Archived Story

City set for second try on rec levy

Published 12:00am Sunday, January 13, 2013

At its first meeting of the New Year, the Ironton City Council unanimously passed a resolution to put a renewal of the city’s recreation levy on the November general election ballot.

A renewal of the half-mill levy was defeated at the polls last November by a margin of 112 votes, but the recreation department will actually still be funded through 2013.

“Originally we thought it (the levy) ended in 2012 but it’s a year behind so we are fortunate to be able to continue our recreation services throughout this year,” said Mayor Rich Blankenship.

Blankenship said there would not be an increase in the levy, but that it is vitally important to maintain the city’s parks and youth activities.

“It is a daily chore to clean up at these parks and to keep them nice and neat and looking inviting to families to come and enjoy instead of having 30-year-old equipment in them,” Blankenship said. “We are trying our best to maintain what we have, but to improve upon that. We can’t do it all at one time because the money is not there. We are really striving to replace the equipment that is in need of replacing, maintaining the equipment that we have and providing a place for families to go and sit and cook out and enjoy the park, watch their kids play or just relax.”

The levy helps to maintain Moulton Field, Eighth Street Park, Etna Street Park and the Splash Park on Second Street, as well as operate the youth basketball league and cheerleading.

“That’s something we don’t want to lose for these youngsters,” Blankenship said. “I think it’s vitally important, not only for our kids but for anyone who wants to come in and see what we have.”

Blankenship also noted that even though youth football programs are not funded through the recreation department, the rec director still gives a lot of time to the program.

“They don’t just cut grass,” he said. “I invite anyone to go down there and look at those boys and girls playing ball on Saturday and then want to tell them “No, we can’t do this next year.”

In other business:

• Council unanimously approved Blankenship’s recommendation to appoint Ryan Watts as water treatment superintendent.

Watts, who has worked for the city for about a decade, will replace long-time superintendent Mark White, who recently retired after 10 years in that position.

“Ryan has stepped up and I’m optimistic to have him do that,” Blankenship said.

Watts will be responsible for overseeing the water distribution crew, manage the billing offices and water meters, as well as handle EPA paperwork, maintenance issues such as water line breaks and all operations of the water treatment plant.

Watts is currently a Class 3 operator working towards his Class 4 certification.

• Council had third readings to and adopted ordinances 12-83 authorizing and directing the mayor to execute a change order with Fields Excavating for reconstruction work performed for the north Ironton sanitary sewer separation project and declare it an emergency; 12-84 authorizing and directing the mayor to enter into a contract with Ohio University Southern and declare it an emergency; and 12-82 authorizing and directing the mayor to execute an agreement with Doll Layman Ltd., for replacement of the grit collector and bar screen at the wastewater treatment plant and declare it an emergency.

• Council had first reading of ordinance 13-03 authorizing the mayor to award bids for the purchase of chemicals for the year 2013.

• Passed resolution 13-01 authorizing participation in the Lawrence County Shared Services program.

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