ELYRIA — No decision was made regarding the fate of the city’s health department and the prospect of joining the Lorain County Health District.
The measure received a second reading, but no action was taken and Councilwoman Donna Mitchell, D- Ward 6, said it will proceed to a third reading, likely next week, where the bulk of the discussion will take place.
The city is in the process of considering closing its health department in favor of joining the county district, one that Lorain already has made, and Avon Lake also is considering making the switch, in an effort that would save Elyria residents $700,000.
Prior to the special meeting of Council, Community Development and Finance committees both met to discuss several referrals, all of which passed.
The first of which was a referral for both committees in regards to accepting the donation of property at 129 Cascade St. from Freedom House Church.
Community Development Director Ashley Scott said by accepting the property, the city gains one more foothold in the area where it already holds several parcels.
“It’s not a large parcel of land,” she said. “But when you couple it with the property we already have in the area, it’s going to open us up for redevelopment opportunities over there in the future.”
The Finance Committee chose to alter the city’s salary ordinance to create a new classification, and it also chose to place liens on three properties due to emergency demolitions caused by fires.
Kevin Brubaker, senior manager of the city’s building department, said the three properties at 430 Jefferson St., 390 11th St., and 135 Lexington Ave. were empty at the time of the fires, and none had homeowners’ insurance.
The city will be taking out liens so it can be properly reimbursed when the property sells.
“We’re lucky that we have a local business (that) can roll out these demos very quickly for us,” he said. “And it can be done at a reasonable cost. I’m asking for the liens in order to protect the interest of the city, and the money we use in the general fund. Unfortunately, I think this is a cost we’re just going to have to deal with.”
Avon Lake also undecided on joining health district
Avon City Council didn’t take action Monday on whether to join the Lorain County General Health District.
The Lorain City Health Department had provided services to Avon Lake since 1974, and Avon Lake paid Lorain from $85,000 to more than $100,000 for those services.
Lorain disbanded its health department in the wake of a budget crisis, meaning Avon Lake can either build its own health department or contract with Elyria or the county for health department services.
Joining Elyria won’t likely be an option since Elyria, which also is faced with financial difficulties, is considering joining the county health district and expected to vote on the matter Monday.
In Avon Lake officials have said creating a city health department isn’t economically feasible. City Council has waited to see how Elyria proceeds before making a decision, and Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka said City Council will vote May 9 on whether to join.
Some Avon Lake residents have expressed opposition to joining the county health district because doing so would result in residents seeing a half-mill property tax increase without giving residents the chance to vote on the increase.