Property purchase

Above is a portion of the property the City of Napoleon is considering purchasing near the intersection of Interchange and Commerce drives. Legislation is being drafted to move forward.

Napoleon City Council seems poised to purchase 13 acres of land despite recently discovering it may contain nearly 3 acres of wetlands that would need mitigating.

Council Monday night unanimously approved second reading of legislation to purchase the land after City Manager Joel Mazur recommended moving forward with it.

Mazur told council he discovered the Ohio Department of Transportation expressed interest in the land when a previous owner held possession, and it was found to potentially have wetlands on the property. If that is the case, there are certain measures that need to be taken, including an assessment and cleanup.

It is also believed the former owner allowed ditch dredgings to be discarded on the property.

Initially, the purchase price plus some cleanup work that was known about before came to $130,000. The new expense could be up to $253,000.

This would make the cost per acre $19,500, but Mazur said he still believes that is below market price for industrial property.

“The value of developed land in the city limits, since we have a finite amount of acreage within the city limits, in the long-term it’s better for the city to have this mitigated,” Mazur said.

He added wetlands could spread, and if that happens it would make it less likely in the future for the land to be used.

Mazur also said someone is coming in Thursday to walk the property and analyze it and provide more accurate information as to what might be required.

Council has one more reading before the purchase is finalized, and if more negative information is found it could decide not to move forward.

Council suspended the rules requiring three readings to pass legislation and passed, on second read, making a contribution to the Henry County Agricultural Improvement Association (HCAIA).

The contribution will consist of a maximum $20,000 credit on the electric bill of the Henry County Agricultural Society for four years. This will be used to help fund a proposed new agricultural show arena and community center.

The suspension was used because the group is hoping to apply for grant money for the project and would like to be able to add the contribution to its application. Councilman Dan Baer was the lone dissenting vote on suspension, but joined the unanimous vote of council to pass the legislation.

Baer then made a motion to suspend the rules on another issue, which was to appoint Kevin Garringer as city finance director.

The measure was passed unanimously under suspension of rules, and as an emergency. Garringer will start in the position on Monday.

In other business, council:

Approved second reading of an agreement for economic development between the city, the Henry County Community Improvement Corp. and Keller Logistics. Later, council asked for legislation to be brought to it for a Community Reinvestment Agreement related to the project.

Passed final reading of legislation to sell certain electric assets.

Asked for legislation to be brought to it for a healthcare plan for the next three years. The increase will be 2.49%. For the city, which pays 87.5% of the plan, the increase in costs will amount to $45,000 per year. The option to take the vision or dental plans will remain voluntary, and there are no extra costs to the city for these. A wellness program in which anyone, or their spouse if applicable, does not complete a wellness check by a certain date will be surcharged $50, will become part of the three-year agreement rather than being voted on by council each time.

Learned staff is recommending trick or treat night be held Sunday, Oct. 31. The issue will now go to the Napoleon Parks and Recreation Board.

Learned there continues to be issues with personnel being quarantined due to COVID-19.

Learned a luncheon for emergency responders will be held at the city building Thursday in commemoration of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

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I started at the Northwest Signal in 1994 and became editor in 2004. I graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1994.

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