Wrap-up: Council moves on disaster plan, more

Valerie Urbanik | Oberlin News-Tribune

City council members discuss upgraded the chamber’s sound equipment.

Valerie Urbanik | Oberlin News-Tribune

City council members discuss upgraded the chamber’s sound equipment.


Valerie Urbanik | Oberlin News-Tribune

City council members discuss upgraded the chamber’s sound equipment.

City council unanimously approved four ordinances and a resolution Monday.

Oberlin legislators moved forward with adoption of a Federal Emergency Management Agency-approved Lorain County Multi-jurisdictional Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan.

It is expected to help the county reduce damages caused by natural disasters, educate residents about insurance covering the cost of losses due to storms, have shelters available during severe storms, improve country roads that decrease flooding, enhance communication between first responders, and create a plan for operations to protect residents during storms.

Councilman Bryan Burgess said he’s interested to see how the city’s storm water utility plan aligns with the county’s because he believes a lot of city issues come from outside Oberlin’s limits.

In other votes:

• Council clerk Belinda Anderson received a $5,000 pay increase.

• A $180,350 contract with SoundCom Systems was approved to upgrade cameras and sound equipment in city council chambers, which doubles as the Oberlin Municipal Court.

Judge Thomas Januzzi has agreed to share the cost to install two high definition projectors, monitors outside the chambers, a document camera, three cameras in the ceiling, 15 microphones, a video conferencing device, cable connections, and an assisted listening device.

City manager Eric Norenberg said the city will need to complete $15,000 to 20,000 of upgrades to the room including installing a closet to house all the equipment and wiring.

“The only major hurdle we came across was the judges need to have this open during all business hours,” Burgess said.

Workers are expected to install the new upgrades from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily so they do not interrupt Januzzi’s hearings.

• Council members waived a $50 fee for temporary shelters used by churches to offer food and other items to people in need.

Norenberg said a few churches have paid the fee and others have not. “We will refund the $50 fee to the churches that paid earlier this year,” he said.

• Two proposed property tax levies are being forwarded to the county auditor to see how much they will generate if placed on the ballot.

Oberlin’s general fund and garbage collection levies expire at the end of this year but generate cash through June 2016.

The 1.2-mill general fund levy generates $137,050 and the three-mill refuse fund levy generates $342,625 annually.

Finance director Sal Talarico said the decision to send information to the county auditor does not put either levy on the ballot. The city could renew, replace, or renew and increase the levies but Talarico would request a renewal.

Renewing the two levies will result in a 10 percent tax rollback from the state and a 2.5 percent rollback for owners occupying a home they own.

“It’ll likely generate the same amount,” he said.

If adopted, the levies are expected to cost residents $37 and $92 per year for every $100,000 worth of property they own.

• Council members discussed where proposed ordinances should be posted around town.

Law director Jon Clark recommended they be posted at city hall, the post office, and Oberlin Public Library.

Burgess said he’s interested in having the ordinances put on the city’s website.

This matter will discussed further on second reading at council’s next meeting at 7 p.m. Sept. 8.

Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.