Rocky Fork Enterprise

Gahanna City Council opposes Lounge 62 liquor license renewal

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Gahanna residents will have one more opportunity to weigh in on what gets funded in Gahanna next year during the Dec. 16 council meeting.

They had an opportunity during a Dec. 2 public hearing/forum, but those in attendance chose instead to weigh in on Lounge 62 Bar.

East Johnstown Road resident Mary Johnson and her husband, Charles Conroy, expressed concerns about Lounge 62, 953 E. Johnstown Road, where a fatal shooting occurred Nov. 29.

She said they live directly across from the bar in a residential neighborhood, and she doesn't believe it's a safe environment.

"I want their liquor license revoked," she said.

Council president Stephen Renner said the city is protesting the liquor license via legislation.

"I can tell you everyone on council is appalled and upset about the shooting," he said.

A resolution adopted Dec. 2 states the administration and City Council want to go on record as opposing the renewal of a D5 liquor permit to Bar 62, LLC, known as Lounge 62. The city also objected to the renewal of the license last year, and that objection still is in the hearing process.

City attorney Shane Ewald is preparing a statement pursuant to Ohio law to object to the renewal, based on substantial legal grounds, the legislation states.

Conroy said he has been concerned since Lounge 62 opened there.

"There have been issues with noise," he said. "We have tenants across the street with a 5-year-old. This isn't the image we want for the city. We were concerned about noise, and now safety is a major issue."

Council is scheduled to continue examining appropriations, including funding of safety resources, during its Dec. 9 committee meeting.

 

City faces funding gap for 2014-2018

Gahanna finance director Jennifer Teal recently reported that Gahanna faces a $7 million gap between resources and needs for 2014 through 2018. The proposed budget funds less than one-fourth, or $2.1 million, of an identified $9.3 million of the priority capital needs identified for 2014 in the capital-needs assessment.

The 2014 budget request includes significant operating reductions in an effort to minimize the planned use of excess reserves.

The operating service-level reductions beginning next year include decreased funding for police and general vehicle and equipment replacement programs and reductions and eliminations to community events, recreation programming and economic development business retention and expansion services.

During the Nov. 25 council committee meeting, council member Karen Angelou asked if consideration had been given to a hiring freeze.

Teal said that isn't on the table for 2014.

Mayor Becky Stinchcomb said the city has tasks that need to be accomplished.

When a job has become vacant during the past few years, she said, the administration has examined whether the tasks could be spread among staff.

"Now there's an unexpected loss in my office (because of assistant city administrator Brandi Braun leaving)," she said. "I'm looking how to get the work done. I'm evaluating. Do we continue to do the tasks Brandi did? It always comes down to the tasks."

Renner asked if a list of tasks is available for review from each department.

"As I go through this, I'm trying to see a picture, trying to connect dots," he said. "All this is driven by looking at operational expenses. ... Do we need to go back to 2011 levels? Looking at numbers, maybe we need to go to 2011 levels on certain things. I need to connect the resource dots."

Jolley said council is tasked to look at the process in a different way.

"When we get into taking a scalpel and cutting out dollars and cents on a micro level, it's very difficult," he said. "It's a paradigm shift in how we wrestle with numbers. It's a lot different. It will be an ongoing process."

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