MOUNT VERNON — Sara Pifer was honored at Monday’s City Council meeting for her years of service to the Mount Vernon Parking Co. Pifer served as secretary of the company for 22 years.
John Holley, Mount Vernon, spoke to council about a project to fund an honor flight from Knox County. Honor Flight is a nationwide program that transports World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., so they can view the memorial built in their honor. The trip will include a visit to other service memorials as well.
Meals and transportation are provided at no charge to the veterans. According to Holley, it costs $13,000 to fund a flight, which includes 30 to 35 veterans, depending on their medical needs. As of Monday, $2,891 has been collected since the campaign started two weeks ago.
Guardians traveling with a veteran will pay their own way, which costs about $200.
Donations can be made online at honorflightcolumbus.org, or via cash or check dropped off at WMVO Radio on Upper Gilchrist Road. Note Knox County when paying by check or online; checks should be made payable to Honor Flight Columbus.
Holley said 535 veterans made the trip last year through Honor Flight Columbus. Any veteran who would like to take the flight is encouraged to call Holley at 392-4593.
In legislative business, council:
•Authorized payment of bills, including $5,750 to R.T. Excavating for demolition costs of a building on McKinley Street. The city will attempt to recoup the cost by applying it to the property owner’s taxes, or through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Auditor Terry Scott said the city recouped $4,850 from a previous demolition by applying it to taxes.
•Appropriated $40,709.15 the city received as part of an interest rebate program through use of Build America Bonds, and $299,865 received from the Clean Ohio Assistance Fund to be used for a cleanup assessment of the former American National Can property.
•Gave first reading to a resolution authorizing the safety-service director to enter into a lease agreement with Open Range Communication to locate communication equipment on the east end high service water tower. More information will be provided to council at its next meeting.
•Heard about a liquor license transfer request from King Garden restaurant on Coshocton Avenue to Wangs China Buffet Corp., and a new liquor license request from the Ohio Eastern Star Home on Gambier Road. The request from OESH is for serving alcohol on the premises only.
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis said he had a visit from two Mansfield women about ESOP — Empowering and Strengthening Ohio People. ESOP is a free service that teaches people how to save their homes from foreclosure. Mavis invited the women to speak at the next council meeting.
He also said that after investigation, the bow-string truss bridge at Foundation Park is of more historical significance than originally thought. The Ohio Department of Transportation has invited the city to submit an application for funding to repair the bridge and re-erect it at Foundation Park. Work will include abutments, and pillars in the middle and steel I-beams for support. May 1 is the application deadline; money would be allocated in late 2010, with work expected to start in 2012.
April will be the first month residents participating in the city’s natural gas aggregate program will see a higher bill. Mavis said the city will have a four-month trial period to determine whether the city should lock into a specific rate per cubic foot, or whether to stay with a flex rate.
Councilwoman Rebecca Jordan reminded residents spring cleaning is a good time to install house numbers and check smoke detectors.
Regarding signage, Councilman Mike Hillier said he has been questioned by several merchants as to whether some signs are in compliance with signage regulations. It was noted no signs are to be posted to utility poles.
Hillier also asked Scott if he would provide a monthly overview as to the status of the budget, including such information as to whether and what revenue and expense is coming in over or under projections.
Councilman Bruce Hawkins agreed with that suggestion, noting that about 25 percent of 2010 income should have been received through March. He said the number is close to projections at 23 percent.
Hawkins also spoke about the geocaching grant received by the Knox County Park District. He participated in a recent geocaching activity sponsored by the KCPD, and encouraged families, Scouts or other groups to participate. More information can be found at geocaching.com.
Councilman Chuck Dice requested steps be taken to begin the process to change the designated U.S. 36 route from High Street to Chestnut Street. He said council has talked about it for quite a while, with nothing being done. Council agreed public input is needed before any final decision is made.