The Washington Times-Herald

February 13, 2013

Wellman: 'a lot going on' in the city

Washington Times Herald

WASHINGTON — With little on the agenda for Monday night’s Washington City Council meeting, Mayor Joe Wellman gave an update on recent and ongoing activities occurring in the city.

“There’s been a lot going on,” he said..”There’s no shortage of things happening in the city.”

The mayor said eight new or expanding businesses have had or are having ribbon cuttings.

“It’s been really gratifying … seeing some economic activity in the community,” Wellman said.

He said this is a busy time for working on the Stellar Grant application, with meetings and citizen focus groups.

“We’re working diligently last week, this week and next week on that,” he said.

In addition, the Redevelopment Commission has been meeting in reference to development on the city’s east side.

There was some discussion about creating a crosswalk in front of North Elementary School, which Councilman Mike Singleton had suggested at the last council meeting. Wellman was uncertain if the city could do that since the road is a state highway. He said he, Washington Police Chief Mike Healy and Street Commissioner Ernie Evans will look at it the area and look into the matter to determine if it’s safe to put a crosswalk there.

Council President Joe Fleck thanked the new code enforcement officer for his work and for keeping him up to date. Councilman Jerry Sidebottom requested a monthly report of the blighted-property problems being addressed by the building commissioner’s office and asked about the status of burned houses.

Sidebottom also mentioned that in attending other city’s meetings he noticed many of them have city flags. He suggested one for the city of Washington and further recommended getting input from citizens about what it should look like.

“I think the city of Washington needs a flag, and I think it oughta come from the people,” he said.

The council decided it would be a wonderful thing to have by the city’s 200th anniversary in 2016.

Following the council meeting, the Board of Public Works and Safety met and approved the annual closing of streets for the Washington Catholic Community ‘s Summer Social. On June 1 -2, N.E. Second Street will be closed between Hefron and Flora streets, and Hefron Street will be closed between N.E. First and Second streets.

The board also approved an amendment to the city’s utility write-off policy.

“This year and next year we’ll do two years’ write-offs,” said Washington Municipal Utilities Office Manager Anita Ash. “We’ll do one year after that.”

She explained that when people are delinquent and can’t be located, they can’t be taken to Small Claims Court. Currently, Ash said, she has a list of delinquent accounts dating from 2006 and 2007, as well as lists of bankruptcies and deceased people with no estate. The amount totaled $132,000.

“It seems like a lot, but when you look at the numbers, we’re really doing pretty good,” she said. “That’s less than 1 percent of what we bill.”

In other business, the board approved a right-of-way services agreement with Bernardin Lochmueller & Associates that allows them to hire appraisers for the intersection relocation project on the east side.