City Council met in person Tuesday evening to amend appropriations to the General Fund Fire and hear ordinances for first and second readings.

To start the meeting, the Finance and Personnel committee met to discuss the compensation for the new director of Athens Arts, Parks and Recreation department. Councilman and Committee Chair Sam Crowl, D-3rd Ward, said Athens Mayor Steve Patterson offered the position to “a very qualified candidate,” but he did not name the candidate.

Patterson offered compensation of 25% into the pay grade, which was countered by the candidate at 34% into the pay grade, Crowl said. This rate amounts to $68,000 per year, Andy Stone, city service safety director, said. 

The committee also made several appropriations, including a $49,500 transfer to the city’s Capital Improvements Fund to replace the windows in the Athens Armory. That money will be used to keep the armory dry until Council can invest the necessary dollars to renovate the building, Crowl said. 

Other appropriations made by the committee include a $30,000 decrease from the General Fund Fire for payroll. That decrease would translate into an increase to the General Fund Fire of $17,000 for new fire helmets and $13,000 for pagers, Crowl said.

Stone then requested Council appropriate $60,000 instead of the original $30,000 to pay for an architectural firm to begin a conceptual design of a new firehouse. The city saved about $100,000 from payroll vacancies within the fire department, Stone said, and that money could be used for the firehouse planning. 

From there, Council moved to regular session and began hearing ordinances for first and second reading, including one authorizing Council to accept a community grant from the Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council to be directed to the Hocking, Athens, Perry Community Action program.

Council also approved an ordinance amending the 2021 appropriation ordinance, which includes the General Fund Fire appropriation, to include updated dollar amounts and language specifying the money will be used in part to fund the conceptual design of a new firehouse. 

“I’m excited we are moving forward with conceptual design for the firehouse,” Councilwoman Sarah Grace, D-At Large, said. “I think it’s a long time coming, and I believe that our fire department is absolutely ready for a new firehouse.”

Council then went into executive session, and the meeting was adjourned.