Worthington Council approves Secret Santa donations

WORTHINGTON - For a second year, funds have been donated to the Worthington Police Department for dispersal in a Secret Santa program. According to Worthington Police Chief Troy Appel, a generous individual came forward with $600. Shortly before the Monday night city council meeting was convened, a second $600 donation came in.

Officers from the department will hand out $50 and $100 bills in Christmas cards, Appel said.

Last year, a sergeant with the department kept an eye out for those who looked as though they might need a little help with the Christmas season. The people he gave cards to responded with smiles, disbelief, and even tears.  

Appel also received approval for position guidelines for a new Community Services/Animal Control Officer. The current Animal Control Officer will retire at the end of the year, and the CSO is also approaching retirement. Currently, the animal control officer splits time between those duties and working for city hall, but Administrator Steve Robison said with the combination of the two separate positions, janitorial services at city hall may be contracted out.

The position would also include assistance with enforcement of rental housing regulations, and the newly hired person will work with the current CSO during a transitional phase.

During Monday night's meeting, the council approved an approximate $20,000 in change orders for the splash pad, mostly due to the Beach Nook project not moving forward as expected when plans for the splash pad were designed. According to Public Works Director Todd Wietzema, they will see a similar amount of savings when the Beach Nook project does continue.

The council also approved the authorization to advertise for bids for the remodel of a new public works facility in the former MC Fitness building. The estimated cost for the project is $2.3 million, but once completed, all of the public works equipment will be consolidated in one location.

Also approved were the 2019 proposed sewer charges, which reflect an approximate 4.1 percent increase in rates.

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