Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Home Community News Local Government

Windham Twp. – Windham Township Trustees met for the regularly scheduled meeting with trustees Dann Timmons, Brian Miller and Rich Gano in attendance. The township fiscal officer Jayme Neikirk and zoning inspector Joe Pinti were also in attendance. The trustees approved the minutes from the last meeting and they approved the expenditures, before the chairman, Dann Timmons opened up the floor to the political figures who were in attendance.

Auditor Janet Esposito introduced herself and explained all the responsibilities her office handles. Esposito said she has an open door policy. If one has any questions about their property values for tax purposes feel free to give her a call and she will see if there is anything that can be done. Esposito is on the fall ballot for county auditor.

Vicki Kline, who is the current county treasurer and is running for county commissioner, Kline said, her experience as county treasurer will help her be a better commissioner as she now understands how government finances work.

The last political figure is Becky Doherty who is running to fill the seat of Judge John Enlow, who is retiring. Doherty has worked in other counties with prosecutors and believes she is up for the challenge. Doherty would like to establish a mental health and drug court in Portage County.

Former township resident Larry Cogley donated his time to evaluate what would be needed to fix drainage issues at the cemetery.  Cogley presented his findings but was unable to give a cost for the project because contractor’s pricing can vary. The trustees did not make a decision on the issue.

In roads, Brian Miller said salt prices could be an issue this winter.  The trustees voted to sell the old salt spreader.  They also discussed replacing tires on the small truck.  Miller reported that the road crew has been busy ditching and mowing along the roads. Timmons reported that the asphalt had been laid at the cul-de-sac on Frazier Road. When it is completed, the township will add the cul-de-sac to the dedicated road right-of-way.

Josh Johnston was at the meeting and passed out a copy of the townships’ home page of the new web site. www.windhamtownship.org. Johnston created and will maintain the site for the township. Zoning forms, zoning regulations, the minutes from the meeting and other valuable information is on the website.

In zoning, Joe Pinti said he issued two permits for the month of August. The zoning permits and such are available at the township website, but those who do not have internet connection may still get hard copies of the forms etc from the zoning inspector.

Rich Gano reported that currently the Move Ohio Forward Fund has not released any more money. Gano also suggested a tornado siren be installed out in the township near Bryant Road so residents in the area could be alerted. The cost for the entire project is $22,000. The trustees will consider it. Gano also suggested that they find a place to install the hydrant they bought a few years ago. Timmons said they will see if they can find a convenient place for it.

The chairman opened up the floor to the residents. One resident asked the trustees to consider changing their policy on rehiring employees each year and only offering a one year contract. The resident said it was unfair to the employees and it also made it difficult for the employees to obtain loans and such when they only have a one year contract. He also pointed out that none of the other townships in the area does that anymore. The trustees will take the idea under advisement.

The trustees meet on the first Thursday of each month at the town hall at 7pm.

Geauga County Auditor Frank J. Gliha announces that 2014 is a Triennial Update year for Geauga County. Based on our analysis and analysis of the Ohio Department of Taxation we have come to the conclusion that the property values set in 2011 have met the goals and standards sought by the Ohio Department of Taxation for the 2014 Triennial Update. With the exception of a few condominium complexes, the property values that were put in place in 2011 will remain until2017 when the next county-wide reappraisal will occur. During the week of September 8, 2014 the Appraisal Department will have appraisers in the office to discuss any questions taxpayers may have about the 2014 Triennial Update.

Our office has analyzed the relationship of the market values carried by the Auditor’s Office to the sales prices that have occurred over the past three (3) years. The Auditor’s Office utilized several software programs in concert with its G.I.S. System to perform quality control with the understanding that establishing property values is an important and sensitive issue. These quality control measures assist our staff in insuring that fair and equitable values have been placed on every property.

Auditor Gliha reminds residents that the Auditor’s Office will have extended hours on the week of September 8th to help answer any questions property owners may have. Besides the normal hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday -Friday, the office will also be open Wednesday evening September 10th until6:00 p.m.  The office is located in the Courthouse Annex, 231 Main Street, Suite 1A, Chardon, OH 44024-1293 or can be reached by calling: ( 440) 279-1600.

cops-fishing

Hiram – The Hiram Police Department held its  Third Annual “Cops and Kids”fishing day event at Camp Asbury on Saturday August 23rd. The event was a huge success! The weather was perfect, participants caught lots of fish, and plenty of new friends were made.

