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Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio

By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter

MOUNT VERNON — Monday's City Council meeting was relatively brief, with only a few items on the agenda.

Council passed legislation changing the zoning for 1199 Newark Road from R3 residential to General Business. The Wooster-based Smetzer's Tire Service plans to build and operate a tire sales and service outlet on the 4.49-acre parcel.

The measure passed as an emergency, with council waiving the required three readings. Councilman John Booth noted that council usually does not pass rezoning measures as emergencies. Councilwoman Nancy Vail, chairwoman of the city's Planning and Zoning Committee, said she usually supports three readings for rezoning.

In this case, however, Smetzer's Tire, the administration and the city engineering department requested the fast track so that Smetzer's Tire can put the project out to bid and get construction started and completed in a timely manner. She also noted there has been no opposition to the rezoning, either from residents, the Municipal Planning Commission or public participation at a public hearing on the issue held March 27.

Council also fast-tracked an ordinance setting the wage of the newly hired court security officer at $18 an hour. Mayor Richard Mavis swore in Officer Thomas Brown as an auxiliary police officer on Thursday. A resident of Newark, Brown formerly was part of the court security detail for the Ohio Supreme Court.

Council approved four financial measures authorizing the payment of bills, transfers among accounts, participation in the Ohio Department of Transportation's co-operative purchasing program for road salt, and appropriation of money.

Of the $40,250 in appropriations, $33,000 was transferred among accounts. The remaining $7,250 is from Ariel Corp. for the city's annual fireworks display. The Chinese fireworks manufacturer raised the price, so Ariel Corp. increased its donation from $5,000 to $7,250 to cover the additional cost.

The final two pieces of legislation council dealt with included a second reading on the annexation of 3.249 acres from Clinton Township and emergency passage of an ordinance setting the number and wages of seasonal recreation personnel.

Mavis reminded residents not to throw away correspondence from the city as it contains information about the recent water and wastewater increases. Along with increased rates, the billing cycle will change to monthly.

Law Director Rob Broeren reminded council and the public of the funeral for former Sheriff David Barber on Tuesday. Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Glenn A. Gallagher Centre, 1451 Gambier Road. A service will follow at 7 p.m.

Councilman Sam Barone said that an educational session on home rule, also referred to as charter government, is set for Tuesday, May 16, at 7 p.m. in council chambers. Noting that it has been an interest of his for awhile, Barone said that 75 percent of cities have become home rule cities. Following a meeting last fall among local and political leaders, the consensus was that council and the community should at the least become educated on the issue.

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