Mayor Steve Butcher reported to city council June 20 that he had been in conversations with several state legislators about whether Pataskala could qualify for money from the Local Government Fund.

Mayor Steve Butcher reported to city council June 20 that he had been in conversations with several state legislators about whether Pataskala could qualify for money from the Local Government Fund.

Butcher said several cities throughout the state have been excluded from eligibility from the fund based on historical timing issues. One requirement for eligibility is to have an income tax, and Pataskala has had its income tax since only last year.

"My understanding is there are 33 cities in Ohio that are in our situation that are frozen out of sharing in state revenue," Butcher said. "The question for the Senate and House of Representatives is, 'What is the financial impact of allowing these 33 cities on the state's budget?'"

Butcher said state Reps. Jay Hottinger (R-Newark) and Bill Hayes (R-Pataskala), along with state Sen. Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster), have indicated their support for expanding eligibility to the additional cities.

"They are very interested in seeing this resolved," Butcher said. "It sounds like one of the biggest stumbling blocks is whether this costs the state any money and how they get around that, (regardless) whether it is the right thing to do or not."

Council also considered an air-conditioning problem at the city police station in the old town hall.

Council member Bernie Brush said an engineering study had proved inadequate.

"It's beyond me why we haven't figured this out and here we are at the end of June," Brush said.

Council approved a resolution authorizing the city administrator to spend up to $5,000 to rent or purchase temporary air-conditioners through Aug. 10, by which time the administration should have a permanent proposal.

"We're in a critical spot with the police department," said BJ King, director of public services. "How can we most quickly cool down that building?"

Council member Bryan Lenzo said it was essential that the city provide adequate workspace for employees. Butcher said the police department has been interviewing suspects at alternative locations because of fears that courts will find the conditions at the police station too uncomfortable to stand up in any prosecutions that result.

Council member Dan Hayes criticized an engineering report, saying that a request for proposals failed to draw any bids.

"I'm not comfortable with the engineering report we had," Hayes said. "I think the fact that we did not get a single bid in this economy, I think is pretty illustrative of the quality of that report. That might not be fair but at first blush, that's the tripping point for this project."

Council members said they did not like to spend money on temporary responses, but that they had to cool the building.

"I'm not to not pass an ordinance tonight and go make our officers sit in sweltering heat for 30 days while we figure out what we are going to do next," Hayes said. "I'm frustrated that we have to spend money on a temporary fix, but we have to do something."