HUBER HEIGHTS — It was a night of goodbyes for Huber Heights City Council Monday.
Monday’s meeting was the final meeting for 2017 which meant it also was the final meeting for Mayor McMasters and Council Members Judy Blankenship and Tyler Starline. All three chose not to seek reelection in the November election.
Blankenship will be leaving council after serving for 16 years.
“It’s been a real true honor and privilege to serve the people of Huber Heights and Ward Four,” Blankenship said.
Blankenship thanked her family, the city staff and employees and also had some words for her fellow council members.
“I know we’ve disagreed, pretty heartily sometimes, but you know it goes with the job,” she said. “It’s part of the job, it’s what we have to do here, you have to stand up for what you believe in. I’ve tried to do that. But I can tell you I believe in my heart everybody wants to see the city be its best and we’re here to see our city be the best that it can be.”
Andrew Hill will be the new Fourth Ward councilman beginning in January.
Starline is stepping down as the representative of the Third Ward and will be replaced in January by Seth Morgan.
Starline remembered how his first interaction with city council came as a parent who wanted the city to install a porta-john at Sherman Park so his children played there. He said even in small matters you can help the city find the right answers when you participate in the process.
Starline served on council in 2009 and again from 2010 to 2017.
McMasters steps down after serving one term as mayor.
“I hope that we’ve improved the city while we’ve been here,” he said. “I look forward to seeing you all in public. My car will still have ‘McMasters’ on the side so I’m always welcoming to having people come up and say hello.”
Jeffrey Gore will take over as the city’s new mayor in January.
There will be public reception for the new council members and mayor on Jan. 8 at 5:30 p.m. at city hall. They will be sworn in at the next council meeting, which will be held at 7 p.m. on Jan. 8.
Council also wrapped up a number of year-end items at Monday’s meeting, with expenditure for council members to attend a National League of Cities meeting getting the most attention.
The original ordinance called for council to approve funds for registration for four council members to the event, which will be held in March. By getting applications in before Dec. 15, the city could save money on the registration fees.
However, Ed Lyons and Nancy Byrge didn’t like the idea. Lyons said he felt council should wait until new members are sworn in before considering travel expenses. Byrge said she felt there needed to be better transparency and accountability when it comes to travel, citing $23,000 in travel expenses over the past two years with “very little accountability for what we’ve gotten back for it.”
McMasters said he thought the recent public meeting held by Councilmen Richard Shaw and Glenn Otto qualified as a way to provide information about such meetings but agreed that written summaries of the events is a good idea.
He then noted that if five spots are reserved at the meeting, a sixth spot would be provided to the city for free. Council members thought this was a good idea and voted 6-2 to spend $2,475 to reserve the six spots, with Lyons and Byrge voting no.
In other business Monday night, council:
- Approved supplemental appropriations for 2017 for expenditures that exceeded the budgeted amount. Included in those payments was money for the aquatic center operating budget. The center ended up with an operating deficit of slightly less than $10,000 after sponsorship money from businesses was deducted from the deficit total.
- Reappointed Gerald Proctor to the planning commission to a term expiring Jan. 31, 2023 and reappointed Jack Brankamp to the board of zoning appeals for a term expiring Jan. 31, 2023.
- Approved a new liquor permit for Hot Head Burritos at 6480 Brandt Pike by a 7-1 vote. Smith was the lone no vote.
- Approved a contract with the Montgomery County Public Defender Commission for 2018.
- Approved a resolution authorizing the city manager to seek bids for the Mark Avenue water line extension project.
- Approved a Community Reinvestment Area agreement with Megacity Fire and Security. This tax abatement agreement will provide the company with a 15-year property tax abatement on the increased value of an expansion project.
- Approved a resolution to enter into a lease agreement with the Columbia Building Co. for the new tax department office.
City council’s next meeting will be Jan. 8, 7 p.m., in city hall. The next council work session is scheduled for Jan. 2, 6 p.m. at city hall.
Reach Dave Lindeman at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.