Whitehall budget reviewed

Whitehall City Council reviewed Mayor John Wolfe’s proposed 2009 tax budget during its July 8 meeting.  

The document, which outlines anticipated expenditures, must be approved in order to be submitted to the Franklin County Auditor’s office.

Three departments will see a significant change compared to the last budget. Parks and Recreation’s 2008 appropriation was $630,000 and the mayor is now proposing $799,235, which is a $169,235 increase.

Wolfe has proposed $4.9 million for police, which is an increase of $311,088.  The chief had requested $52,694 more.  Proposed for the fire department is $19.1 million, an increase of $929,054, and $222,599 less than the fire chief requested.

OPWC funding

Wolfe proposed draft legislation that will authorize him to seek financial assistance from the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) for funding a resurfacing and reconstruction project on Mayflower Boulevard between Etna Road and just past Beechwood.

Engineers for EMH&T took core samples and have determined the road’s base is in bad shape, according to Service Director Ray Ogden. The base will have to be repaired. The project will include new asphalt, approaches, curbs, gutters and storm drops.

The grant requires the city to seek a no interest loan for 25.1 percent of the cost for the life of the project. The repairs should have a 25 year life span. Cost is estimated at about $1.7 million, and the grant is 100 percent reimbursable.  

The funds will be available at the first of next year, so Ogden said that it is imperative to bid early. The four month project would commence after school dismisses next summer.

The city has the support from Beechwood Elementary School, police and fire departments, and Wolfe will be sending letters to Mayflower residents explaining the importance of their input. Residents can write letters directed to EMH&T engineers, and send them to Zachary Woodruff, Community Affairs Coordinator, 360 S. Yearling Road, Whitehall, OH 43213.  The purpose of the letters is to assist EMH&T with a strong case when applying for the grant. There will be a public hearing for Mayflower residents July 24 at 7 p.m. at the above address. Residents affected by this project are encouraged to attend.

Swimming pools

Wolfe shared that the owners of the former Swim Land property are in the process of selling it.  They have been given a 35-day extension to comply with orders to drain and tear out the pools. He said that the new owners have agreed to complete the work.    

Wolfe said that he anticipates some kind of retail to locate there, particularly on the Hamilton Road side.

On another matter, Ogden noted, "We have been hitting the inflatable swimming pools hard and heavy."  

So far no citations have been issued.  Code enforcement has been directing people to remove them if they do not have the required four foot locked fence.

Councilman Wes Kantor said he doesn’t like going after residents who are supervising their children playing in the pools in the recent extreme heat. Ogden offered that the concern is when there is no one attending the pools that are up all the time.  

"How would they feel if a child got hurt or died who had just wandered onto the property," asked Ogden.

Kantor nodded in agreement with Ogden’s comment.

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