NEW FRANKLIN  City officials hope to have a new service garage constructed at the New Franklin Park Civic Center before winter strikes.

During the Sept. 5 City Council meeting, council approved an agreement for the building with Hiner’s Design for $32,300.

Mayor Paul Adamson said the current garage near the Tudor House is in bad shape.

"The best thing I can say about it is that it is still standing," Adamson said.

The new 24- by 30-foot garage is expected to have a pressed wood finish to help it blend in with the surroundings, including the Tudor House. Adamson said Hiner’s has done drywall work for the city before, which the city was pleased with.

"We just didn’t want to throw up a structure," Adamson said.

Making the garage blend in, Adamson said, was important. The city had $25,000 set aside for a future pavilion in the park, which the city has decided not to move forward at this time. That money will be used toward the new garage.

The new garage is expected to be used to house mowers and other related maintenance equipment, as well as storage for outdoor furniture during the winter months.

In other business Sept. 5, council:

- Approved to retain Kevin Noble, P.E., for engineering services for the city. Councilman Jim Cotts said Noble has worked for the city for about 10 or 11 years now and has done a great job. Noble will continue working for the city at his current rate with no increase.

- Approved confirming the positions of assistant fire chief, deputy service director and police caption as being division heads and unclassified administrative positions.

- Approved an agreement with Group & Pension Administrators to act as third party administrators as specialty pharmacy vendor for New Franklin’s self-insurance plan. The plan is expected to save the city some money and there was unanimous support from the department heads and union representatives for the plan. 

- Approved a resolution for bridge inspection services including but not limited to bridge load rating calculations, scour assessments, bridge inspections and fracture critical plan development. Adamson said the city inherited 11 bridges the county used to be responsible for. In Ohio, a bridge is anything longer than 10 feet compared to the national standard of 20 feet or longer. He said the ones inherited are not in the best of shape. Ohio law requires the bridges be inspected once per-year. The city will be working with ODOT, which has a program to inspect them at their cost. The inspections are expected to begin next year.

- Discussed to enter into an agreement with the city of Green to create a regional council of governments for the purpose of sharing services and to create a shared public safety dispatch center. Adamson said he hopes council will take some time with this piece of legislation, which Green will also be discussing. New Franklin is a primary dispatch center as the calls come straight to the city and then to the first responders. The state is requiring new equipment for centers to remain primary, which would raise the operating cost from $360,000 to about $460,000. Adamson said he talked with Green about sharing a center and the cost. If approved, the only change that would be made is the location, as all the current staff would remain in place.

- Heard from Councilwoman Judy Jones about a follow up to the recycling discussion at the last council meeting. She said many people are confused on what they should and should not recycle. She would like to see some literature sent out by Republic Waste to help people better understand what to recycle. Adamson said the city will also be putting some information on what should and shouldn’t be recycled on the city’s website.

- Heard from resident Don Wright about concerns he has with his neighbor. Wright has a fence on the property line and would like to paint the other side of the fence, which faces the neighbor’s yard. He said when he has gone over to paint the other side, his neighbor has been trying to have him arrested for trespassing. Adamson said the city’s zoning code allows fences to be placed on the property line and the fence owner can go over onto the neighbor’s property to maintain it with permission. Adamson said this is the second issue in the city this year where the police have had to get involved. He said he talked with the other neighbor and there have been some issues between the two parties over the years. Adamson is going to continue looking into the issue.

- Approved to not hold a hearing for a liquor permit for the Prime Vine.

- Heard from Adamson that there will be some public meetings early next year about the sanitary sewer projects planned.

- Heard from Cotts who said he has read about neighboring communities having concerns with short term rental homes. He would like the city to look into a plan for the issue.

- Entered executive session for collective bargaining with no action taken.

The next New Franklin Council meeting is set to begin immediately following the committee meetings, which are scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 19 at New Franklin City Hall.