MANSFIELD -- Mansfield City Council on Tuesday approved the new five-year plan for the Richland County Solid Waste District, which could include a litter control enforcement officer.
According to the 210-page plan, a litter patrol officer in the sheriff's department could be created that would help enforce illegal dumping and other violations within the county, including the City of Mansfield.
"There is a potential to reintroduce this program during the planning period if funding is available. The (Richland County Solid Waste Management Authority) would hire a deputy sheriff to patrol for and respond to litter complaints," the plan says.
"The emphasis would be on roadside dumping but the deputy could also respond to or refer open dumping complaints to the Health Department or Ohio EPA," according to the plan, which requires the approval of government entities around the county.
The city's problems with trash removal, illegal dumping and other issues were outlined in Richland Source during a four-part series in February.
Mayor Tim Theaker praised the potential position.
"The Solid Waste District has the money. It's in the plan. This (deputy) could work with the courts and get (violators) prosecuted and reduce illegal dumping in this area, especially in the city," Theaker said.
Council member Jean Taddie, who represents the 6th Ward and who has spoken frequently about the trash and illegal dumping issues, also spoke in favor of the enforcement position.
"If we would just enforce the laws we do have, we would be a much cleaner community," she said.
SAFETY FORCES: Council, again meeting in "virtual" online session during the COVID-19 pandemic, declined to discuss a question about the city's fire department that came in via the city's Facebook live-stream.
Earlier this month, the city administration eliminated non-emergency overtime in the fire department, which has resulted in the temporary closure of Station 2 on Brookwood Way several times. Theaker said the move was a cost-cutting measure during the pandemic after city Finance Director Linn Steward forecast a 20 percent reduction in revenue in 2020.
The union representing the city's firefighters has criticized the move and said it puts residents in danger.
After the question was read during the meeting, Theaker cautioned council against responding to such comments.
"During this time of pandemic, if you're going to start looking at Facebook comments ... I just would be very cautious about wanting to address every Facebook comment," the mayor said.
Council President Cliff Mears agreed with the mayor and said members of the public with questions should email them prior to the meeting to email@example.com. Mears asked the residents sending emails include their names and addresses.
No members of council objected to not addressing the Facebook question.
A letter from a resident that was emailed was shared by council, but was not read during the public comment portion of the meeting. It commented on a variety of topics in the city.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT: Public Works Director David Remy told council that Adrian Ackerman has been hired as the city's new community development director.
Ackerman, who Remy said has worked in the community development office for five or six years, will replace former director Tracy Bond, who was terminated by Theaker in April.
Remy said the city's grant applications to the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant program and also the Home Investment Partnership Program, were submitted on time.
Those grant applications are handled by the community development office.
AIRPORT SNOW REMOVAL: Council approved a federal and state grant that will allow the city to purchase snow removal equipment worth $1.44 million for the runways at Mansfield Lahm Regional Airport.
City engineer Bob Bianchi told council 95 percent of the funds will come through grants from the Federal Aviation Administration and Ohio Dept. of Transportation Office of Aviation. The city's required 5 percent match will come in funds the city is receiving from the federal CARES Act in response to COVID-19.
No local funds will be used, Bianchi said.
With the funding, the city will purchase two large dump truck snowplows and one runway broom/snowblower to clear the 150-foot wide runways. He said the specialized equipment cannot be used on city streets.
Bianchi said the equipment should arrive this fall in time for be used during the winter of 2020-2021.
Also on Tuesday, council unanimously voted to:
-- sell 18.29 acres at 500 N. Main St., site of the former Mansfield Foundry, for $130,000 to Chris Dirt Excavating, LLC, with operations in Mansfield and Holland, Mich. The city has owned the property since 2003 and was able to tear down the old structure and clean up the site in 2014. Mansfield Economic Director Tim Bowersock said remediating the former "brownfield" site came at a cost of just under $7.5 million, funds for which came from an environmental insurance policy and various Ohio EPA grants. Another small section (0.369 acres) was approved for sale Tuesday to Wayne Sanchez, owner of Ohio Machine Tool, a used industrial equipment dealer. The economic development director said Sanchez purchased part of the property after the city acquired it in 2003 and Tuesday's purchase will complete the transaction.
-- create a city-wide community reinvestment area, aimed at spurring economic development through tax incentives. Council discussed the issue during its May 5 meeting.
-- pay a $939.12 damage claim for Mike and Lori Colosimo for an incident involving the city's safety forces in March 2019.
-- transfer $1,375 within the alarm monitoring fund to update computer equipment.
-- accept a $25,200 National Police Athletic League mentoring sub-grant to be used by the Mansfield Police Athletic League. The grant provides a portion of the personnel costs associated with the city's PAL director.