By Linda Dillman
Canal Winchester City Council is considering legislation that could result in an additional officer joining the 10-deputy Fairfield County Deputy Sheriff team that serves the city.
The legislation arose after months of study following resident concerns of excess speeding and criminal activity.
“A generic FBI study showed, for a city our size and population, we should have 2.8 deputies per shift,” said Councilwoman Bobbie Mershon. “Pickerington statistics indicate a need for 1.8 deputies per 1,000 people. Council felt we need three additional deputies. Amanda (Jackson, finance director) found funding in the budget for another deputy. So, we need to look at the 2018 budget to see where we can find funding for more deputies.”
According to the contract amendment, in addition to 24-hour shifts of two deputies, seven days a week, the sheriff’s department agrees to provide a third deputy to exclusively patrol the city eight hours a day, five days a week.
If approved, the contract would cost the city an additional $90,000.
“Our contract with the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Department expires next year, so I’m sure the two additional deputies will be part of that discussion,” said Mershon.
While there is an agreed need for a total of three additional deputies, Jackson advised to proceed slowly and not add more officers until negotiating a new agreement. She said it would be difficult if more deputies were hired and then their employment was terminated if the Fairfield contract was not renewed.
“Our contract ends Dec. 31, 2018,” said Jackson. “You don’t want to add two more deputies with the contract up for renewal.”
Councilman Will Bennett said council still needs to balance their concerns with the safety of residents.
Legal action possible about noise
The city is moving ahead with bringing potential charges against an East Waterloo Street pub for the sounds of live music bleeding out into the nearby neighborhood.
“We’ve scheduled a meeting with the Environmental Court and prosecutor,” said Canal Winchester Law Director Gene Hollins regarding the Third Rail pub. “We’ll try to bring charges to get some relief. We’ve built a case and are ready to bring it to the prosecutor’s office for the Environmental Court. We’ll approach it as a criminal violation.”
In lieu of a specific noise ordinance, Hollins sid the city has an effective tool with a disorderly conduct charge.
“It certainly is within the court’s ability to determine acceptable noise levels,” said Hollins, who said expert testimony will be part of the legal process.
Residential development pulled
A request to rezone land southwest of North High Street and U.S. Route 33 to planned unit development was pulled prior to a third reading at the request of the applicant.
The land is owned by Damon Pfeifer and Tiger Construction. The applicant, Grand Communities, Ltd. of Erlanger, Ky., is seeking rezoning for a Fischer Homes Turning Stone, 84-lot single family development and a 1.75 acre commercial tract. Council tabled the ordinance.