Perrysburg school cop approved PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer   
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 11:17
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PERRYSBURG - City council approved a 2014 budget Tuesday that includes funding to assign a police officer to the high school.
Councilors Todd Grayson and Sara Weisenburger previously opposed funding an additional patrol officer so that someone already within the department could be assigned as a school resource officer. Weisenburger said she thought it was school issue with no bearing before council, while Grayson supported delaying the measure until next year in favor of more public discussion.
Proponents including other council members, police Chief Dan Paez and school Superintendent Tom Hosler have touted the position not just as a school safety measure, but a way for police to form relationships and build trust with students, which often leads to information that otherwise would not be shared. The city will cover costs of the officer, with the school district providing about 69 percent in reimbursement.
Grayson renewed his criticism Tuesday, saying additional consideration should be given by the school board, city council and members of the public about how the program would work.
"I think there are legitimate concerns, legitimate questions that just have not been aired publicly," he said.
"I think some issues are big enough that we need to actively reach out to the public and bring their comments in, and I feel like this popped up here 60 days or so ago and now it's just getting pushed through."
Grayson offered an amendment that would have stripped the line-item from the budget, but the motion failed to garner a second from another council member and thus was not put to a vote. He joined Weisenburger, who begrudgingly voted yes, and other members in unanimously approving the budget.
The budget also contained a measure to begin design of a skate park. A location and details have not been determined, but the $95,000 estimated cost of the project is expected to be reduced to $20,000 in the amended budget in 2014 to fund design work only.
Separately, council approved by a 5-2 vote the retirement and rehiring of City Engineer Doug Dariano. Grayson spoke against the policy, which allows a public employee to begin drawing retirement funds while being rehired at a lower salary. While it benefits Dariano as well as the city, Grayson said state taxpayers are left to subsidize the move, which ends up being costly if the employee collects pension and benefits until reaching an old age.
"I don't like being put in a position where I'm making a decision for the state taxpayer, which is what I'm doing here today if we vote yes for this. And I don't like to be in a position where I have to root for him, as a state taxpayer, to not live a long and healthy life. Because if he lives until he's 85 or 90, he will surpass the input that he has put into the pension system."
Weisenburger also voted against the retire-rehire measure.
Aside from business, Tuesday's meeting was filled with accolades for those whose positions with the city are up. Council member Mike Olmstead will lead the city in 2014, taking over for Mayor Nelson Evans.
"Part of this, I think I'll miss. Other parts, I won't," Evans joked.
Council also bid farewell to its president, Joe Lawless, a 16-year member, and Weisenburger, who was appointed earlier this year to fill an unexpired term. Neither were re-elected in November.
"One thing I can say without question ... every time I made a decision, I made one based on what I thought was best for the city of Perrysburg. It doesn't mean everybody's going to agree with it, but that's what always was in my mind," Lawless said.
 

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