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Bromley Bobcat Brouhaha Finally Over as City Moves to Make Purchase

A softer tone is emerging at Bromley City Council. On Wednesday, plans to purchase a Bobcat for the city's public works fleet moved forward, after multiple meetings in which it caused serious tension and controversy.
 
On the agenda Wednesday was a second reading of an ordinance first read at a special meeting two weeks ago, a meeting that was called after a testy exchange between council members and Mayor Donnie Jobe that culminated in demands to remove the Bobcat from the budget. After Wednesday's 3 to 2 vote, the city will move forward with the purchase of the $35,000 piece of equipment..
 
Last week, during a special meeting to conduct the first reading, council members and the mayor spoke in a softer tone, and Jobe had written an email to council committing to a more positive and productive relationship. Council members thanked him.
 
On Wednesday, at the regular council meeting, council members Gail Smith, Tim Wartman, and Nancy Kienker voted to keep the Bobcat in the budget while council members Charlie Foulks and Bob France opposed it. Council member Dixie Meyer, who has previously voiced opposition to the purchase, was not present. Mayor Jobe, who supports the purchase, would vote in the event of a tie.
 
There was, however, some evidence of distrust still present at the meeting.
 
Before the vote, Councilman France wanted to ask the same questions that Councilman Foulks had asked in a previous meeting: had the city already made plans or made a commitment to buy a Bobcat-type vehicle, or did the city already own one? The answer to all three questions was still no, according to the mayor. France then listed four separate occasions, beginning in June and ending July 1, when he saw or heard a skid steer going up the hill to the mayor's house or the back-up alarm of a piece of machinery in action at the mayor's property.
 
Mayor Jobe said the city didn't own machinery, but he had been trying out machinery on a loan to see what equipment was out there and what each piece could do. He also said that he has his own equipment on top of that. 
 
Other notes:
 
Building Inspector Joe Schutzman gave a report on the readiness of the city to proceed with the Main Street project Wednesday night. He said they will probably bid out the sidewalks, with the thought that the city will do the work in-house. Councilwoman Kienker said she talked to the insurance company and the city's workers would be covered. Schutzman said he talked to Cincinnati Bell about taking out the trees that have their wires running through them.
 
"Duke is key to any work on Main Street," he said.
 
Later, Mayor Jobe confirmed that trees and poles are being marked as a first step to the Main Street job. Councilwoman Smith told council that she was taking $100,000 out of the general fund to put into a separate checking account for the Main Street project so that she can keep good track of the money in order to be reimbursed by the state.
 
City Attorney Kim Vocke read a resolution authorizing Mayor Jobe to sign an agreement with Sanitation District 1. He also told council that the homeowners of the property at 214 Pleasant Street agreed to sell the property to the city for the same amount they paid for it: $4,000. Vocke would meet with them shortly to get the deed signed over.
 
Shane Hamant came to the meeting to ask about a previous meeting where the mayor had suggested getting other bids for snow removal in the city. Hamant owns Hamant Lawn and Landscape, and he told council he took a full-time job with Ludlow, and he had no problem with the mayor getting other bids. He said when the mayor called to ask him if he was selling his business, he had told him no, and he wanted to state that his business was not struggling, as was apparently reported. He wanted to assure council that his business was on sound footing and that people can depend on hiring him.
 
"I'm not going anywhere," he said. "And I'm not struggling."  
 
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer and Michael Monks
Photo: Bromley (RCN file)