Nixon: county complaints on building dept. ‘bull’

By Josh Ellerbrock -

LIMA — In a fiery address during Monday night’s Lima City Council meeting, Council President John Nixon called on Allen County commissioners and business leaders to avoid politics, come to the table and reach a solution to diagreements surrounding the Lima Building Department.

“What I haven’t heard other than due diligence, I haven’t heard any specifics, any specific complaints, all I’ve heard is anecdotal. … No facts. No specifics,” Nixon said. “So I find that very frustrating and frankly very unprofessional from our counterparts at the county.”

“It’s Christmas, so I won’t be crude. But I’m calling bull. And if there are specifics, the invitation has been extended. It’s what mature people do when they have issues. They talk about them and find a solution. For the last nine months and beyond, I have not seen or heard solutions,” Nixon said.

Nixon’s remarks refer to recent news of the county continuing to explore options to potentially replace the contract held by the Lima Building Department with a regional expansion of Miami County’s building department.

While other officials have been reticent about mentioning the political underpinnings of the latest controversy, Nixon had few qualms calling out the politics of the issue, naming them the “elephant in the room,” since he has yet to hear specifics or solutions to the any problems.

Politically, the majority of the city’s administration and a number of councilors are Democrats. The entirety of elected county positions are held by Republicans.

“Its not the City of Lima not coming to the table. They want to know how to make this better,” Nixon said. “Ask everyone involved at the table — (Director of Public Works) Howard (Elstro), the Mayor (David Berger), (Chief Building Official) Amy (Harpster). Let’s put service and community first ahead of politics.”

Allen County commissioners have repeatedly said no decisions have officially been made concerning the option, but they are doing their due diligence to find the best building services for county taxpayers.

If the City of Lima were to lose Allen County’s contract to conduct commercial building inspections and plan reviews, the department would lose the majority of its funding — $500,000 — and be forced to cut six employees.

Councilors Todd Gordon, Derry Glenn and Carla Thompson also commented in favor of the city’s building department and called on any concerned Lima citizens to call the Allen County commissioners and voice their opinions.

In related news, City Council also:

• Passed an ordinance establishing a fund that could better track information technology expenditures.

• Moved forward plans to rebid the city’s mowing contract in order to cut down on excessive grass clippings in specified lots.

• Entered into a contract with Frost Brown Todd, LLC, a specialized professional legal service, to consult the city’s building department.

By Josh Ellerbrock

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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