Garrettsville – At the November 13th village council meeting, Mayor Rick Patrick introduced Nelson Township Trustee Tom Matota.  Matota addressed council about the issues over chip/seal to Brosius Road that the township and village share responsibility for.  Matota explained his understanding of how ODOT divided up roads for maintenance.  Matota also stated it appears that Nelson Township’s assigned responsibility actually extends approximately 400 feet further than originally thought toward Silica Street.  Matota said that the township would maintain the portion of the road assigned to them.  He also said that the Township couldn’t always commit funds, especially on short notice.  

Mayor Patrick informed council that the chip/seal of Brosius Road was on hold until spring anyway.  The company doing the chip/seal work advised the mayor that there are temperature and moisture issues and they couldn’t guarantee the repair work to last through winter.

Matota suggested planning to do the work in the spring, which would give the township time to plan and allocate funds.  Councilman Matson suggested that both the village and the township road supervisors meet and discuss the project.  The mayor, Trustee Matota, and council all agreed that it was a good idea.

In other business, council passed Resolution 2013-38 supporting the preservation of customer choice through government opt-out electric aggregation.  Proposed Ordinances 2013-39 and 2013-40 were read on first reading.  Both ordinances, if passed, would eliminate the requirement that business signage be reviewed by the Design Review Board and would allow the zoning department to approve applications for signs that meet current codes.  The mayor stated that this change would make it easier for businesses to get sign approval.  A public hearing will be held prior to the January 2014 regular council meeting to discuss these proposals.  Council did pass Ordinance 2013-41 amending the existing Codes to specify that no fee shall be required for “Change in Occupancy” permits for businesses.

Also on the agenda, Council recognized the Garfield JAG OGSO 2013 girls’ softball team for their outstanding record and winning the state championship.  Three of the team coaches were there to accept the plaque presented by the mayor.

Brian Savage of Ohio Insurance Services addressed council about the ‘unknowns’ coming because of the health care reform legislation passed by Congress.  The current health care contract for the village will be up for renewal in January 2014.  Savage suggested council consider an early renewal option that would lock in rates for at least another 12 months.  The option would also allow council the opportunity to ‘shop’ in January 2014 for a better deal, but if none was available, at least no changes would have to be made until December 2014.  Council voted for the early renewal option to try to minimize the impact of the coming changes.

During round table discussion Councilman Kaiser stated that the BPA had questions concerning council’s disapproval last month of earthquake insurance for the village.  They also want to discuss possible rate changes for water and sewer.  He said that they would like to come to the February 2014 meeting to address council.  Discussion then ensued about getting the street department out earlier to salt and plow the roads during the winter season.  Councilman Kaiser said that the street department does a great job, but they are not out early enough.  Many people are leaving for work by 6:30 A.M. and the roads have not been treated.  Council agreed that there need to be staggered hours during winter as well as scheduled weekend coverage to keep the roads safe for the residents.  The mayor said he would speak to the street department about getting a winter schedule made and having at least two workers out by 6 A.M.

The mayor informed council that the new roof on the clock tower is progressing and work will be completed soon.  The weather vane on the top has also been repaired and is ready to be reinstalled.  The mayor told council that the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce agreed to pay for new Christmas lights for the clock tower.  He asked council if they would approve funds to replace the wreath for the tower.  The current wreath and lights are both in very poor condition.  Council agreed to the expenditure. The mayor reminded everyone that the chamber’s “Christmas on Main” campaign kicks off on November 30th, the same day as the Clock Tower Christmas Lighting and visit from Santa Claus.  The tower lighting festivities begin at 5:30 with the lighting at 6 P.M.  The mayor stated he felt it was important for the leadership in the village to be involved and visible to the residents.  The mayor encouraged every council member to be there.

If you’d like to know more of what is happening in your community, attend a meeting.  The next regular Village Council meeting is scheduled for December 11, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.