The city could be eligible for grants to replace two bridges in town, Mayor Aaron Montz said Monday night at the first City Council meeting of 2013.
The grants could pay up to 80 percent of costs for the Rebecca Street Bridge, which would cost about $350,000 and the Ella Street Bridge, which would cost $1.1 million.
"As I said when I took office, we would be chasing grants and outside money as often as possible, and these projects are great examples of the early successes," Montz said. "In these difficult economic times, we must stretch our local tax dollars as far as we can."
He said the two bridges will need to be replaced in the next few years, and he said the Kennedy Bridge on North Sandusky Street has been placed on the 2016 projects list for complete surface rebuild by the state.
The city also received a grant of $235,000 to purchase new breathing apparatuses for the fire department. Montz thanked firefighter Kevin Velentean for applying for the 95-5 grant from the US Department of Homeland Security.
The city will only have to pay $11,771, as the federal government is to cover the remaining cost of $223,660 for the equipment.
Montz also said the city has begun to discuss building a "business loop road," which would connect SR 53 and US 224 on the west side of the city.
SIEDC and the engineer's office are looking for state and federal grants that would help fund the project, which Montz said would greatly benefit economic development in the area.
The Ohio EPA has said that it will allow a year for the city to update its long-term control plan, he said.
The city is currently looking to avoid separating the downtown sewers, and possibly changing the direction of sewer separation entirely. Montz said the city is looking to upgrade the sewer treatment plant instead.
Councilman Jim Roberts asked about progress on the sweepstakes cafe located in the mall.
Law Director Brent Howard said the company still does not have its occupancy permit, but has made great strides in the past couple of months in getting the building up to code.
He said there is a problem with the sprinkler system, which could be more of the renter's problem than the company's.
Howard said he would follow up with the business, and have an update at the next council meeting.
Three council members were absent Monday night, so council decided to table some legislation until the next meeting.
Council is to have a special meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday to discuss legislation that was tabled Monday night.
In other news, the city's municipal income tax revenue for 2012 is up 3.17 percent from 2011 and up 0.83 percent from 2008, said Finance Director Gwynn Reinhart.
Also at the meeting, council approved an ordinance amending titled sign restrictions and sign definition by a vote of 4-0.
Montz thanked the community for its input, and said the effort to change the sign code took more than a year.
Councilman Rich Cline said it is a step toward making Tiffin more business-friendly.
In new business,
council passed by
a vote of 4-0:
A resolution approving mayor's reappointment of Susan Hering Howard for a five-year term on the Julia M. Weller commission.
A resolution approving mayor's reappointment of Larry Clausing for a three-year term on the income tax board of review.
A resolution approving mayor's reappointment of Timothy Schultz for a three-year term on the income tax board of review.
A resolution approving mayor's reappointment of Mark Somodi for a three-year term on the Americans with Disability Act advisory committee.
A resolution approving mayor's reappointment of Matt Coleman for a five-year term on the shade tree and beautification commission.
A resolution approving mayor's reappointment of George Fretz for a four-year term on the park and recreation board.
A resolution approving mayor's reappointment of Theresa Sullivan for a three-year term on the architectural board of review.
A resolution approving mayor's reappointment of Rod Morrison for an unexpired term on the planning commission.
A resolution approving mayor's reappointment of Mark Tusing for a three-year term on the revolving loan fund board/venture capital committee.