Warther Museum to receive bed tax funds for new display

Warther Museum to receive bed tax funds for new display
Teri Stein

A resolution was approved by council giving some bed tax funds to Warther Museum to help with the costs of a new display.


At the March 20 Dover Council meeting, Law Director Doug O’Meara informed council of his opinion there was a conflict of interest in regards to the demolition of a home at 114 W. Fifth St. using grant funds.

It was at the March 6 council meeting where Mayor Shane Gunnoe informed council the city had learned the property was owned by Nick Homrighausen, the son of former Mayor Richard Homrighausen. O’Meara needed time to reach out for more information on the matter and did not issue an opinion at that meeting.

“I gave an opinion to the mayor and to the auditor today with regards to the Ohio Department of Development, demolition and site revitalization program,” O’Meara said of the application in question. “The application was filed with a city officer on Feb. 10, 2022, and the name was not disclosed to the city until March 3, 2023.”

O’Meara reviewed copies of documents related to the project and reviewed the Federal Code of Regulations.

He said, "(From a) statute included under the Federal Code of Regulations, there is a direct conflict of interest for the utilization of those funds for that individual. Therefore, we're going to request the Tuscarawas County Department of Economic Development, Scott Reynold’s office, to remove the authorization that has been obtained with regards for that specific parcel of property and that specific individual. We were hoping all this stuff was behind us, and hopefully, it was all behind us, but unfortunately, it's not."

Council was informed the applicant’s name was on the application but that information was not provided to the city. The city was given a list of home addresses only.

"(The information on the name of the applicant) clearly was not given to us, and you can only conclude that it was withheld," O’Meara said.

With that information council discussed what could be done to prevent a conflict-of-interest situation from happening again. It was learned the application was filed during the time when the three wrongly fired employees were off work and before they were restored to their positions by the state personnel board. If the employees had been on the job at the time, there would have been some oversight. It was determined only one employee at the board of zoning appeals had access to the application.

Earlier this year Nick Homrighausen filed to run for mayor of Dover in the primary election this spring.

Council also approved Emergency Ordinance 7-23. The ordinance was to return the 1976 ordinance and resolution book found in the former mayor’s office and designate that ordinance and resolution book as the official record of the City of Dover and to also keep and retain a new book remade through Ordinance 15-22 to keep a clear historical record of the sequence of events and behaviors that occurred during the administration of former convicted, disqualified and removed Mayor Homrighausen.

Gunnoe said the room where the ordinances and resolution books are stored will be rekeyed.

Council voted to distribute $5,000 of bed tax money to Warther Museum to be used toward the costs of creating a new display. The display will honor the late Dale Warther, the grandson of Mooney Warther, and showcase the Warther military knives. The total amount of the project is $18,000. Council members said updating and adding to the museum is a good use of the bed tax funds and will bring in more visitors.

Dale Warther worked at the Warther Cutlery and Warther Museum, where he was the director of the knife shop. He was known for creating custom knives, some that were owned by well-known people including Ronald Reagan, Nelson Mandela, Charlton Heston and Condoleezza Rice.

Gunnoe addressed a rumor he has been asked about multiple times.

“I would like to say again for the record there are no plans within city administration in either the short or long term to close the power plant,” Gunnoe said. “In fact, we have approved spending, with city council’s support, of about $1.5 million in upgrades and replacement work at the plant.”

The city is in the final phase of hiring a new assistant electric generation superintendent for the power plant.

“All of this is being done with an eye towards keeping our valuable city asset, the power plant, serving the people of Dover for many years to come,” Gunnoe said.

Gunnoe gave other updates as follows:

—The Tuscarawas County technical assistance request for the Ohio Appalachian Community Grant Funding was approved by the state. The funding will help with the costs of design work on the Towpath Trail.

—Two more baseball fields at the park were converted to all LED lighting. Two more fields need done. Each field converted saves taxpayers about $10,000 annually on electric costs.

—The Police K-9 Memorial is expected to be completed sometime in June.

—There will be no charge for the training for the lifeguards who work at the Dover Park this summer. The cost for the training is usually $150-$200.

—Dover Parks and Recreation Department will offer softball leagues again this summer for co-ed, men’s softball and church leagues. Contact the parks department to sign up.

—Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital will host its annual Run for Home event April 1-2. The event will have runners traveling through Dover on April 2. Visit www.runforhome.org.

Dave Douglas reported the compost facility will open for the season on April 1.

The next Dover Council meeting will be held April 3 in council chambers, 121 E. Second St., Dover.

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