“Cops and Kids” fishing day presents an opportunity for area children to enjoy the day fishing with police officers of the Hiram Police Department.  The event builds lifelong bonds between children and police officers. Parents are encouraged to attend the event, as family unity is also a part of the program. Every child that attended the event received a free Zebco fishing rod/reel combo, an event T-shirt. Thank you to Haylett’s BP for supplying lunch at the event, Buckeye Worm Farm for supplying the bait, Camp Asbury for hosting the event for the third year in a row, Berg’s Eye apparel for the wonderful T-shirts, Great Lakes Outdoor Supply for their sponsorship, and everybody that came out and spent the day with us.

The Hiram Police Department will be holding a Car Show on September 6th. on Hayden Street in Hiram Village from 9am-2pm.  (Story Here)

Windham – Windham Village will place two levies on the ballot this fall. The first one  is a 1.38 mill levy that is expected to generate $25,000 for the parks and recreation. The second levy is a .83 mill levy that is expected to generate $15,000 to continue subsidizing the Portage County District Library (PCDL, Windham branch only.

The first levy, Resolution R-2014-19 will be primarily used to improve and maintain the park; however Mayor Rob Donham did say some of the funds may go to renovating the community center as well. This is a five year levy that will begin in 2015 if passed.

The second levy, Resolution, R-2014-18 is to help the village keep their commitment to the Library. The Village is already subsidizing the Windham Branch of the PCDL. They currently pay $2400 / quarter towards the Library’s rent at the Renaissance Center and have agreed to go to a percentage rate rather than a flat rate.  Earlier this year, the library asked if the village would help with the increasing costs by going to a percentage rate rather than the flat rate. The village agreed to do so up to a 5% maximum increase.  The levy is for five years and will begin to generate funds in 2015 if passed.

Next, council voted to memorialize the village’s policy on subsidizing the Windham branch of the PCDL. All this resolution does is to have the subsidizing of the PCDL in writing for the records.

Other council actions were accepting of the resignation of Jay Estabrook from the police department and the hiring of Larry Shackelford as part-time specialist for the water and sewer department. They also approved the minutes, expenditures and bank reconciliation for June. The liquor license transfer at Windham Tavern was also approved along with Ordinance O-2014-17, that would establish and revise the salaries of and wages of all full-time and part-time employees within the village.  A discussion on the proposed Ordinance O-2014-18 that would adjust the water rate for those in the village was held. The ordinance was on a first read.

The village council meets on the fourth Thursday of each month at Village hall at 7pm.

rain-barrels

Geauga County – The Geauga Soil and Water Conservation District’s Annual Rain Barrel Yard Art Campaign auction has begun and the barrels are at locations throughout Geauga County.  Six local artists and groups have donated their time, talent, and materials to the District by painting barrels and creatively transforming these recycled plastic barrels into beautiful and functional yard art.  These decorated rain barrels are now on display and available for silent bidding at various locations (as indicated below) for the months of August and September.  You can view all the barrels and also place a bid online by visiting Geauga SWCD’s website at geaugaswcd.com.

Minimum bids start at $90.  Don’t wait for a rainy day to place your bid… you can also “Buy It Now!” for $200!  Just include all the requested information and the barrel will be yours once method of payment is approved.  Any sold barrels will be indicated on our website and locations are subject to change with barrel sales.  Remaining barrels will be available for final bids at the Geauga SWCD Annual Meeting on November 6, 2014.

Here’s your chance to finally get a unique rain barrel while helping to protect our water resources.  Don’t delay, bid on a barrel today!  All proceeds will go toward the District’s environmental education programs.  Barrels can be found at the following locations:

1) Breathe by Yvonne Delgado displayed at Mazzulo’s Market (August) and Middlefield Cheese House (September)

2) Fantasy, Freedom, and Butterflies by Kay Hendricks displayed at Breezewood Gardens (August) and Lowe’s Greenhouse (September)

3) Gypsy Horse Go-Round by Mary Samide displayed at Beans Coffee Shop and Bistro (August) and Schneiders Saddlery (September)

4) Flamingo by Berkshire High School Art Club displayed at Blazin’ Bills (August) and Burton Library (September)

5) Watering the Horses by Byron Leffler displayed at Lowe’s Greenhouse (August) and Breezewood Gardens (September)

6) Grouchy by the Rodusky Family displayed at Geauga West Library (August) and Munson Western Reserve Country Store (September)

For more information visit the Geauga SWCD website at www.geaugaswcd.com or call 440- 834-1122.  Like us on Facebook to see updates on rain barrels and other news.  A special thanks to the artists for their generosity and to Ken’s Auto Body, Inc. in Troy Township for donating their time and materials to apply protective clear sealant to the barrels.

