On Monday, Oct. 12, the Mount Vernon City Council held its first hybrid meeting. They discussed renewal of township contracts, which expire at the end of this year, an ordinance relating to the Kenyon Community Internship Program and a construction project in downtown Mount Vernon.
City Council members and Mount Vernon Mayor Matthew Star met at City Hall, separated by plexiglass barriers. All observers watched the meeting remotely via Zoom. All council members wore masks, though some had their masks below their nose. Councilmembers expressed happiness that they were able to convene together for the first time since March. “It’s great to be together,” said Councilmember Samantha Scoles.
Mount Vernon provides fire, police and road maintenance resources to small townships — including the College Township — in Knox County. The Council discussed plans to standardize the rates townships pay the city for services to a standard 5 millage (mill), and to adjust terms so that, beginning in 2025, all contracts will be up for renewal at the same time every five years. Rick Dzik, Mount Vernon safety service director, said that this was not a huge shift, as many townships are already at or above the 5-mill level (the College Township, he said, is at 6 mill).
There is an additional 6 mill levy on the ballot in Gambier this year to support the College Township Fire Department. The Council expressed concern, should the levy not pass, about the feasibility of continuing to provide resources to the Fire Department based on the funding it currently receives. “That is probably not enough for us to be able to justify covering [the] Township,” said Dzik.
The Council also passed Ordinance No. 2020-36, which will establish a pay rate of $10 per hour for workers hired as part of the Kenyon Community Internship Program. This wage falls just above Kenyon’s Grade Level II pay rate of $9.92 per hour.
The Buildings and Lands Committee led a conversation about a renovation project for the former site of the Mount Vernon Middle School on North Mulberry Street. Developer Joel Mazza plans to demolish the building and build a housing development in its place. Mazza, recognizing the building’s historical and personal significance to residents, said he will keep the building’s existing facade, after having determined it was structurally sound.
The next Mount Vernon City Council meeting will take place on Oct. 26. The Zoom link to the meeting can be found on the City Council website.