Council discusses safety levy questions

| April 14, 2015

COSHOCTON – Jim McClure, a member of the Citizens for a Safe Coshocton committee, had a very important question for Coshocton City Council at its April 13 meeting. He wanted to know how council would like him to answer the popular question, “What does it mean for the City of Coshocton if the safety levy doesn’t pass?”

The safety levy will be on the May 5 ballot and if passed it will raise city income tax an additional one half percent for law enforcement, criminal justice operations and general safety and security of the citizens and public areas.

“I don’t want to be an alarmist, but we need to be factual when answering this,” he said.

Council President Cliff Biggers was the first to give McClure his thoughts.

“We will have no other choice than to move forward in the fall and try to pass it again,” Biggers said.

If that happens they also will focus on how to better educate the public on the necessity of the safety levy.

“We will review it and try to figure out why it didn’t pass, but ultimately there will be a reduction in services (from the sheriff’s office) if it fails and fails again,” said Mayor Steve Mercer.

Sheriff Tim Rogers said the department’s current contract with the city is for one year, but if the levy fails at the six month mark there will be a reduction in services.

“If it passes you will see a gradual increase in services and officers,” he said. “We just want to get back to where we were when I took office in 2001. Crime is going up, but our number of officers is going down.”

Service Director Jerry Stenner said he admires what the sheriff’s office is able to do with the staff it has, but knows they could do even more if the levy passes.

“The other side (the criminals) is moving ahead with or without us,” he said.

City officials also had some tips for people doing spring cleaning. During the meeting Stenner mentioned that due to bed bugs the city’s new trash hauler, Waste Management, will only pick up mattresses if they are wrapped in plastic or somehow packaged. Rogers also reminded people that the sheriff’s office has a drop box for prescription medicine that the DEA disposes of for them. It, however, is only good for pills. Liquids and needles can’t be put in it.

“This has been good for us because it keeps friends and family from taking drugs and reselling them on the street,” Rogers said.

At the meeting, council also gave first readings to the following legislations and resolutions.

  • 10-15 an ordinance authorizing the mayor or service director to enter into an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to participate in their contracts for sodium chloride (road salt) for the 2015-2016 season.
  • 11-15 an ordinance authorizing the mayor or service director to enter into an agreement to lease an office space to the state department of health.
  • 12-15 an ordinance to amend ordinance 16-13 extending the pay rates for all non-bargaining unit employees until the last pay of September 2015.
  • 13-15 an ordinance to amend the zoning map of the City of Coshocton.
  • Resolution 5-15 Otsego Avenue Rehabilitation

“We are still in discussion on what we thought was a done deal with the Otsego Avenue paving project,” Mercer said. “We are earnestly working to keep it on schedule.”

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Category: Government

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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