Vermilion City Council held two public hearings, a tax budget hearing, and a special council meeting on Monday, June 13.

Coen retires

                Before the beginning of Monday’s hearings, Mayor Jim Forthofer announced that it was a “momentous day in the case of our city’s Vermilion Fire Department.” Chief Bill Brown assumed command and is the first full-time chief in the city’s history, and also Asst. Fire Chief Dave Coen announced his retirement after 46 ½ years on the job. Coen, 76, in a department of 30, is in the top 5 incident responders, percentagewise. Coen wrote, “It has been my honor and privilege to serve the city and the citizens that live here. I have made many great friends that have become family to me. Being a firefighter and an officer, I have met amazing men that will follow you into a fire and risk their lives to save others without hesitation. Memories that I’ve made will forever be with me.” The mayor said Coen was in the building that day washing gear and returning it, “and there were a lot of hugs and moist eyes as they said goodbye to this legendary firefighter.”

Haber Road public hearing

                Council held a public hearing on ordinance 2022-41, granting a land use variance to Russel Maurer in order to add a ranch home in the I-1 Light Industrial District located at 5890 Haber Road. Mr. Maurer was in attendance, and described the area, and the home he wanted to build on the edge of family property. During the special meeting, council approved the ordinance 6-0.

Tax budget hearing

                Finance Director Amy Hendricks said the purpose of the tax budget is to support the need to the county budget commission for the levying of taxes for the city’s operations, such as the general fund, parks levy, fire levies, police pension levy. It is just an asking budget, and gives the city no spending authority.

Fireworks ordinance

                Council approved 5-1 an ordinance prohibiting the discharge, ignition or explosion of fireworks in the city. This was approved as state fireworks laws are now more lenient, however, municipalities have an opt-out of this, and Vermilion will continue its current policy. Mayor Jim Forthofer confirmed the city’s is more restrictive. Councilman Greg Drew said Vermilion’s policy was fine, but because the state changed its laws, the city had to revisit its ordinance and re-approve it. “That’s basically what we’re trying to do it opt out of theirs,” said Forthofer.