 

Windham Twp. – The Windham Township Trustees met for a regular meeting on July 31, 2014 in the Windham Township Hall with trustees Dann Timmons, Brian Miller and Richard Gano present. The Fiscal Officer was absent.

The reason for having a regular meeting that was not at the usual time was to open bids for the chip and seal of Colton Road. The only bid received was from H. Luli Construction Company of Mogadore, Ohio for $25,822.92. The trustees expressed their pleasure that the bid came in slightly less than expected and they accepted the bid by unanimous vote.

In other road issues, Dann Timmons reported that Dale Soinski had completed the site for the cul~de-sac at the end of Frasier Road and is now waiting for pavement. Once the county engineers issues  final approval, the process to make the land donated by Mr. Soinski and the new construction part of the dedicated road will continue. Mr. Timmons also announced that Mr. Soinski indicated that he intends to place a gate on the vacated portion of the road to deter trespassing.

In zoning, Zoning Inspector Joe Pinti reported he will be posting his hours of availability on the township website when it is completed. In addition, he and Richard Gano are working on updating zoning forms to be more user-friendly. He will also be researching a potential zoning violation where the landowner may be using an unauthorized manufactured home as a residence. Finally, the board is still waiting for answers concerning funding  the removal of two non-residential buildings in the township that are in very poor condition and pose potential safety threats.

Richard Gano announced that Larry Cogley has completed his presentation concerning drainage in the cemetery and will be presenting it to the trustees at an upcoming meeting.

Dann Timmons announced that the fire district has not made any decisions concerning possible action since the Village of Windham terminated dispatching after agreeing to provide the service to the fire district through 2019. The inaction of the board stems from two members,himself and the village council representative,  having conflict of interest, and the unavailability of one board member due to illness. That one board member was George Bengtson who, sadly, just passed away. It is now the responsibility of the village council to name a village resident as his replacement. After discussions with the assistant prosecutor, Mr. Timmons suggested that the trustees could pass a resolution to waive conflict of interest that would allow Mr. Timmons to participate in the discussion and vote on a course of action by the fire board. Brian Miller and Richard Gano agreed and the resolution was adopted.

In other business, the Ohio National Guard’s Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Site was selected as one of five possible sites for a missile defense site. The Missile Defense Agency, which operates under the authority of the U.S. Department of Defense, will be briefing local elected officials on August 5, 2014 at Reed Memorial library prior to a meeting open to the public. Brian Miller will attend on behalf of the township.

The Windham Township Trustees meet on the first Thursday of each month at the Windham Township Hall, however, the August meeting has been cancelled. The Trustees will next meet on September 4, 2014 at 7:00 pm.

center-school

Mantua – One hundred years ago, children and teachers journeyed either on foot or in wagons, as the school bell chimed out each day at the Mantua Center School in Mantua Township. Over the years — through two World Wars and many generations of local families — the school remained, a central fixture within the township. Although the last group of students departed the building for the final time in 2004, students, teachers, community members, and even a special guest from Columbus will have the opportunity to go back to school, at least for a few hours, on Saturday, August 9th, from 1 to 4 pm.

Senator John Eklund will be speaking at Saturday’s special event. Eklund was a staunch supporter of the effort to get the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which occurred last fall. He represents Senate District 18, which includes Portage County and portions of Lake and Geauga Counties, and resides in Munson Township. In addition to Eklund’s remarks, the event will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the building, which was completed in 1914. Up through the 1940s, the school served grades one through twelve of the entire Township. At that time, it shifted enrollment to grades kindergarten through seven. Several of the school’s oldest alumni have been invited back to the event, and to meet Senator Eklund.

The Mantua Restoration Society, in conjunction with the Mantua Historical Society, is hosting the event on Saturday, to demonstrate what Carole Pollard refers to as, “the sweep of time the building has been through,” Both groups plan to have several exhibits throughout the building, highlighting world and local events that occurred throughout its century of life. In addition, a small classroom exhibit will showcase desks, materials, clothing and photos from the early life of the school. The event will include tours of the building, as well as  ice cream and cake to celebrate the building’s historic 100th birthday.

Part of the building’s history revolves around the school bell — the 1,500-pound bell that was originally purchased by the Township to be used as a civil defense bell. The bell is roughly three times the size of the one at the Township Hall. Apparently, it took quite an effort from Stamm Contracting to fix it in place at the top historic building. During a regular school day, the bell was rung at least four times, by pulling the bell rope located in the top floor landing.

