Hiram - The last meeting of the Village Council began with a work session held in conjunction with the Hiram Township Trustees. The purpose of this meeting was to iron out issues relating to taxes due to the Village by Township employees and a proposed resolution put forth by the Trustees to detach a parcel of land to the Township.
When asked her thoughts on the outcome of this first joint meeting, Hiram Township Trustee Chairman Kathy Schulda remarked, “It was a very good start. The next step will be for us to gather information to back up the hours Township employees are in the Village. Then we also need to figure out the percentage (or time) we feel would be a far amount.” Schulda continued, “The detachment is not so clear cut. We can ask but I’m under the understanding they don’t have to grant it. The township was there long before the Village and when we were separated into two entities I’m sure the predecessors had no idea all these problems would arise.”
During the meeting, Council President Tom Wadkins suggested that instead of using a formula to calculate taxes owed by Township employees, that the Township keep a log of actual hours worked by each employee, so taxes would be based on actual hours worked within the Village. It was the general consensus that the Village and Township would work to resolve issues with the current tax year before addressing the two years of past due taxes. The detachment resolution was tabled by Council, pending further direction from the Trustees.
Next, Hiram Village Park Board Chair Susan Merrill and Park Board member Chris Szell reported a summary of residents’ input the Park Board gathered at two public community meetings. Basically, the community expressed a desire that the park space have multiple uses. The feedback they received indicated that residents do not want the property to remain idle, but that exclusive use of the property by any entitle was not recommended. Later, Hiram College Athletic Director Ellen Dempsey presented Council with a memorandum of understanding from Hiram College to build an NCAA baseball field at the site. It was noted that a park could be included on the same property. After much discussion, the motion to accept the memorandum of understanding was not approved by Council.
Next, Assistant Fire Chief Mark Kozak reported that the Hiram Fire Department responded to 27 calls in March, and was the first Department to provide mutual aid at the Main Street fire in Garrettsville. Police Chief Ed Samec reported that his Department filed 287 offense reports, up from 213 in the previous month. In addition, he reported that his Department held a Distracted Driving event at Hiram College, where participants used a driving simulator to experience scenarios, learning the penalties, costs and adverse results that can occur. Chief Samec also noted that the Department received a $500 ODNR grant for the annual Cops and Kids Fishing Day, which will take place on August 23 at Camp Asbury. He also received a $300 donation from Metro Security in Brimfield for the Shop With a Cop program. Lastly, he welcomed Reserve Officer Rob Kern to his Department.
In his report, Mayor Lou Bertrand recommended that Council ask Solicitor Tom Reitz to draft a resolution to allow the Village to advertise for bids for the old Fire Hall building. Council concurred; the resolution will be presented at the next Regular Council meeting. Fiscal Officer Susan Skrovan reported that the Village will undergo an Audit on April 16. She also reported that she’s been working on the transfer of tax data to the Regional Income Tax Authority (RITA), and asked Council to pass a motion to allow her to go through all the steps necessary to move forward with RITA, including the termination of a contract with the previous tax assessing company used by the Village. In addition, Council scheduled a Records Retention Committee meeting, followed by a Budget Committee meeting starting at 6 pm on June 10th.
The next meeting of the Hiram Village Council will be on May 13th at 7 pm in the Municipal Building.