Mayor Don Schonhardt's first veto will have to wait until Valentine's Day, and Hilliard City Council will have an alternative ordinance to consider if they can't override the mayor's veto. Council needs five votes to override the veto.

Mayor Don Schonhardt's first veto will have to wait until Valentine's Day, and Hilliard City Council will have an alternative ordinance to consider if they can't override the mayor's veto. Council needs five votes to override the veto.

At its Jan. 11 meeting, city council approved by a 5-2 vote changing the percentage of the 6-percent hotel/motel bed tax that would go to Destination Hilliard, a convention and visitor's bureau, from 25-percent to 50-percent. The other 50-percent would be placed in the city's general fund.

On Jan. 17, Schonhardt sent a letter to council president Brett Sciotto declaring his intent to veto the ordinance. He cited six reasons for his decision because of "very grave concerns I have about this legislation and its adverse impact on our community and its citizens." It will mark the first time in his two terms as mayor Schonhardt has exercised his veto authority. Several council members and Destination Hilliard staff expressed their disappointment in Schonhardt's decision.

The veto was not considered at the Jan. 24 council meeting, but instead is expected to occur at the next council meeting on Feb. 14. Law director Pamela Fox said the matter can't be taken up until 10 days after the letter's date. "It's a statutory requirement," Fox said. "We will put it back on the council agenda," council clerk Lynne Fasone said. She said it would be announced like "Shall ordinance 10-40 be passed, notwithstanding the veto of the mayor. Those voting yes override the mayor's veto, those voting no will vote to sustain the mayor's veto."

Near the end of the Jan. 24 council meeting, councilman Tim Roberts sponsored what he called a "logical compromise" to the controversy. His "alternative funding" ordinance calls for a grant of $65,000 from the city's general fund to Destination Hilliard. As a requirement of the funding, Destination Hilliard would report to council on a quarterly basis on its activities and the use of the funding. The ordinance would be in effect only if council did not override the veto.

"To me, what this accomplishes is it gives Destination Hilliard the full funding for one year," Roberts said. "This is guaranteed money that would be provided in a lump sum rather than them having to wait for monthly increments." He said it would also conform to the funding of other organizations by council.

Stephanie Kunze, who joined Roberts as the only council members to side with Schonhardt, seconded the adoption of the ordinance.

"We do want to fund this organization," said Roberts, referring to himself and Kunze. He wants to see if Destination Hilliard proves to be effective over the year.

"If they perform as I think that they will, I don't think anyone on this council would withhold funding from them next year," Roberts said.

The legislation will be held over for a second reading at the Feb. 14 meeting despite not being referred by committee.

"I introduced it that way because it was the only way it was guaranteed to get on the agenda and my reasoning would be heard," Roberts said afterwards.

If the votes from the Jan. 11 meeting remain unchanged next month, council would have the supermajority (5 of 7) needed to override the veto on Feb. 14.