Tom Rauber, who served as Principal from 1992 through 2004, was asked to contact the school’s former teachers and staff, to let them know of the momentous occasion. “There’s such a history there — It’s always neat to go back,” Rauber shared.  He’s been back to the school for various events, including the graduation party of a former student. Rauber’s student attended Center School, as did his parents. They chose to rent the gymnasium to host their son’s high school graduation party.

When the school closed in 2004, Rauber and his staff and students marked the occasion, in part, by sharing the stories of former teachers and students. As the final school day ended, the group rang the historic bell 90 times, once for each consecutive year the school was in operation. The interviews, as well as the rest of the closing ceremony, were recorded on DVD, and will be shared at Saturday’s event. At Saturday’s event, the bell will again be rung — and perhaps you or someone you know will have the opportunity to help ring it.

Hiram Twp. – It was noted that that as a part of the partnership between Hiram Township and the Hiram Village Police Department, Hiram Police Officers have begun patrolling in Hiram Township. The purpose of these patrols is to enforce traffic violations and provide a visible deterrent to prevent crime within the township. These services are supplemental to the services currently provided by the Portage County Sheriff’s Office.

Assignments for Hiram Township police services will be directed by Chief Ed Samec of the Hiram Police Department, who stated, “Hiram Township residents will still contact the Portage County Sheriff’s Office to report crimes and will continue to have deputies as their primary law enforcement contact.” Samec continued, “Having this partnership, Hiram Police Officers will have the ability to concentrate efforts in particular geographical areas where crime and traffic violations persist.”

According to Trustee Kathy Schulda, in the first 30 days the agreement has been in place, Hiram Police officers made two stops of non-residents for OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired), and have issued one ticket to a driver traveling 65 MPH in a 35 MPH zone. In addition, they have issued three warnings to other drivers, and multiple notices to drivers of four-wheelers on township roads.

Samec noted that Hiram Township residents should contact their township trustees with concerns related to continued traffic violations and areas of concerns, as complaints will be assessed for Hiram Police Department’s township patrol duties. This agreement was achieved through cooperation between Hiram Village Council, and Hiram Township Trustees.

Per Road Supervisor Tom Matota, ODOT has issued a permit to construct a driveway at 6352 State Route 82, the site of the new property owned by the township. ODOT has, however, noted its “concern for site distance” of the chosen location. Matota also noted that the site is clear of underground utilities, making excavation a less difficult process. In other news, Matota noted that the crew has been, “working around raindrops,” to do chip and seal work on township roads. He also noted that at 12 miles, it’s more chip and seal work than the township crew has done in previous years.

Lastly, trustees went into executive session, per Ohio Revised Code regulations. Afterwards, Trustee Kathy Schulda announced that Township Fiscal Officer Stan Carlisle resigned his position as of July 18th. In his place, trustees have hired former Hiram Township Fiscal Officer Diane Rohde. Rohde served as Hiram Township’s Fiscal Officer upon the retirement of Fiscal Officer Dough Brewer, in June of 2011. Rohde will serve the remainder of Carlisle’s term, which expires next fall, according to Schulda. Meanwhile, the township has an extension of six weeks to get their 2015 operating budget submitted to Auditor of State David Yost.

The next meeting of the Hiram Township Trustees will be on Tuesday, August 5th at 7 pm. in the Township Hall.

 

Copper

Hiram – Meet “Copper”, the newest addition to the Hiram Police Department. Copper is now Hiram Police Department’s mascot and will be at Hiram PD’s community events. We hold many community programs and thought the idea of having a mascot attend the events would be a wonderful addition.

Copper is the creation of Hiram PD Officer Steve Chapman and his fiancé Brooke Poloskey. Steve and Brooke are very committed to Hiram PD’s community programs, Brooke attends every event Hiram PD holds to support Hiram PD and the community. Brooke is “Copper”, she has a very high level of energy and she is very friendly, she is a great fit to be “Copper”. Copper can be seen at Hiram PD community events hugging kids, passing out kid friendly items, shaking hands, and posing for pictures. Copper will be in attendanceat Hiram Police Department’s 3rd Annual  “Cops and Kids Fishing Day” on August 23rd at Camp Asbury in Hiram 9:00am – 2:00pm.

