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Bidding requirement change ordinance dies

Ironton City Council took no action Thursday on an ordinance that would have lowered the city’s bidding requirement from $25,000 to $5,000.

Council heard the third reading of the proposed law during its regular meeting, but when no recommendation was made to adopt it, council did not vote and the measure died.

Mayor Rich Blankenship, who had opposed the proposed ordinance, said he was glad it was not adopted.

“I don’t see the need for that change,” he said after the meeting. “There’s nothing wrong with that ordinance.”

Blankenship had argued that lowering the bidding requirement would tie the administration’s hands and cause increased costs and delays in progress.

Council first heard the ordinance at its Nov. 8 meeting. Councilmen Dave Frazer, Bob Cleary, Frank Murphy and Councilwoman Beth Rist sponsored the ordinance, which was debated at a meeting of the finance committee Nov. 18.

During the finance committee meeting, several city department heads including Police Chief Jim Carey, Fire Chief Tom Runyon, Waste Water Superintendent John Haskins, Recreation Director Brett Thomas spoke in opposition of the bidding requirement change.

At Blankenship’s request, the department leaders were in attendance at Thursday’s meeting as well, though none of them addressed council.

“This directly affects their departments,” Blankenship said. “I think if it’s not broke don’t fix it.”

Frazer, who had argued that the ordinance would give council more control over the city’s purse strings and could save money, said after the meeting he had not changed his mind about the ordinance, but did not think it would pass Thursday. Cleary, who had spoke in favor of the ordinance at the Nov. 18 finance committee meeting, was absent.

“It was going to be a 3-3 vote so I had to hold back and rewrite it,” Frazer said.

Frazer stopped short of saying what changes he wants to make to the proposed ordinance but said he intends to present it to council again in the future.

Also during the meeting, Blankenship told council that the city has been approved for federal funding for a riverfront rehabilitation project.

Blankenship said the city would have to match the funding at 35 percent, but he is not sure yet how much that will be.

In other business, the Ironton City Council also:

• Passed an ordinance changing the city’s utility installation fee from a $250 refundable fee to a $100 nonrefundable fee.

• Passed an ordinance allowing Blankenship to enter into an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation for the purpose of the Ironton Traffic Signal Improvements project. The project is underway and is in the design stages, Blankenship said. Construction is scheduled to start sometime in 2011, he said.

• Rescheduled the regular meeting planned for Dec. 23 for Dec. 20 and the Jan. 13, 2011 meeting for Jan. 11.

• Amended the annual operating budget for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2010.

• Heard the second reading of an ordinance to vacate Salt Alley.

• Passed a resolution of authorization to apply for funding through the State of Ohio NatureWorks Program.