London City Council convened for its last meeting of 2018, and for the last time ever at the 6 E. Second Street location Thursday evening. The next scheduled meeting (and the first of the new year) will take place in the council chambers at the new and improved city hall located in what was formerly the London Primary School building at 20 S. Walnut St.
The East Second Street building was put up for sale and received three bids, according to Mayor Pat Closser. The building sold to Matt Yerkes, currently of Grove City, for the price of $65,000 (considerably higher than the other two bids), the mayor said.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Yerkes has been or is currently associated with a number of business ventures, including Cultivate, of which he is the founder. Cultivate is a small business incubator and co-working space with resources to help entrepreneurs and small business owners launch and grow their businesses, his profile read. Yerkes is also the owner of Quick Square Consulting, LLC, which provides web strategy and development for client websites and online marketing, it listed.
Henry Comer expressed concerns with Resolution 181-18 which was on the agenda for its fifth reading. Resolution 181-18, which was sponsored by Comer, would allow for the assessment of fines to those owners who habitually had vacancies in their buildings. He questioned if Paul Oswalt, the person responsible for inspection and code enforcement — and whom only works 10 hours a week for the city — would actually be successful on such limited time without costing the taxpayers by creating more hours for the position or by hiring an additional person to do the inspection work.
Comer went on to suggest that council might possibly look into something more along the lines of economic development or incentives, such as a “50/50” match between the city and building owners for such things as lighting or painting, he said. “Penalizing isn’t necessarily going to help,” he said.
Resolution 181-18 effectively died when council voted unanimously against it.
Councilman Anthony Smith mentioned that he had been working with the Board of Public Utilities, particularly its newest member, Steve Skaggs, and Rumpke regarding the outsourcing of trash pickup. He was hopeful to find a cost savings for the city and have a proposal on the May ballot for citizens to decide if they want to stay with the current system (and department) or not.
The following pieces of legislation were unanimously passed on emergency:
• An ordinance essentially amending a three percent raise to keep the city competitive with similarly sized municipalities
• An ordinance which allows for the change of sites for council meetings
• Resolution authorizing the Safety-Service Director to enter into a collective bargaining agreement between the City of London and the London Firefighters Local 3509 (the new three-year contracts for firefighters)
• A resolution authorizing the moving of $60,000 from fire department’s salary line to a different line miscellaneous expenditures)
The mayor thanked everyone who contributed to making the Shop with a Cop program a success this year. He also thanked fifth-grade student, Tessa Cavey and the Power 380 Leadership Group for their efforts in spearheading the elementary students into a toy drive so that “all the kids woke up with presents under the tree on Christmas morning” before wishing all of London a merry Christmas and happy New Year.