Come spend the day with your Hiram Police Department Police Officers and Copper, and have fun fishing. The event is free, open to everyone, bait and lunch will be provided, there will be prizes and plenty of family fun!!

Nelson Twp. – Officials present at the July 16, 2014 trustee meeting were fiscal officer J. David Finney and township trustees Joe Leonard, Mike Elias, and Tom Matota. Also present were, Roads Supervisor Chuck Vanek, Zoning Inspector Anna Mae VanDerHoeven, and Community House Caretaker James Cmunt.

Elias made a motion to accept the minutes from the previous  meeting as presented; the motion was seconded by Matota, and all approved.

Finney presented the trustees with bills and wages to be paid totaling $14,557.73. A motion to pay the bills and wages was made by Elias and seconded by Leonard. The motion carried unanimously.

Vanek reported that the tractor is done; the dealer will be running it for approximately two hours on July 17th to ensure nothing breaks on it. Vanek also informed the trustees that the waterline on the old tractor, that is slated to be auctioned off, started leaking on July 14th. Repairs will be made in-house prior to the auction. It was also mentioned that the playground area at Pixley Park has been seeded and mulched.

Elias reported that Vanek had brought the booth for the county fair down, but there is some work that needs to be done on it. As of now, Elias does not feel that he would put it up. Elias plans to spruce it up, and update pictures and content.  Elias also relayed information he learned while attending the Solid Waste Management District meeting. A plan for the district has not been finalized, but it remains pretty similar to the old plan. In the new plan communities could participate in a consortium, allowing them to participate in curbside pickup for both trash and recyclables. In regards to the Nelson racetrack, Elias has spoken with the County Health Department; which has filed suit agains the racetrack, calling the tires and other debris refuse. As of last year, the owners of the racetrack were looking at a fine of $100/day per day they were in violation of regulations.

Leonard informed everyone that the Salt Barn is slated to be finished by the 28th; and on an unrelated note mentioned that he would like to come up with some simple rules for Pixley Park. Over the last few months Leonard has noticed that pet owners are not cleaning up droppings from their dogs‚ leaving feces scattered throughout the grassy areas near the ball field and playground. He would like to propose a no pet policy for the park.  More research will need to be done on establishing policies for the park, and he will be working with Finney to find some examples that could be built upon.

Finney provided the trustees with suggested supplemental appropriations to the Township budget that will free up $85,000 for use on the chip & seal project. By dropping part 5 from the project, only $84,576.20 would be needed for chip & seal work on Township roads. Matota made a motion to change the appropriations as listed, Elias seconded. The trustees also voted to award  Hughes Contracting the contract for parts 1 through 4.

Nelson Trustees meet on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 7 p.m. in the Community House.  Meetings are open to the public and residents are encouraged to attend.

 

Garrettsville – Council met July 9, 2014 for their regularly scheduled village council meeting.  A public hearing was held prior to the start of regular business for proposed Ordinance 2014-25, the Village of Garrettsville proposed tax budget for 2015.  No residents were present and no comments were made.

Minutes from last month’s meeting were approved and council reviewed revenue, expenditure, cash balance and income tax reports.  Comments were made about expenditures exceeding revenue on the monthly report and Councilman Hadzinsky commented that historically June is a low revenue month.  Village clerk Nancy Baldwin reminded council that the biggest reason expenditure has been high the past few months is because of the curbing and sidewalk projects that have been completed.  (Baldwin went on to say after the council meeting that most projects for the village are completed in the summer months, which consequently mean higher expenditures.  However that doesn’t mean the village is operating in the red, quite the contrary.  According to Baldwin, the village finances are solid.)

Council went on to approve Ordinance 2014-25 setting the 2015 village tax budget, Ordinance 2014-27 that renews a 20 year lease with East Ohio Gas Company for a box near the police station, and Ordinance 2014-28 which has to do with employee compensation changes and to make them coincide with existing pay periods.

During round table discussion, Council President, Tom Hardesty, updated everyone on the status of the puddling issues with the completion of the Windham street paving project.  The state will make sure the problems are corrected.  Hardesty also stated that the village’s next improvement project is to construct curbing on the east side of South Street from the top of the hill to the library entrance.  He is waiting on estimates, but the cost should not exceed the budgeted amount.  Council passed a motion to proceed with the project.

Councilwoman Anderson proposed  that council consider an annual ‘contest’ for property owners in the village for ‘most/best improved property’ as well as ‘best landscaping’.  Her suggestion included possibly asking the garden club to assist with choosing criteria and winners.  Council unanimously thought it a good idea and asked Anderson to pursue the idea.

