By KATHRYNE RUBRIGHT
Staff Writer

The City of Findlay and Findlay City Schools may share the cost of hiring six to 10 police officers to station in school buildings, Mayor Lydia Mihalik told City Council Tuesday evening.

Mihalik and school Superintendent Ed Kurt have been discussing a collaborative security approach by the city and school district.

“There is a lot still yet to be decided,” Mihalik said.

No plan has been finalized, and the school board has not yet discussed a specific plan publicly.

At a May school board meeting, Kurt and school board member Matt Cooper said the district has continued to discuss school security following a community meeting on the subject in March.

“What Ed (Kurt) and the school board apparently would like to do is a multi-pronged approach,” Mihalik said Tuesday, including up-to-date security systems, such as video surveillance in buildings and buses; in-school mental health clinicians; and hiring six to 10 officers for school buildings.

“This is obviously something, from the school district’s perspective, that they’re going to want to seek a levy for,” Mihalik said.

In May, Kurt said a levy for security was a possibility. The school district already is in an operating deficit, and spending about $200,000 annually from the general fund on security personnel, he said.

If hired, the additional police officers would benefit the city outside of the school year, Mihalik said.

“I honestly think that with additional officers, it puts us in a more proactive position as opposed to reactive on a lot of different fronts — community policing, drugs, crime, etc.,” she said.

Separately Tuesday, council tabled an ordinance to vacate parts of two never-constructed streets, Carrol and Benton streets. The right of way for these streets connects to Hawthorne Road. The ordinance has had two readings.

Matthias Leguire, of 830 E. Sandusky St., spoke in opposition to vacating Carrol and Benton.

He said he uses them to access the rear of his property, because East Sandusky Street “gets extremely busy, so busy that it becomes unsafe to pull in and out of our driveway at times.”

Councilwoman Holly Frische, R-1, agreed that “exiting onto Sandusky Street, that’s a hot mess.” She visited the property around 5 p.m. on a weekday.

Councilman Tim Watson, R-7, said he also has visited Leguire’s property and had difficulty exiting.

The alternate access is also useful when parts of Sandusky Street are underwater during floods, Leguire said.

He also said if he were to build a mother-in-law suite or a future home toward the back of his property, he would prefer not to access it from Sandusky Street because of the length of the driveway and flooding issues.

Neighborhood residents Greg Mohr and Chris Neely had emailed council in support of vacating Carrol Street and part of Benton Street.

The roads are unimproved, and part of Carrol Street comes near homes on Hawthorne Road, they said.

“We do not want cars to be driven on this grassy right of way as our children and pets play in this area,” they wrote.

“I think it is important for parents to watch their children and educate them on the dangers of playing in the street, whether or not it is improved,” Leguire said. He said he drives safely “and the fear for children’s safety is unfounded.”

Leguire asked that the council members who requested the legislation to vacate the streets reverse that decision.

The ordinance states that five council members “have requested legislation” but does not name them.

“It surprised me that five council members are asking for legislation, and so I guess I think Mr. Leguire is owed an explanation from each of the council members,” Frische said.

Watson said he did not know why the streets should be vacated, and noted there are “two very, very large trees” that would become a property owner’s responsibility.

“I don’t recollect exactly how all of this transpired,” said Councilman Dennis Hellmann, R-2, adding he’d have to look back at notes.

“If memory serves me right, it seems as though it was a way to clean up that area in terms of public right of way… I mean, these are paper streets. They aren’t paved, they aren’t improved, and it was obvious that there was activity back there,” Hellmann said.

After the ordinance was tabled, Councilman John Harrington, R-5, said council needs to hear from others, “especially the petitioners,” at the next meeting.

On a separate issue, Mohr and Neely also wrote that they do not oppose Leguire allowing the grass on his property to grow into a “meadow,” but said “stonger guidelines should be enforced to prevent junk from accumulating.”

Leguire said his boat, wagon and trailers are not junk.

“We maintain our property to my standards, which I base off my communion with the Creator,” he said.

It is up to council to decide whether there should be different rules for large properties to allow taller grass, Mihalik said. She urged council’s planning and zoning committee to have a meeting about the topic.

“Instead of having the whole thing mowed, which by law (the city) could have done, we didn’t. And so we’re waiting on planning and zoning to have a conversation about whether or not you want to have special considerations for large lots,” Mihalik said.

Earlier this year, council passed legislation that said grass and weeds on properties in the city should not be higher than 6 inches.

Separately, Auditor Jim Staschiak said his office will continue handling the “money portion” of workers’ compensation and other duties will move to the city’s human resources department, a change proposed by the mayor.

He has assigned a transition team and expects the transition process to be done within 45 days.

Staschiak and Mihalik both said the change should not require hiring new employees.

The city recently switched its third-party workers’ compensation administrator from CompManagement Health Systems to CareWorksComp.

Staschiak preferred CompManagement, but Mihalik went with CareWorksComp, as the Ohio Municipal League is making the same switch.

Separately, council heard from Mark Collins, who said he can hear loud music from All American Rock House, 1851 Tiffin Ave., at his apartment at 1724 Queenswood Drive.

Collins said complaints about the bar should be believed, noting that the volume might go up for a popular song, and then be lower by the time police arrive.

Three citations for loud music are currently going through Findlay Municipal Court, Mihalik said.

“We’re trying to put some science behind” measuring both noise levels and bass vibrations, she added.

Rubright: 419-427-8417

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Twitter: @kerubright

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