The Press Newspaper
A crowd of 40 people showed up at the East Toledo Senior Activities Center on White St. to get a chance to vent their concerns to Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson, who spent about 90 minutes addressing issues ranging from blighted properties to economic development.
But Hicks-Hudson spent most of the time responding to questions about how to get rid of dilapidated and abandoned buildings in East Toledo.
Many in the crowd had a story to tell about crumbling, sometimes vacant structures that were bringing down their neighborhoods.
For example, someone asked Hicks-Hudson what was being done about the former Masonic Temple at Fourth and Main streets, which has been in bad shape.
“It’s been empty for so long,” said a woman. “There are bricks falling off of it.”
“We don’t have any plans at this point that I’m aware of,” said Hicks-Hudson.
Councilman Mike Craig, who helped field some of the questions, said the building was purchased last year for about $350.
“Unfortunately, they kind of snuck it out from under the Land Bank,” said Craig. The Lucas County Land Bank acquires vacant and abandoned foreclosed buildings to demolish or sell for renovation in an effort to rebuild blighted neighborhoods.
Craig said the owner had no plans to rebuild.
The president of the Woodmore school board Tuesday responded to questions about a discrepancy in the district’s cash reconciliation reports.
Steve Huss read a prepared statement during the board’s meeting, focusing on a “reconciling adjustment of $77,033” to close the district’s books for fiscal year 2014, which ended last June 30. Former treasurer Kevin Slates had abruptly resigned at the time and administration staff and an interim treasurer were unable to reconcile the numbers.
“The district needed to close its books to be able to pay bills and keep the (elementary school) building project going among other things,” Huss read. “Our staff was concerned about not completely balancing the funds, and I, as president of the board, signed a statement acknowledging that we would use the numbers that had been left and move forward from there to fix the problem.”
A cash reconciliation statement dated July 25 includes Huss’s handwritten name followed by “use these figures to balance June, 2014 & move forward.”
A survey of a vacant lot owned by the Village of Walbridge on Main Street is being conducted as a preliminary step to the village vacating a portion of an adjacent alley and allowing the local branch of the Wood County District Public Library to expand.
Mayor Ed Kolanko said the survey will determine boundary lines and identify any easements.
Vacating the alley right-of-way would require passage of an ordinance by village council.
The library has asked the village to consider donating the lot so the library can expand its branch at 108 N. Main.
Michael Penrod, director of the district library, said the library would like to add space for meetings and programs and upgrade the branch’s technological capabilities.
Mayor Kolanko said the village hasn’t been provided any plans in writing by the library, adding the vacant lot is only “under consideration for donation to the Wood County Library for expansion.”
But he said he’s “excited the potential this relationship…brings to the village.”
The Ohio EPA is providing two interest free loans to the City of Toledo to finance upgrades to the water treatment plant at Collins Park on the East Side.
Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler made the announcement with Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson at a press conference on Wednesday.
The upgrades are designed to improve the ability to remove harmful algal blooms (HABs), which last August prompted a three day tap water ban to Toledo water customers after high levels of microcystin was found in samples taken from the Collins Park water treatment plant.
“Lake Erie is the crown jewel of the State of Ohio,” Butler said.
Two interest-free loans from Ohio EPA’s Water Supply Revolving Loan Account (WSRLA) are financing the projects.
“We are pleased to be able to provide the city affordable funding for important work that, when complete, will immediately improve the city’s drinking water treatment system,” Butler said. “Ohio EPA financing also will provide valuable research toward long-term treatment strategies that will help Toledo and other communities avoid issues with toxins created by HABs in their drinking water.”
Clean drinking water, he added, is “essential.”
“We need to take care of Earth’s resources in order to take care of ourselves,” he said.
Oregon City Council on Monday will consider an ordinance that will create the classification of substitute clerical support staff that would fill in for city employees who are on vacation or sick leave.
City Administrator Mike Beazley said he’s been grappling with the issue for a while, but has not been able to address it until now.
“This is a new approach to try and deal with a leaner clerical support staff. In response to the recession in 2010 and 2011, the city allowed some vacancies to remain when there were some retirements,” said Beazley at a meeting on Monday. “We created a problem that has made it difficult for vacation or sick time when we end up with not having a person to backfill a position in building inspection or maybe in police records. I came up with a number of approaches to solving them, but none of my plans worked. I’m always willing to try things. When they don’t work, I try something else. What I wanted to avoid was just simply staffing up and adding more full-time positions because while we need individuals on occasion, we don’t need them all the time. The ordinance would create positions that would be the functional equivalent of substitute teachers.”
Eligible candidates, he said, could be retirees or “someone who would want to come to work in Oregon someday.”
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