Mason held its first city council meeting of the year last night. Here are the highlights:
The meeting opened with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. Mayor Don Prince recognized Mason High School sophomore Joshua Vonderhaar, who had been selected as the honorary Mason Mayor that day.
Prince noted that Joshua is active in the school marching band, participates in mock trials and will perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City in March with the Mason High School Symphonic Band.
“He was rather quiet,” said Prince of Joshua’s day as mayor.
RECOGNITION OF VISITORS
Kevin Shew of Prestige Fireworks asked council members about funding sources for Mason’s “Red, Rhythm and Boom” event. Mason City Council last month approved suspending the popular summer festival as a way to save money. The action was part of council’s approval of the city’s 2011 budget at its Dec. 13 council meeting.
The move to eliminate the festival happens as city officials are predicting a 4 percent drop in general fund revenues next year. Next year’s general fund budget is down by 5.5 percent from 2010.
“We’re not at all opposed to having an event, but we’re not funding it this year,” said Mayor Don Prince.
“It has nothing to do with our patriotism,” added Council member Char Pelfrey. “It was totally monetary, which does not preclude to say that Mason can celebrate our Independence Day independently.”
- Res. 2011-01 Requesting the County Auditor to make Tax Advances during the year 2011 pursuant to Section 321.34 of the Ohio Revised Code: Unanimously approved
- Ord. 2011-01 Approval of the replat for Lots 25, 26, 29 and 30 of Carmelle Subdivision, Section One: Unanimously approved
- Ord. 2011-02 Approval of the reissuance of Bond Anticipation Notes related to the purchase of the Golf Center at Kings Island: Unanimously approved
- Ord. 2011-03 Authorizing payment in the not to exceed amount of $4,000 to the Warren County Humane Association, a private non-profit organization; Ord. 2011-04 Authorizing payment of $4,000 to the Mason Historical Society, a private non-profit organization; Ord. 2011-05 Authorizing payment of $4,000 to the Mason Area Arts Council, a private non-profit organization: Approved (Council member Rich Cox abstained from voting on payment to the Mason Historical Society, citing membership on the society’s board)Assistant City Manager Jennifer Heft explained that funding to the above groups had been reduced by 50 percent in the city’s 2011 Budget, approved at the Dec. 13 meeting.
- Ord. 2011-06 Authorizing payment of $25,000 to Festivals of Mason, Inc. in support of the 2010 Heritage Festival and Christmas in Mason: Unanimously approvedFunding for Festivals of Mason, Inc. was cut by $25,000 at the council’s Dec. 13 meeting. City Manager Eric Hansen explained that since the city entered into an agreement with Festivals of Mason in 2004, the city has been the major financial backer of the event. The city provides in-kind support, such as police staffing and other labor, but the festival also relies on sponsorships, vendor fees and other revenues.
- Ord. 2011-07 Authorizing Agreement #23879 with the Ohio Department of Transportation for the purpose of constructing the U.S. 42 Improvement Project: Unanimously approved
- Ord. 2011-08 Authorizing a contract with Southeastern Equipment Co., Inc. for the purchase of one (1) 2011 Case Loader in the amount of $138,519: Unanimously approvedHeft noted the city’s current case loader was purchased in 1997 for $91,000. It was expected to last 15 years at the time of purchase. The city has spent $38,000 in repairing the loader, which suffers from rust and corrosion. She noted that by purchasing a new loader now and not in August, the city will save $13,000 on its purchase.
Hansen concluded with the city manager’s report in which he discussed the success of the Mason Hope for the Holidays program, which provided food to 39 local families in need and toys to more than 60 needy children, and the Mason Community Center renovations.
“It’s too early to declare victory, but it’s a very good start, said Prince on the community center.
“I think that these numbers are impressive,” said Council member Christine Shimrock. “I am going to declare a small victory just not for the center but for the city. I am optimistic that we will be able to sustain the success.”
Council then entered into an executive session to discuss personnel matters before adjourning.