A new council president and a new official newspaper were appointed at the City Council’s re-organizational meeting on Tuesday, April 15.
Alderperson Greg Rose nominated Alderperson Jeannie Schley as council president. That motion was seconded by new Alderperson Mary-Beth Kuester, and a unanimous ballot was cast in favor of approving the nomination.
Committee appointments were also approved, though Kuester asked if Mayor Judy Magee had solicited council members to see if they wanted to be on certain committees in order to use their areas of expertise.
Magee said that some alderpersons had requested changes, which she made.
Kuester said she wanted to be on the Finance Committee, and Magee said that perhaps she would have a chance next year. Magee’s appointments were unanimously approved by the council.
Alderperson Bill Zeinert nominated Tim Schmid to continue as the city’s attorney, and that motion was seconded by Jerry Jorgenson.
“I have nothing against Tim and what he’s done, but I am unaware of others who might be interested. Are there others out there that we should be made aware of?”
Magee responded that she had tried several times to bring in a new city attorney, but that the council had voted her nomination down each time in years past.
“Should we form a committee to get a better idea of the pay and resume background they would have?” asked Alderperson Jim Krause. “I’m not saying we’re going to change, but any way we can save money, we should.”
Schmid said there are different ways of paying city attorneys, noting that population size is a consideration. He also noted that in order to form a committee to select the city attorney, the city’s ordinance would need to be changed first.
Six alderpersons (Gloria Dunlavy, Jeannie Schley, John Wilson, Krause, Kuester and Rose) voted against the nomination, thus defeating it.
Schmid will remain the city’s de facto attorney. The new term for the city attorney will begin on May 1.
Kuester went on to nominate the Clintonville Chronicle as the city’s official newspaper. “They have a larger circulation in the City of Clintonville and they are locally owned. They also employ local people.”
“I see that the Chronicle has won lots of awards,” said Wilson. “They also have a lot of subscribers. They pay taxes and employ people in town.”
Citizen Jeff Crumbaugh had spoken during the Citizens Forum, suggesting that the council choose WGWI as their official paper. “I have a lot of respect for Tim Beimal and the County Post East,” he said. “However, WGWI is an online newspaper that might be deserving of your attention for three reasons: first is the environmental aspect—there is no paper waste. Second is that the notices are archived online, which would be cheaper and easier to correct if necessary. Third is that the notices would be easier to access online than in a newspaper.”
Dave Wood, acting general manager of the County Post East, also spoke to the council.
“The County Post East will be going back to the Clintonville Tribune-Gazette beginning May 8,” he said. “I want to thank you for your business this past year. Last year, I was pretty new, as we had just purchased the paper. I hope we get a vote again this year. This past year, we offered a free skip from the County Post East to the Shopper’s Guide for the school district’s legals. We want to extend the same offer to the city this year in hopes of getting the vote once more.”
Kuester’s motion to approve the Clintonville Chronicle as the city’s official newspaper passed by a 6-3-1 vote, with Rose abstaining. Voting no were alderpersons Zeinert, Mark Doornink and Phil Rath.
In other business, the council unanimously approved a Class B Beer license for Ellen’s Café and Catering LLC, 47 S. Main St.
Tuesday, April 8 meeting
Plans for a wastewater treatment facility upgrade, borrowing to facilitate that upgrade, and a sewer utility rate increase were all unanimously approved by the council at their meeting on Tuesday, April 8.
Phil Korth from Foth spoke to the council about the proposed changes. The recommendation was to do the proposed work in one construction year in 2015 versus five small projects over five years.
In order to pay for this $3.5 million project, the city will apply for a Clean Water Fund loan and will also consider other grant money that may be available.
The council was also informed that the sewer rates need to be reviewed. Schenk recommended new sewer rates to the council, with one increase being implemented on June 19 of this year, which will show up on customers’ July 31 bill, and another at the end of 2015 or when the construction is near completion. Clintonville’s current rates are 15th from the bottom on a list of 92 similarly sized municipalities. Rates have not increased in the last six years. The council was informed last fall at budget time that a rate increase would be necessary to balance the 2014 budget.
“Your current systems are about 27 years old,” said Korth. “They are certainly showing signs of wear. Is this project a good investment? Yes. Keeping up your wastewater facilities is part of the city’s responsibility.”
An average residential customer using 7,000 gallons per month will see their total utility bill increase $8.25 per month.
“Compared to other municipalities, we’re not out of line,” said Greg Rose. “We have one of the lowest costs to citizens. This would still give us a very competitive rate compared to other communities.”
The upgrade plans, borrowing to facilitate the upgrade, and sewer utility rate increase were all approved unanimously.
John Moericke, Matthew Jones and John Wilson all addressed the council.
“A while back, a man came before the council and you guys made a total fool of him,” said Wilson. “It would have been better to tar and feather him. That’s why people don’t come speak at the Citizens Forum. This will not be tolerated again. We are not animals. Also, anyone using the city credit cards for personal use is not acceptable. Taxpayers are footing this bill. They should know what’s going on. I might have been born yesterday, but I’m no fool.”
Jones spoke to the council on a wide array of topics, from police brutality to reverse osmosis. His conversation included comments directed at “globalist dirtbags” while also addressing fluoridated water.
“The amazing thing is how many times the council has gone into closed session,” said Moericke. “We should only have two credit cards for a city this size, not 12. That’s the problem—there’s no control.
Moericke used a few expletives during his comments, noting that he “goes to church (expletive) near every Sunday” while adding “that’s not a swear word because we have a dam here in Clintonville.”
The following items were approved at the Tuesday, April 8 meeting:
• Appointing Phil Rath, Bill Zeinert, Jerry Jorgenson, Lisa Kuss and Judy Magee to a Public Works Manager Search Committee;
• Selecting the low bid for 2014-15 Crushed Limestone from T.L. Kersten Excavating in the amount of $9.40/ton;
• Resolution 2014-15: 2014-18 City of Clintonville Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan;
• Suspending the rules for second readings of Ordinances 1094 and 1095;
• Approving Ordinance 1094, rezoning two lots on Industrial Ave. between 15th Street and 16th Street from I-1 to R-3. This measure passed 8-1-1, with Gloria Dunlavy voting no and Bill Zeinert abstaining. Dunlavy was not at the public hearing for this ordinance, and expressed concern that the rezoning and proposed development would not be in the best interest of the citizens in the immediate area of the lots being rezoned;
• Approved Ordinance 1095, multi-family change number of units from 15 to 16. This measure passed by a 9-1 vote, with Dunlavy voting no; and
• Directing the Personnel Committee to create policies for all city purchases. This motion was approved unanimously in open session after the council discussed it in closed session.
The next regularly scheduled City Council meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 13, at City Hall.