Food trucks discussed

By Brittany Hively - [email protected]

The Gallipolis Commission held its regular meeting recently to discuss the happenings of the city.

The Gallipolis Commission held its regular meeting recently to discuss the happenings of the city.

Brittany Hively | OVP

GALLIPOLIS — The Gallipolis City Commission recently met to discuss community issues, approve resolutions and heard from at least one local businessman regarding food trucks.

Commissioners present were Tony Gallagher, Michael Fulks, Mike Brown, William Thomas and William (Bill) Jenkins.

During open floor, Scott Foote from Zack and Scotty’s restaurant in Gallipolis, spoke to the commissioners addressing an issue with food trucks and taxes coming into the city and the possibility of an ordinance change when it comes to food trucks.

“We’ve had four food trucks in here [Gallipolis],” Foote said. “I’m asking the commission because I’m not satisfied with the way this is going. Are food vendors allowed to sell food here without paying taxes?”

This is not the first time Foote has brought this issue to the commission.

As previously reported in the Tribune, Foote attended a previous commission meeting to discuss the food truck ordinance last year. An ordinance was drafted but did not make it to a first reading.

City Manager Dow Saunders said the food truck that was reportedly not following policy from January was found and contacted. He said the only other food trucks that have been in the city to his knowledge were during the Holiday Hop and Winterfest special events.

Foote asked what is defined as a special event.

Brynn Noe Saunders, city solicitor, said the new ordinance that was proposed previously and tabled did define a special event.

City Manager Saunders said in order for a food truck to serve in Gallipolis outside of a special event, they have to pay $1,500.

Foote asked if food trucks were necessary.

While Foote and commissioners [who were in attendance] were not on the same page of the previously proposed ordinance, Foote was asked to speak with other businesses and possibly come back and as a group have a discussion with the city solicitor and city manager on the current ordinances and any needed changes to bring to the commission.

Gallipolis City Auditor Shelly Clonch went over a summary of the current budget proposals for the next fiscal year.

“The most concerning area of the budget is always our general fund,” Clonch said. “We’re carrying over in 2022 $434,175.93 and so a lot of that was because we were able to offset a lot of general fund expenses over the past couple of years because of CARES Act money.”

Clonch talked about the different impacts of the tight budget.

“We really need to be mindful and smart of how we’re spending our money and the general fund this year,” Clonch said.

This was something City Manager Saunders agreed with.

“We haven’t had a really healthy carryover,” Clonch said. “I mean, this is probably one of the healthiest carryovers we’ve had in awhile.”

Jenkins asked about how the income tax brought in now is hardly different from the income tax brought in during his tenure as city manager.

“The economic employers have changed a little bit,” Dow said.

Jenkins asked about companies like Walmart and how their taxes are paid.

Tax Administrator Ronnie Lynch said Walmart pays directly to the city.

“They send a reconciliation every February and it has all the W-2s,” Lynch said. “We add it up and make sure that we’ve gotten what we should have and if we didn’t, we send a bill.”

Lynch said the city has about 500 withholding accounts and each one is audited every year, informing the commission that it takes about three months.

“80% of what we collect comes from withholding accounts,” Lynch said.

Lynch said there are also less citizens living in the city, more of the citizens are on Social Security, retired or receiving pensions and that many businesses are having trouble retaining employees.

“I’m just amazed that we collected more last year than we ever have because the economy here since COVID, I mean, it’s been pretty dismal,” Lynch said.

During the city manager’s report, Dow updated the commission on some sinkholes and slips across the city, the work on the surveying being done by Great Lakes Community Action Partnership and his meetings with the rep for Senator Sherrod Brown.

Fire Chief Keith Elliot spoke about the need for new air tanks and a grant the city fire department has received.

“The Rural Development Grant, we have applied for $146,000 for a grant that will replace 15 of our air packs,” Elliot said. “Some of our air packs on the trucks are 22 years old. We need a total of 20. We applied for 15.”

Elliot said that while they were approved for the grant, there was a $50,000 cap added. So the remaining money will be with a 10-year loan at 2.15% and it is not allowed to be paid back early. In order to accept the grant, the loan has to be accepted.

“We were anticipating $100,000 free money, but we’re only going to get 50, but again, that’s 50 that we didn’t have and we’re still moving forward on replacing equipment.”

Thomas asked the necessity of the remaining 15 air tanks and if they were about to expire.

“All of our air parts, they were bought at different times,” Elliot said. “Normally with the truck, so they’re in increments of six. Back several years ago, they had a grant through the Federal Assistance Firefighters Grant and they actually replaced several of them. And now a lot of those packs are of one generations. These 15 will take care of the immediate issue.”

Elliot said he would be seeking other grants for the remaining needed tanks.

City Solicitor Saunders said the House signed the bill allowing attendance and vote via Zoom until June.

Jenkins asked about the book of codified ordinances. Clonch said she has a copy for him, but many times the commissioners do not return the copies. She said supervisors, the library and law library all have a copy.

Brown had a number of issues to address with the commission from parking violations to trash issues to some slight damages that he believed were hazardous.

Police Chief Jeff Boyer addressed several of the parking issues, and the following of ordinances.

Dow said he would look into the other issues. Brown had pictures and information to help with the issues.

Jenkins addressed the water increase not being raised this year or last year because of the need of a reserve.

“We’re looking at doing a complete water distribution system for the whole city and we’re not taking the 3% on the annual basis,” Jenkins said. “That just seems so congruent to me.”

Both Dow and Clonch said it was discussed and the issue can be revisited and changed at any time.

“If you look towards the future, yeah, we will need the money,” Clonch said. “I was just kind of looking towards the present right now to get that sewer fund built up, just so that we can be comfortable there. Because we’re having all these slips because of the sewer lines, and we’re going to need money.

Marvin Ours, local citizen, was concerned with raising the water by 3% now on top of the 6% sewer raise and the impact it would have on community members.

It was decided to be discussed further and brought back to the next commission meeting.

The following were ordinances on first read and passed unanimously.

An ordinance to set appropriations for current expenses of the City of Gallipolis during the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2022.

An ordinance authorizing the city auditor to transfer or advance funds.

An ordinance accepting and rejecting bids for chemicals and quicklime.

Dow said the effect of the supply chain is seen as the cost of chlorine has doubled. He also said five companies applied and three were accepted and insured no issue with delivery.

© 2022, Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

The Gallipolis Commission held its regular meeting recently to discuss the happenings of the city. Gallipolis Commission held its regular meeting recently to discuss the happenings of the city. Brittany Hively | OVP

By Brittany Hively

[email protected]

Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 446-2342 ext 2555.

Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 446-2342 ext 2555.