City Council Discusses Hot Button Issues

by Josh Overholser on June 9, 2014 at 9:50 am

Zanesville City Council met Monday night with a couple of hot button issues on the agenda.

The first dealt with an ordinance for a moral claim that would pay Rob Guentter more than $74,000 for a grant written in 2011 if passed. The motion for the first reading was defeated, but it will still move on to a second and third reading. Councilman David Tarbert went so far as to call the agreement that was made for the grant a "shady backroom deal."

"Mr. Guentter, who is a former employee of the city, met with the former mayor, and they came up with this idea where if they wrote this grant and were successful, that he would get a portion of the grant," Tarbert said.  "Because that’s over the threshold limit, that should have been brought to council, and it never was. So there is no agreement."

Also Monday night, the third reading of an ordinance regarding enterprise solicitation was tabled to the next meeting. The ordinance is intended to prohibit panhandlers in the city, but the current wording of the ordinance would also prevent charitable organizations and other nonprofits from holding fundraisers on the streets or sidewalks.

"There’s a concern for unintended consequences with this ordinance," said Councilman Rob Sharer.  "If there is a booster group who is doing a car wash at a local auto parts store, they are, by the wording of this ordinance, allowed to be there with permission of that auto parts store. But as soon as they step onto the sidewalk, that puts them in the public and puts them in violation of this ordinance."

Council is expected discuss possible solutions or amendments to address those unintended consequences at a committee meeting that will be held at 5 p.m. on June 18th.