Next the mayor informed council he had a schedule conflict for the scheduled August council meeting as asked them to consider changing the date and time.  After some discussion, it was determined that it would be difficult to get all council members to attend for the alternate meeting dates proposed and no decision was made on rescheduling.

Councilwoman Harrington brought up the survey that the Village Services Visionary Group has put together.  The plan is to have the surveys available at the post office, library and village clerk’s office sometime toward the end of July.

At the close of roundtable discussion, the mayor asked for input or comments from the audience.  Village tax clerk Valerie McCullough brought up the subject of delinquent taxpayers in the village and her frustration in getting them to pay their taxes.  She asked for suggestions in how to better deal with some of the problems she encounters.  McCullough stated that there are currently 101 people on delinquent tax repayment plans accounting for approximately $156,000 in uncollected revenue over the past five tax years.  Once the repayment plan has been agreed to, all penalties and interest are stopped and repayment is based on the principal owed.  Penalties and interest are currently not reinstated for those that have defaulted on a repayment plan.  McCullough says she plans to investigate the legality of reinstating the monetary penalties for those that default on repayment as well as the functionality of the income tax software the village uses in addressing these issues.

McCullough’s biggest frustration is with those who agree to a repayment plan (with or without court action) and then quit paying only a few payments in.   Solicitor Michelle Stuck stated she would be glad to write letters reminding the offenders of their obligation and that she would pursue legal action through the criminal court system.  Stuck also said that for those defaulting on repayment plans who have already been to court, she would take them back to court and seek a conviction.    McCullough also said that there are another 55 residents who have not filed for 2013 owing approximately $56,000.

At the end of the discussion, Council adjourned to executive session to discuss personnel issues.

If you’d like to know more of what is happening in your community attend a meeting.  The next regular Village Council meeting is currently scheduled for August 13, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.

 

Windham - The WVFD Joint Fire District Board met for their regularly scheduled meeting on July 11, 2014 with members Dann Timmons, Debbie Blewitt and Ron Kilgore, along with Fiscal Officer Jayme Neikirk in attendance. Two members were unavailable for the meeting.

The board approved the minutes, June bank reconciliation and expenditures before moving on to approve 2015 budget.  The board also approved the county certificate for placing a renewal 4 mill levy on the ballot in November.

In the chief’s report, Mike Iwanyckyj reported that they were awarded a grant for nearly $53,000, which has to be used for training.  Timmons suggested they develop another plan for purchasing new trucks, as it appears that grant money for large equipment seems to be drying up. The board will discuss this over the next few months and develop a plan of action for large equipment purchases. Chief Iwanyckyj said he will apply for the large equipment grant again in the fall. He said his sources say that they have a good chance to receive one. Iwanyckyj also reported that that truck 2815 had the shifter cable replaced and some electrical work done, truck 2818 had bad valve replaced and brakes done and the rescue unit had a windshield replaced due to  stone damage. He also reported that truck 2817 will need tires before winter.  The department is in need of new fire hoses and the chief will get estimates for that.

The board approved the chief’s recommendation of Jacob Bowden, and Tracey Rowe as EMT /fire fighter and Chad Mosier as firefighter.  Welcome to the WVFD!

Lastly, Iwanyckyj reported that they had eight calls on  July 11, 2014 and, as of July 11th, 398 calls year-to-date.

Residents asked about dispatching costs and it is estimated that with the current call volume they are on pace exceed last years call volume at an expense of about $25,000 for 2014.

The next fire board meeting is scheduled for August 14, 2014 at 7pm.

 

Nelson Twp – Officials present at the July 2, 2014 trustee meeting were fiscal officer J. David Finney and township trustees Joe Leonard, Mike Elias, and Tom Matota. Also present were Roads Supervisor Chuck Vanek, Zoning Inspector Anna Mae VanDerHoeven.

Elias made a motion to accept the minutes from the previous meeting as presented; the motion was seconded by Matota, and all approved.

Finney presented the trustees with bills and wages to be paid totaling $18,178.74. A motion to pay the bills and wages was made by Elias and seconded by Leonard. The motion carried unanimously.

