HARRISBURG – Harrisburg City Council named funeral director Mike Weirauch Public Property Commissioner Thursday.
Weirauch, owner of J.M. Weirauch Funeral Home, 211 N. Jackson St. in Harrisburg, completes the city council. When former Mayor Dale Fowler resigned in December prior to being inaugurated 59th District State Senator, then-Finance Commissioner John McPeek was appointed mayor by the council.
Natalie Miller, Beth Montfort and Richard Harper make up the remaining council seats.
McPeek praised Weirauch when introducing him.
"He's a business owner, and he's outspoken," McPeek said.
After being sworn in, Weirauch said he was looking forward to serving the city.
"We have a great community here, and I'm privileged to take part in it," Weirauch said. "We've just got a lot of good people."
Also at the meeting, Kevin Pyle of Futiva, a high-speed Internet company that is a part of Hamilton County Phone Co., approached the council about being permitted to provide Internet service to city residents.
"We're not trying to be a major competitor. We want to be a great company and we can serve our community well," Pyle said.
He said Futiva is mostly interested in providing service in areas where no high-speed Internet is available, though they would be able to provide alternatives to existing Internet providers.
"I'm not saying we're not competitive," he said. "We are competitive with other companies."
Council agreed to take a proposal Pyle brought and submit it to City Attorney Todd Bittle for review.
"Next meeting, maybe we'll have an answer to your question," McPeek said.
Rick Wilson, a representative of Coleman Tri-County Services, gave council and those in attendance a short presentation about hiring CTS clients who have disabilities but who Wilson said are very capable of doing good work for companies. Wilson said CTS is ready to begin helping businesses hire CTS clients for a variety of jobs in the region. CTS serves Saline, Gallatin and White counties.
Commissioner Beth Montfort was supportive of Wilson's call for businesses to hire those with disabilities.
"I've taught special education all of my career, and many of my kids have been successful because someone gave them a chance," she said.
Council approved Tax Increment Financing disbursements for three downtown businesses at the request of commissioner Richard Harper. Gypsy Moon Boutique will receive $1,450.46, Morello's Restaurant will receive $311.40, and The Burg Cafe will receive $1,653.28 in TIF money.
In addition, Fire Chief John Gunning addressed council, informing commissioners that he is working to develop a key box ordinance for new businesses built within city limits. The so-called "Knox boxes" – named because they are built by the Knox Co. – would allow a single master key that would allow access to businesses with a Knox box in the event that a fire was signaled by a 24-hour security system in that business. Currently, if a security system reports a fire, the fire department responds, but must wait until someone with a key to that business arrives in the event that the signal was a false alarm.
Gunning also said the board that owns the Southeastern Pregnancy Resource Center on Jackson Street – a building that Gunning said is in very poor condition – is willing to sign ownership over to the city so the building may be demolished.