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The Daily



07-29-03: Celina adds trailer park

The Daily Standard
    In a complete reversal from a meeting two weeks ago, some Celina City Council members suddenly like trailer parks.
    Three of four dissenting council members changed their opinion Monday night and gave final approval to a 25-acre annexation that adde  a trailer park to Celina.
    The new annexation is to accommodate the construction of a self-storage business on the north side on Ohio 703. Included in the ne  land is Fairview Resort trailer court, owned by Larry Hussey, Celina First Baptist Church and the east half of Lakeview Drive.
    Councilwoman Angie King said before the vote that a problem property on Lisle Street has been cleaned, and she now supports the annexation on Ohio 703 east of Celina.
    Hussey owns property on Lisle Street that was declared a public nuisance by the Mercer County/Celina City Health Department.
    Councilman Denny Smith said the trailer court on the south side of Ohio 703 is prime development land. The main problem there is vacant trailers, he said.
    Two weeks ago, council members cited the unkempt appearance of Fairview Resort as a reason not to support the annexation.
    "It would be in the best interests of the city to have that property at the time it does become developed," Smith said. "I too will support the annexation."
    Councilwoman Sharon LaRue also had a change of heart, after talking to both Hussey and the owner of the planned self-storage business.
    LaRue publicly apologized for her comments about Hussey last month, when she said: "If this gentleman had been cooperating in the past ... I might be a little more forgiving,"
    LaRue said Hussey has been cooperating with orders and assured her that he will continue to work with the city.
    Councilman Ron Hammons stood firm on his disapproval of the annexation, and was the only "no" vote when the council passed the ordinance Monday night.
    Hammons said Hussey had many chances to address the council in person about their concerns, but did not.
    Also in discussion Monday, the council expressed reservations about allowing Wabash Com-munications Inc. to install high-speed Internet access antennas on the city's water towers. In exchange for the access, Bright.net would give the city 15 wireless Internet connections, We  hosting and e-mail free.
    Celina Auditor Pat Smith and several council members had concerns about the contract. Smith said the city may be required to pay property tax on the towers if they are used commercially. Members also questioned contract terms stating Celina pays all utility costs and Bright.net can sublet the tower space.
    Members set a utilities committee meeting for noon Wednesday to discuss the offer.
    Greg Slone, General Manager of Amp-Ohio Inc., offered to help the city administrate a natural gas aggregation plan if the idea is supported by city voters.
    Similar to actions taken in Minster, St. Marys and dozens of other communities in Ohio, Celina has the option of setting up an opt-out gas aggregation plan.
    The process begins with voters deciding whether to allow city government to negotiate natural gas prices on behalf of residents, "with the express purpose of negotiating lower rates with suppliers," Slone said Monday.
    If voters give the go-ahead, Celina can seek a deal on natural gas with the help of Amp-Ohio. Amp-Ohio is an organization that represents municipalities that provide utilities for their residents.
    Ideally, the rates would be lower than an individual could get because of the size of the negotiating pool.
    Dominion East Ohio will remain the area's gas company regardless of the aggregation plan. New state law allows residents to negotiate a cheaper gas supply cost, while the existing companies have to provide the delivery service.
    Council members did not discuss the issue much Monday after the presentation by Slone. Safety-Service Director Mike Sovinski said he will be bringing an ordinance to begin the program next meeting.
    In other business, council members:
    - Passed a Fourth Ward sidewalk repair ordinance as an emergency. The ordinance directs a list of property owners with damaged sidewalks to repair the damage, or a city contractor will. The bill to property owners totals $37,500.
    - Passed an ordinance appropriating $51,429 to purchase new turn-out gear for the Celina Fire Department. The fire department secured a grant for $46,286 to buy new gear and the city added $5,143 as required matching funds. Sovinski said the fire department tried for three years to get this grant, which will buy 26 complete sets of response gear, "from the boots to the helmet."
    - Passed an emergency ordinance spending $80,000 to clean the east Jefferson water tower and repair a broken overflow valve in the tower. This project has been on the city's to-do list for several years.


Phone: (419)586-2371,   Fax: (419)586-6271
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The Standard Printing Company
P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822