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Norwalk 'had no issues' with department credit card usage

Cary Ashby • Mar 28, 2019 at 6:00 PM

Norwalk Finance Director Michelle Reeder is pleased with the way city employees are using department credit cards.

“Yes, it’s worked out (well),” she told Councilman Jordy Horowitz during the council meeting Tuesday.

In the spring of 2018, council approved the use of department credit cards. Norwalk employees started using them the following August.

Reeder provided council with an update Tuesday. The finance director also provided her annual report; look for a story about the year-end report soon.

“It was a good year for revenue,” Reeder said, referring to nearly $8.1 million for Norwalk.

City employees used credit cards 69 times totaling about $186,000 in 2018. Reeder said the largest transaction was a $123,000 payment to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

“We had no issues with credit cards,” added Reeder, who noted they have been a great option for paying for items online and making online payments. 

So far in 2019, city employees have used credit cards 19 times for a total of nearly $21,000, the finance director told council.

In other action during Tuesday’s work session, Norwalk Fire Chief John Soisson provided an update on the tornado sirens. He said it was especially important to know the latest since it is tornado season.

“I think we have two of 10 that are fully functioning,” Soisson said, also telling council that the plan is to get them running again. “We think a lot of them (aren’t working) due to dead batteries.”

In Norwalk, the sirens are tested at noon on the first Wednesday of every month.

“They are set off by dispatch,” Soisson said, referring to the Norwalk Police Department. “They are meant to be outdoor sounding devices.”

While there are complaints from residents who can’t hear the sirens while they are inside, the chief stressed to council that the biggest goal is for people who are outdoors to hear the sirens. He used the example of Veterans Memorial Lake Park.

“Be aware that some siren coverage is limited until repairs are completed. Tornado sirens are outdoor warning devices and aren’t intended to be the primary warning for residents inside of structures,” city officials said in a prepared statement after the council meeting.

The siren system falls under the responsibility of the safety-service department while general services provides maintenance. 

When the sirens went up in the late 1980s or early 1990s, they were the best available, Soisson told council members. However, he said with the recent advancements in technology and various cell-phone apps that are available, there is “better technology available” to warn people about storms and tornadoes.

Soisson said he’s not sure if the city is willing to invest in what could be “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to replace the siren system.

Safety-service director Ellen Heinz said “we are exploring all that” and told council members they eventually will be approached with recommendations.

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