Unused funds raised by the Walbridge Centennial Committee are being donated back to village organizations.
Darlene Limmer, president of the committee, told village council Wednesday that donations of $1,000 each will be made to the bicycle unit of the village’s auxiliary police force and to the Walbridge Fest Committee, which provided funding to the centennial committee to pay for start-up expenses.
The village celebrated the 100th anniversary of its incorporation in 2013 with events throughout much of the year.
“You made it a special year for Walbridge,” Mayor Ed Kolanko told Limmer.
She said the committee also plans to buy four benches for Loop Park to commemorate the centennial year and place 25-year and 50-year time capsules at the administration building on Main Street.
A scrapbook of the centennial celebration is being donated to the Walbridge Library, Limmer said.
Council president elected
Councilmembers organized for 2014 but it took a vote by Mayor Kolanko to decide who’ll be council president.
Sue Hart-Douglas nominated Ron Liwo to be president and Lauren LaRoe nominated Ken Gilsdorf.
After two rounds of voting ended in ties with LaRoe and Larry Boday supporting Gilsdorf and Fred Sloyer and Hart-Douglas supporting Liwo, the mayor offered to leave council chambers for a few minutes and let council discuss the matter.
Gilsdorf and Liwo had both voted for themselves.
The mayor stressed it should be council making the decision but council deferred to him and he voted for Gilsdorf.
“I don’t take pride in doing that,” the mayor said.
In other business, council approved a motion authorizing Brian Ballenger, village solicitor, to proceed with civil litigation to correct a curb project on Park View Drive that wasn’t done, the village contends, according to specifications.
Ballenger asked for the motion after informing council that talks with the contractor weren’t progressing.
Council and the mayor also re-affirmed support for Ken Frost holding the police chief position and part-time position of village administrator after Cecil Adkins, a former member of council, again questioned the legality of one person simultaneously holding the posts.
Adkins said having a separate administrator worked well for the village in years past. A legal opinion by a law firm retained by Adkins cites a court case that states offices are considered incompatible when one is subordinate to, or in any check upon, the other.
However, the Ohio Attorney General late last year issued an opinion that one person may simultaneously hold the offices but there are restrictions.
“As the administrator he may not approve invoices, estimates, contracts or other expenditures for the village police department without the approval of the village’s legislative authority,” the opinion says. “As village chief of police he must remove himself from any investigation concerning the office of village administrator.”
In addressing Adkins’ questions, the mayor said Frost “does a fine job in both positions” and “we’re following the law.”
Members of council were free to discuss the issue, he said.
Adkins last autumn pointed to the Park View curb project as an example of problems that could be avoided by having an administrator without other duties who could oversee such projects and catch problems early in the construction process.