Finney reported that he had received three bids from the advertisement of the chip & seal projects. The trustees opened the sealed bids at the meeting and briefly reviewed each. The first bid received came from Hughes Contracting Incorporated who submitted a bid totaling $109,042.60.  Of that figure, Norton Road accounted for $24,466.40. The second bid was received from H. Luli Construction Company whose bid came in at $118,449.27, of which the double chip & sealing of Norton Road comprised $26,739.80. The final bid was received from Ronyak Paving Incorporated and totaled 166,194.20; Norton comprised $38,559.30 of that bid. Finney recommended that the trustees hold off on making any decisions about the bids until the next meeting so that he can take a look at the numbers and see how they fall in line with the budget. In a worst-case scenario, the conversion of Norton Road from a gravel road to a chip and sealed road would be put off for another year.

Following the opening of the sealed bids for the roads, Finney walked the trustees through a comparison between the budget appropriations and the budget. Finney stated that he feels that his estimates for the year have been “pretty close” as the Township is at about the point he predicted it would be for the first half of the year. Around 57% of revenue has been received, and the Township’s expenditures are currently around $238,000 with a $280,000 unencumbered balance.

Matota asked VanDerHoeven to clarify some notes in her report for him. Matota also asked VanDerHoeven whether there have been any applications for home business permits; there have not. Elias expressed an interest in having new home construction tracked to see how quickly the Township is growing.

Vanek reported that the new mower is shipping out and should be attached to the tractor soon. He informed the trustees that Cope would charge $450 for delivery of the new tractor. Matota asked if any progress has been made on getting the current tractor into the auction. Vanek replied that Chalker’s Auction just needs a photo to be able to list it, as the rest of the information, including reserve price, is ready to go. Matota informed those present that he had met with an ODOT Rep, and that the rep spoke very highly of Vanek. Matota then asked about the playground concrete work; he is concerned that there are some sharp edges in the cement footers, and asked Vanek to have his guys break down some of the ridges before they are covered with fill & mulch.

Matota reported that he reached out to the parties involved on Shanks-Down Road. Everyone seems to be on board at this time. Meduri will be taking the lead on creating a document for all parties to sign. Trumbull & Portage counties both want to move on the vacating of Shanks-Down Road.  Matota also attended a meeting with the solid waste District and their plan for recycling. Portage County is in a situation where the Portage County Solid Waste District is going to have to invest resources and become a viable waste management system, or they will have to work with private haulers. There will be a public meeting on July 16th at 11:00 AM in the County Administration Building with the County Commissioners and representatives of the Waste District for public input. Anyone curious or concerned about the changes to the waste management program should attend. According to Matota the Solid Waste District would like to push communities to a curbside recycling program that is paid for by the residents.

Elias reported that Larry Limpert had mentioned that putting No Parking signs along Bloom Road would be beneficial to helping curb problematic activity at the Quarry Park.  Limpert brought the issue to Elias’ attention because people are parking on the road and walking over to the Quarry Park. If signage prohibiting parking was present, citations could be issued, and the issue would likely resolve itself. Matota recommend getting Meduri involved as there may be legal hoops that need to be jumped through. Possibly a resolution to prohibit parking. On the subject of the abandoned house, unkempt property, and scrapped car on Nelson Circle,  Meduri recommended that the Township send a letter. Elias will work with Finney to draft a letter for the trustees to sign.  Elias also brought a concern about mosquitos at the Nelson Racetrack to the attention of the other trustees. Elias will notify the Health Department who will then notify the current property owner.

Leonard reported that the salt barn is running behind schedule due to the wet weather, and Finney mentioned that Vanek had suggested sealing the concrete before filling the barn with salt. Vanek has also put together a rough estimate for the materials necessary to install the drains and floor of the building. Leonard informed the other trustees that the trees for Pixley Park will still be received, however this year’s excessively wet weather has delayed their transport until autumn.  Leonard also reported that the Portage County Sheriff’s Department, local police forces, and the Portage County Drug Task Force would have a very heavy presence in the area through Sunday. They are working to curb the drug activity surrounding events at the Quarry Park.

Following the signing of checks to pay bills and wages the meeting was adjourned.

Nelson Trustees meet on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 7 p.m. in the Community House.  Meetings are open to the public and residents are encourage to attend.

Nelson Twp – Officials present at the June 4, 2014 trustee meeting were fiscal officer J. David Finney and township trustees Joe Leonard, Mike Elias, and Tom Matota. Also present were, Roads Supervisor Chuck Vanek, Zoning Inspector Anna Mae VanDerHoeven, and Community House Caretaker Michelle Cmunt.

