Pickerington may hold July 4 celebration after all
It never set well with Brian Sauer when his fellow council members voted last fall to cancel Pickerington's Independence Day celebration.
When Sauer announced at the March 17 meeting that he had found a way for the cash-strapped city to pay for the parade, entertainment and fireworks, his fellow council members said it was "too late."
"I will not give up on anything that's good for the quality of life," Sauer said.
On the recommendation of president Jeff Fix, the council heard Sauer's proposal in a special finance committee meeting on April 21.
By shaving $2,000 off the budget for legislative advertising and reducing staff training expenses by more than $10,000, Sauer found $12,650 to pay for half the celebration.
The Violet Township trustees are expected to approve matching funds.
Most pyrotechnic companies book by March for July 4, but the city found a company willing to take the job, Councilwoman Tricia Sanders said.
Council will not vote on the proposal until their May 5 meeting.
Resident Carol Carter voiced her displeasure at the possible turnaround.
"I walked beside you door-to-door to get a levy passed," Carter said. "I understand the city needs money. When I heard that half of my council wants to blow $12,000 just because it is there, my heart sank. I feel is sends such a bad message."
In other business, the council may decline a federal grant for two new police officers.
If awarded, the U.S. Department of Justice would pay the officers' salaries for three years and Pickerington would pick-up the tab on a fourth.
The federal government capped the salary for each officer; therefore any raises would be paid from the city's coffer, City Manager Tim Hansley said.
Councilwoman Cristie Hammond said should the city find it necessary to layoff officers, the policy is to release those with the least seniority first.
"These people would be the last hires and we could not lay them off," Hammond said.
Staff will research the costs to the city before council votes on the final reading May 5.
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