WOOSTER – A longtime property maintenance contractor is on thin ice after Wooster City Council narrowly approved to expand its $50,000 contract to $160,000 for the remaining four months in 2021.
Owner of Jimmy’s Maintenance and Lawn Care, James Thomas, allegedly stored trailers on his private residence, going against the city’s zoning code, said Jennifer Warden, Wooster City Council member for Ward Two.
“I don’t want to be contracting someone who breaks our city’s laws,” Warden told the council.
By storing trailers on his property that is zoned as a traditional residence, Warden said he is essentially operating a business out of his home.
According to Jonathan Millea, the city’s development coordinator, Thomas has removed the trailers and applied for a home occupancy permit.
If the measure failed, the contractor would no longer work for the city, which would force the city’s limited employees to clean out houses, mow lawns and provide general property upkeep.
The city will continue its contract with Jimmy’s Maintenance and Lawn Care through the end of the year.
If Thomas does not continue to comply with zoning regulations on its nearly 70 properties, the city will consider contracting with different companies.
Other business at the Sept. 7 Wooster City Council meeting
- City Council approved the rezoning of what could become Wooster’s next housing development along Oak Road near Oak Hill Park from R1 to R2. This change will allow the lots for each house to be slightly smaller in width than what R1 allows. The current plan for the development would create 91 single-family units ranging $250,000 and $350,000.
- Three small parcels of land along Glenn Avenue, Wood Street and West Larwill Street on the west of downtown were approved for rezoning from traditional residential to community commercial. The rezoning will allow for additional parking and a buffer space between the nearby commercial and residential zones.
- Wooster Police Department will receive 75 percent of the cost of its recently purchased bulletproof vests from a grant.
- The police department will receive two Ford Interceptors for police cruisers purchased by the city. The two vehicles will replace two existing and outdated cruisers. These replacements will cost an estimated $92,000.
- The city will purchase new hardware and software for its water and wastewater treatment facilities’ aging tools. This includes new software and hardware that is compatible with Windows 10 and a new server mount.
- An additional $50,000 was allocated for the upkeep of Wooster’s various buildings. The $50,000 contract with McCune Welding Services is expected to exceed that amount to an estimated $100,000 by the end of the year.
- City Council allocated an additional $20,000 to the $50,000 contract with Crites and Sons Paving for preventative concrete and roadway repairs throughout the city.
- Council members unanimously agreed to Brasfond USA Corp.’s proposal to terminate its Community Reinvestment Area tax abatement. The Sao Paulo, Brazil, company will forgo its two-year tax abatement of nearly $23,000 giving the city an additional $2,600 in two years, according to Jon Ansel, city council member at large. The decision to terminate the abatement comes after Brasfond fell on hard times due to the pandemic and failed to meet the CRA requirements of two full-time employees.
- The estimated amounts required from the general property tax were approved for 2022. The millage includes $2,311,700 for the general fund, $195,400 for the Fireman’s Fund and $195,400 for the police pension.
- Wooster will receive its first of two American Rescue Plan allocations. The total $2,764,799.46 will be allocated in two installments of $1,382,399.73 in 2021 and 2022.
- The Wayne Center for the Arts will receive property on Walnut Street for planned expansions that include an Art Play Playground, multipurpose basketball courts and performing arts spaces.
- The city will lease a lot for additional public parking next to an existing public parking lot on East South Street south of Muddy’s restaurant.
- Council approved the allocation of $3,200 for Wooster Lawn Services that will extend lawn services through the end of the year.
Up Next: City Council meeting on Monday, Sept. 20.
Reach Bryce by email at [email protected]
On Twitter: @Bryce_Buyakie