No parking meters in Ironton

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 26, 2022

Council renders ordinance ‘dead’

At Thursday’s Ironton City Council meeting, an ordinance to put in parking meters and to tie the city tax rates to the cost of living index were reconsidered and are now “dead” after they failed to get enough votes to continue them.

Councilman Bob Cleary called for reconsideration of Ordinance 22-11, which would have had the city take out a $680,000 loan to lease parking meters for the city to help alleviate Ironton’s parking problem. The ordinance had passed at the March 10 meeting, but a funding solution resolution was to be voted on in the future. Without enough votes to support going forward with the resolution, the reconsidered ordinance is now “dead,” but could be brought back for discussion at a later time if the council chooses to.

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Also “dead,” is Ordinance 22-13, which would have tied city usage rates, fees and permit charges to the federal Consumer Price Index and would make those charges go up, down or stay the same with the CPI.

The first adjustment was scheduled for July 1 and would be adjusted every year. The goal was that, rather than have to make $5 or $10 increases to the charges every couple of years, it would go up in small increments making it easier for residents and businesses to adjust to.

Councilman Craig Harvey said he would continue to advocate adjusting the city’s budget to the CPI.

“Last meeting, our legislation passed unanimously and tonight, it got reconsidered,” he said. “A year from now we are going to come back and whammy everyone with a $10 increase rather than do it incrementally. Inflation is the buzzword these days and we are doing nothing about it.”

Vice Mayor Chris Haney told Harvey that he doesn’t disagree with him on the issue, but felt he didn’t do enough homework on it and wasn’t comfortable that this year’s increase would have been 7.5 percent.

“I am willing to work with you however I can to make this happen, but I want to make it feasible,” he said.

Harvey said he didn’t want to keep “kicking the can down the road” on the issue and was willing to work on a compromise, but expense changes, like the price of gasoline, for example, was affecting all departments and all budgets.

The council scheduled a meeting with the county commissioners on Monday to discuss putting the jail in the former Open Door School building.

Residents around the site have expressed their unhappiness about having a jail in their neighborhood. But the issue at hand is that the county owns that property. The council can discuss the issue with the commissioners but have no real say over the county’s use of their own property.

Mayor Sam Cramblit had extended an invitation to the commissioners to attend a council meeting to discuss the jail location, but the commissioners turned down the invitation for fear that having the commissioners at a council meeting would violate Ohio’s Open Meetings Act, which covers how many public officials meet to discuss public business. They cannot have the majority of their board at a public meeting, such as a council meeting, without giving public notice. So, in this case, since there are three commissioners, only one can attend the meeting, since if two members showed up it would be a majority and thus subject to the Open Meetings Act.

But by calling for a joint meeting between commissioners and council, it doesn’t violate the act and they can talk. The meeting is set for 6 p.m. on Monday so the council members who have day jobs can attend the meeting.

The council members hope to find a different location in town that isn’t in a residential neighborhood.

Besides the reconsidered ordinances, the council voted to set up a new fund for the money from the opioid settlement that city will be receiving, set up a schedule for retaining records and applied to the Ohio

Department of Natural Resources Clean Ohio Trails and Recreational Trails programs for grants to build trails from the Gateway Centre to downtown Vernon Street and to build one along the old DTI Railroad from the Gateway Centre to Lawrence Street.

The council has a public meeting on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at 6 p.m. in council chambers on the third floor of the City Center.