Council to study gun range regulations

By Darrell Wacker -

VANDALIA — The Vandalia City Council enacted a six-month moratorium on any new shooting ranges or permits to discharge firearms in the city as it takes under consideration shooting range regulations.

The move comes a month after the Miami Valley Shooting Grounds (MVSG) had its permit revoked after an investigation found the range was in violation of its permit. MVSG did not appeal that revocation but has since filed for two new permits, one for the indoor shooting range and another for the inside shooting range. Those applications are still pending according to City Manager Jon Crusey.

Monday’s action by council does not affect either permit since the moratorium was put in place after the applications were submitted.

Crusey made the recommendation for a moratorium after including what was termed a “very rough draft” of a shooting range ordinance on council’s study session on Monday. The draft was based on state rules for much of its provisions.

The city does not currently have any regulations regarding shooting ranges.

Council also approved the first reading of the city’s 2018 budget. That budget includes a general fund appropriation of $24.269 million, $2.9 million in the Police-Fire-Street capital improvement fund, and just under $950,ooo in the city’s general capital improvement fund.

Changes from 2017 highlighted by Crusey were:

  • Elimination of compensatory time payout for salaried employees and converting that earned time to flexible time off (flex time);
  • The addition of three full-time firefighter and paramdedic positions while elminating three part-time positions
  • Adding $5,000 to the Park Maintenance capital (Art Park) budget for 2018 for a total of $10,000;
  • Adding $80,000 to Golf Maintenance capital budget for a total amount of $130,000 while eliminating $50,000 from the same fund in 2019 and 2020.

The budget was discussed in detail during three budget review sessions in October. Council Member Bob Ahlers praised the process.

“I want to compliment Jon and his staff on the process to discuss the 2018 budget,” he said. “It was very detailed and organized material.”

Council also amended the Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual. Changes included the compensatory time payout mentioned above, as well as changes to vacation payout, fitness program for the chief and captains in the Division of Fire, removal of the position Public Works Leader, and the addition/removal of some positions that receive no overtime compensation.

In other action, council:

  • Appointed Jimmie R. Geaslan to the Housing/Property Maintenance Code Board of Appeals;
  • Approved an ordinance in its first reading that rezoned the Village Square Center along Helke Road from Residential Single Family (RSF-4) to Neighborhood Business (NB);
  • Approved an ordinance in its first reading that would allow the Village Square Center to have its Planned Unit Development (PUD) ammended to allow for an increased number of land uses;
  • Approved a second reading of an ordinance that will allow the Flying J Travel Plaza to build a guard shack to increase security.

Council tabled proposed changes in the city’s water, sewer, and storm sewer late fees. Residential and commercial accounts will now see a 15% delinquent charge after the 15th business day of the month. Deposits will only be collected on residential properties for rental properties.

Metered accounts would have a $35 fee once they are placed on the shut off list and a $25 turn-on fee. Unmetered accounts will have a $15 delinquent fee and accounts must be in the name of the owner, not the tenant.

Water and sewer credits will be given for water leaks and the filling of swimming pools.

The proposed changes will be discussed further at council’s November 20 meeting.

That meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the council chambers. A study session will be held prior to the meeting at a time to be determined. Both meetings are open to the public.

By Darrell Wacker

Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.

Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.