Fireworks erupt at Vandalia council meeting

VANDALIA — Fireworks weren’t on the agenda at Tuesday night’s Vandalia City Council meeting, but comments by resident Jack Froschauer sparked fireworks of their own between him and Councilman Dave Gerhard.

Froschauer was critical of council receiving just one bid on recent items including police vehicles despite the city’s efforts to get more than one bid. In the case of the police vehicles, bid packets were hand delivered to five dealerships in the city limits and mailed to other dealerships that have requested them. That wasn’t good enough for Froschauer.

“I can’t believe people won’t submit a bid,” said Froschauer. “Tonight there was discussion of a firewall – is there only one company? I didn’t hear anybody ask that.”

“I don’t disagree with you that the bids we receive are not numerous,” said Mayor Arlene Setzer. “There are reasons they are the way they are.”

Gerhard took issue with Froschauer questioning how the council spends tax dollars.

“Your comments are good, but they are off base on how we spend tax dollars,” he said. “To imply that we don’t discuss things is way off base. If we send out five bid packets and only receive one back that’s not our fault.”

Froschauer then stormed out of the meeting as he told Gerhard to “go ahead and do it the way you’ve always done it.”

Full video of the meeting can be found here:

At the end of the meeting, Setzer explained that the televised council meeting is not the first time items are discussed. She said legislation is discussed at both workshop meetings prior to business meetings as well as at longer meetings called retreats – all open to the public.

Council will hold its next retreat on Saturday, Jan. 14 from 8 a.m. to noon in the community room at the Vandalia Justice Center.

When they got around to business items, council took the first steps toward the development of an office park at the former site of Morton Middle School on National Road Tuesday night.

The site has been undergoing a due diligence period since a purchase contract was approved in June with YOLO Development.

Tuesday’s action re-plats the site at 203 and 231 W. National Road into four parcels from the previous six.

According to draft minutes from the Vandalia Planning Commission meeting on Dec. 27, phase one of the development will include three buildings fronting National Road projected to house medical and/or dental offices.

The developer states in their proposal that the property would be limited to uses that include administrative, business or professional offices, professional services, daycare, retail, hotel, and multi-family residences. However, all multi-family, hotel, or retail combined would be limited to approximately 30% of the overall acreage of the site, or about three acres.

The developer indicated that they have a couple of tenants already and wanted to get started on the project.

Vandalia fire officials have expressed some concerns about landscaping islands as it pertains to turning radius for fire apparatus. Vandalia Planner Amber Holloway said that they would be meeting with the developer in the next couple of weeks to iron out those issues.

In other business, council authorized City Manager Jon Crusey to enter into an updated county-wide mutual aid agreement with other jurisdictions in Montgomery County. The current agreement has been in effect since 1989 and includes approximately 75 law enforcement agencies across 11 counties and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The update does not contain any substantive changes according to Crusey.

Council also approved the hiring of LBJ, Inc. for the design work for the resurfacing of Airport Access Road at a cost not to exceed $49,947.66 as the most qualified firm for the project. LBJ, Inc. has already completed design work for the bridge deck repairs.

The resurfacing is scheduled to take place in Ohio fiscal year 2018. Vandalia will be receiving federal funds to assist in financing the project and has submitted a grant application for the bridge deck repairs.

Finally, council tabled a variance request from Beau Townsend Ford to allow its three non-conforming free standing signs while the dealership brings its wall signage into compliance with the city’s Zoning Code.

During his report, Crusey said that the Vandalia Parks and Recreation and Public Works Departments are offering Vandalia residents free recycling of their Christmas trees. Residents can drop off their trees at the Sports Complex beginning December 26 and ending January 20. Regular curb service for disposal of trees will begin the first week of January.

Crusey also noted that city offices will be closed on Monday, January 16 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The second City Council meeting in January will be held on Tuesday, January 17 at 7 p.m. A study session will be held prior to the meeting at a time to be anounced.

All meetings are open to the public.

Former Morton site to get offices

By Darrell Wacker

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