Nelson Resident Questions Trustee on Meeting Attendance
Nelson Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting with all trustees and fiscal officer in attendance. Chairman Tom Matota opened up the floor for comments or questions. A Nelson resident asked Trustee Jim Turos if he would address the residents of Nelson, who pay him $9,000/year plus free medical, on why he [Turos] felt attending a tractor show was more important that attending the last trustee meeting. Turos was asked by the chairman if he had a response and Turos said “Not really,” to which the resident replied, “I didn’t think you would, but I had to ask.” Turos added, “That’s my life.”
The trustees approved the minutes from the previous meeting and the expenditures totaling $13,368.02.
Fiscal Officer Dave Finney presented the latest zoning amendment proposal that he received from the zoning commission. There were some questions on the next step in the procedure, so they decided to contact Assistant Prosecutor Chris Meduri for a ruling on the issue before proceeding with the recommendations.
Finney also presented a contract with the Portage County Solid Waste Management District (PCSWMD) for recycling. A discussion was held on the issue and a few questions were raised about the costs and length of contract. Trustee Matota will research it and present his findings at the next meeting.
Finney presented their health insurance premium renewal which is due by August 1, 2013. The cost for health insurance will increase about $100. Finney made the board aware that there would also be additional increases in 2014 for the federal mandated fees that are required, due to the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) The fees have yet to be determined by the federal government. The trustees approved the healthcare contract.
Finney presented the proposed operating budget for 2014. The budget is similar to last year, but the township has $20,000 less to work with due to budget cuts to local government. A public hearing will be held on the budget on July 17, 2013 at 7:15 at the Community House with the regular trustee meeting following the hearing.
Zoning Inspector Anna Mae Vanderhoeven said the party on State Route 282 continues to violate the court order regarding zoning laws and will be fined $500/ day for the violations until they go to court.
In roads, Supervisor Chuck Vanek reported that the roadside mower suffered a breakdown and he would like to order parts for the repair. The parts for the repair will be around $1720. Vanek said he could do the labor. Vanek said the mower was a 1997 and would need to be replaced in the near future. Trustees voted to get parts for the mower. Vanek also reported that he would need to get more asphalt and a roller to complete the road repairs. Discussions were held on ditching/ drainage issues on Pritchard Hill, Vanek said he installed a pipe there and is watching it to see if it works. If it does work, they may need to consider extending the pipe further down the hill.
Discussions were held about the property on the west side of the drive of the township garage. The township doesn’t own it but is considering a lawn maintenance contract with the landowner. Leonard will inquire with the prosecutor on the legality of a contract with a private landowner.
Discussions were held on the salt shed placement and if they should continue to plan to build a new one. The township needs a new one, but trustee Joe Leonard is concerned about the finances since he expects some hefty fines from the EPA on violations from the removal of the old township garage. (The trustees voted two-one for the demolition of the building earlier in the year, and the majority of them chose to forego an inspection for hazardous materials, because of their neglect, the township could be fined heavily by the EPA for improper removal of an assumed hazardous material.) Leonard thinks they should do the fuel tanks first and wait on the salt shed until they know what the fines will be. Matota said they will deal with the fines if and when they happen and the fuel system they have in place is working for now. (The township now uses the fuel stations in Garrettsville to fuel their equipment and vehicles since Ravenna Oil removed their tanks last month due to the township’s failure to bring the tanks in compliance with the law. The trustees had several years to meet the mandates and failed to do so, resulting in Ravenna Oil removing their tanks.).
The road department preferred the salt shed be placed in one place but it takes up too much of the park land. Turos said the trustees need to compromise and place the shed out of the middle of the park, where they initially were going to place it. He also suggested having Vanek dig some drainage ditches to see if they can dry up the area by the hitching posts and consider placing the shed there. Leonard will contact the builder of the shed and see if he can attend the next trustee meeting. Leonard is adamantly opposed to spending any more money until they know what the EPA fines will be. He prefers to repair the current shed and put a new one on hold until next year.
Leonard suggested a drain and a platform be constructed for the yard hydrant at the park to relieve the mud issue around they hydrant. He also purchased log books to track the fuel consumption for each vehicle and piece of equipment. He asked that the road supervisor keep them up to date so they can monitor their fuel usage. He also reported that the EPA will test wells a second time to determine if there is any water contamination from the former U.S. Liquids’ waste liquids being injected into the soil. The wells tested will be the same wells they tested a few years ago, when the problem first began.
Leonard questioned why a township truck was spotted at Chalker and why they needed to use the excavator to tear up a mattress before placing it in the dumpster. Leonard said he had received complaints about these two issues from residents Vanek said he took truck to Chalker to inquire about wheel weights and they had to tear up the mattress to get it to fit in the dumpster.
The board adjourned to go into executive session to discuss personnel issues, at which time approximately eight residents remained outside for the meeting to be reconvened.
In the past, former trustee boards have conducted business even when they said they were not going to.
While this group [myself included] were waiting outside, Mr. Turos came outside prior to the start of the executive session and in front of the residents started to walk around like he was driving a tractor, making tractor motor noises and muttering something about driving a tractor. It is this reporter’s assumption that this act had to do with the question asked earlier about Turos attending a tractor show versus the trustee meeting. Turos then proceeded to walk-up the steps and bent over in front of the residents, stuck his rear end out and started shaking it at them. When a resident pulled out a camera Turos went back inside. A few seconds later, he [Turos] came back outside yelling at the resident saying “You can’t use that because it’s not in the meeting!” The resident replied, “I can use whatever I want, it is a public place and the meeting is still in session!” The meeting was still in session as the trustes had only adjourned to go into an executive session.
After about 10 minutes they returned to regular session and adjourned the meeting.