facing revenue challenges. The city to the south of us has had more challenges than we have. Oregon is not immune to that,” said Beazley, referring to Northwood, which has been cutting its budget and personnel in the last two years due to a reduction of income tax collections.

“We are fortunate that we’ve built up a very responsible and healthy reserve in recent years,” he said. “But our revenue to date for the first quarter is coming in at a slower pace than at any time in the last several years. Even the less volatile sections, like payroll withholding, which is kind of the steadiest historically, is coming in at a considerably lower rate. This is just something that we have to be aware of as we look forward.”

The city, he added, has a considerable reserve built up over the years to be used in emergencies or during recessions.

Sunshine, aka North Forty Suny Z, is a 14-year-old solid Paint mare that is the namesake for a network of individuals out to save horses that are victims of physical, emotional, or financial hardship.

The Sunshine Equine Volunteer Network recently originated with a small group of local horse owners. They are an organized network offering short-term assistance to Ottawa County horse owners who are no longer able to provide care.

Their goal is to avoid the possibility of starvation, death, and lack of care for horses when their owners have no other options.

Network co-founder Mary Ebel said a lot of horse owners won’t give up their horses, even though they may not be able to properly care for them anymore because of health, financial, or other reasons.

“It is widespread,” said Ebel. “Every horse magazine that we pick up there is something in there about horses being turned loose because people can’t afford to support them anymore. I mean, that’s a widespread problem, and then again we have people who are keeping their horses and they aren’t able to feed them or take care of them.”

A study that includes cost estimates for linking water distribution systems in Ottawa and Wood counties is on the agenda of the April 19 committee-of-the-whole meeting of the Northwestern Water and Sewer District.

The district commissioned Poggemeyer Design Group for the study.

Jerry Greiner, executive director of the district, said it examines several possible routes for extending waterlines from Ottawa County to lines under the district’s jurisdiction.

The Ottawa County system currently reaches as far west as the Brush Wellman plant near the Village of Elmore.

“Where any new lines would be installed could depend on where there is interest on the part of municipalities in the county,” Greiner said. “We want to find out who is interested in linking up. There are right-of-way and easement issues that also have to be addressed.”

One option that’s been discussed informally is for Ottawa County to bring a line to the counties’ border along Fostoria Road where Wood County already has lines

The Northwestern Water and Sewer District purchases water from the cities of Toledo and Oregon and serves about 20,000 customers.

Northwood City Council gave first reading to an ordinance to cut the pay of the mayor and city council by 10 percent.

It is the latest cost cutting measure by the city, as it struggles to adjust to a reduction of income tax collections in the last year as a result of the economic recession.

If passed, the ordinance would cut the annual salaries of the mayor and council to $10,800 from $12,000, and to $6,300 from $7,000, respectively.

The measure would not become effective until 2012.

The city has already cut the 2010 budget by 30.6 percent, laid off staff, cut department budgets, instituted eight unpaid furlough days for salaried staff, cut non-union pay by 3 percent, eliminated the senior program, instituted a hiring freeze for all departments, froze all capital improvement and replacement projects since last year, stopped rentals of shelter houses, closed the community room for rentals,

“We have made adjustments, instituted new policies, taken on more job duties, reduced staff, reduced costs, and not approved purchases. We’re simply always looking for ways to save money,” said City Administrator Pat Bacon.

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