LIMA — Lima Mayor David Berger and other city officials briefly discussed various projects underway in the city during the mayor’s city focus meeting held Tuesday at the LACNIP Resource Center.
The meeting was held in conjunction with the Boulevard Neighborhood Association meeting.
The meetings are held in an open-type forum to allow residents to ask questions or raise concerns.
Only minor concerns were raised in what was an otherwise positive meeting. Questions were raised about a man possibly living out of his car on the corner of Wayne Street and Central Avenue and of a charge being required to participate in the city’s summer parks program. Police Chief Kevin Martin said he would investigate the homeless claim to offer help if needed.
Berger called the council to task on quickly establishing a new policy for civil service hires.
“This will help stop negative dynamics and will allow us to check out all who qualify,” Berger said. “There is no good reason not to do this.”
Berger added that early plans were being discussed with AEP to replace gooseneck lights with the same two-headed fixtures that have been placed in some areas, such as Bellefontaine Bridge. The project would complete new lighting from Woodlawn to the city limits down Market Street.
Utility Director Gary Sheely said that work on the expansion of the wastewater treatment plant will begin Monday.
In January, the city entered an agreement with the federal Environmental Protection Agency for its long control plan. As part of that plan, the wastewater treatment plant will have its capacity expanded from 53 million gallons per day to 70 million. Estimated cost for the project is $27 million.
Seely said the project will be a great improvement to the Ottawa River. He added that work on the removal of 18 sewer overflows will begin by midsummer.
Martin said that the Police Department is looking to pinpoint the three substations that will be used for community policing. He said high-crime areas are the target and that the offices could be opened by August. He said the department will soon name the three officers who will be the neighborhood officers.
Human Resources Director Vincent Ozier said 28 interviews were conducted and nine offer letters were sent out Tuesday for the nine police officer positions. He said about 40 people also would be screened and interviewed for the Fire Department.
“In my 12 years with the city, this is probably the best line of candidates I have seen since I have been here,” Ozier said.
City Treasurer Steve Cleaves said city finances were in order so far in 2015. He said the city’s budget has flatlined since 2008, with an inflation rate of between 12 percent to 15 percent over that time.
“It gives us an effective rate of a 12 to 15 percent cut in expenses,” Cleaves said.
Fire Chief Mark Heffner said theFire Department is testing two brands of automatic CPR machines. He said the technology has come in handy, saving the lives of two people in the last two months.
Public Works Deputy Director Saul Allen said a problem with one of the city’s street sweepers has doubled the amount of time it is taking for crews to sweep the streets. He said the city is waiting for a demo model that will be used while a new sweeper is delivered.