Non-violent inmates from the Portage County Jail worked alongside township employees, and a PlayWorld Systems specialist to erect the township’s playground equipment at Pixley Park on June 19th. The playground is expected to be ready for use by the second week of July. Photo: Benjamin Coll, Staff Reporter

Non-violent inmates from the Portage County Jail worked alongside township employees, and a PlayWorld Systems specialist to erect the township’s playground equipment at Pixley Park on June 19th. The playground is expected to be ready for use by the second week of July.

Photo: Benjamin Coll, Staff Reporter

Finney presented the trustees with copies of the minutes of their June 4th meeting. Matota made a motion to accept them as presented; Elias seconded the motion. Finney then made the trustees aware of the bank reconciliation for the month of May and that there were “no surprises inside.” Finney then presented the trustees with $13,342.80 in expenses documented in the bills and wages to be paid. Matota moved to pay the bills as presented; Elias seconded the motion, and all voted in favor. Matota asked about a charge from Buckeye Bulk to which Vanek replied. Buckeye Bulk is the trucking company used by the township for small-batch orders of aggregate. The trustees also received renewal information from Medical Mutual for healthcare coverage in 2014. There was an 8% increase in premiums, however the coverage offered will remain the same.

In township Zoning news, an open hearing has been scheduled regarding the rezoning of the Bonner property (site of the old turkey farm). The meeting will be held on July 2nd, at 6:45PM to discuss the change from R1 to R2.

Finney mentioned that the township’s Financial Audit has been posted on Auditor of State’s website. FInney also had a physical copy available at the meeting for anyone who wanted to take a peek at the report.

Non-violent inmates from the Portage County Jail worked alongside township employees, and a PlayWorld Systems specialist to erect the township’s playground equipment at Pixley Park on June 19th. The playground is expected to be ready for use by the second week of July. Photo: Benjamin Coll, Staff Reporter

Non-violent inmates from the Portage County Jail worked alongside township employees, and a PlayWorld Systems specialist to erect the township’s playground equipment at Pixley Park on June 19th. The playground is expected to be ready for use by the second week of July.

Photo: Benjamin Coll, Staff Reporter

Vanek reported that he had received a request for a slow sign for the curve by old Christmas Tree Farm on Hopkins due to increased traffic, and cars travelling at excessive speeds. The speed limit for non-signed roads in the township is 55 MPH, so setting a speed limit was not an option. Matota recommended a 25mph advisory plate. However it was ultimately decided that 35mph advisory warning plate would be purchased instead. Vanek also reported that asphault patching on Prentiss is underway.

Matota volunteered to take the helm of vacating Shanks-Down road. He will reach out to all of the involved entities to see what their intentions are.

Leonard reported that non-violent inmates from the Portage County Jail would be helping with the installation of the Pixley Park Playground on June 19th.  He also mentioned that work on the Salt Barn should start back up the week of June 23rd.

Following the signing of checks, the meeting was adjourned. If you would like to know more about what is going on in your community, plan to attend township meetings. The trustees meet the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 7:00PM in the Nelson Community House.

 

HFD Assistant Chief Mark Kozak welcomed Firefighter/EMTs Austin Grube and Jason Dailey to the Hiram Fire Department Photo: Stacy Turner, Contributing Reporter

HFD Assistant Chief Mark Kozak welcomed Firefighter/EMTs Austin Grube and Jason Dailey to the Hiram Fire Department

Photo: Stacy Turner, Contributing Reporter

Hiram – At the start of the last meeting of Village Council, Mayor Lou Bertrand swore in two new Firefighter/EMTs to the Hiram Fire Department: Austin Grube and Jason Dailey. Both gentlemen join the Village with training as firefighters and EMTs and will be a welcome addition to the HFD team. Assistant Chief Mark Kozak also noted that the fire truck purchased by the HFD from the Aurora Fire Department has been refurbished and is currently in service.

In his report, Police Chief Ed Samec reported that his Department has received a $2,000 grant from the Hiram Community Trust. The money will be used for the ‘Shop with a Cop’ program. In addition, Chief Samec reported that his Department has grown by two additional officers — Officer Brittnee Wolf and Officer Keith Whan. In addition, Samec reported that Click or Ticket event in May was a big success. During the event, the HPD rewarded motorists and passengers caught wearing their seatbelts, with vouchers for a free Maggie’s donut or a free ice cream cone from Garrettsville McDonalds. Approximately 1,000 vouchers were handed out during the event, which took place at the intersection of Wakefield and Garfield Roads.

In his report, Mayor Lou Bertrand conveyed that the Recreation and Park Board scheduled a working session for Friday, June 20th beginning at 9:00 a.m. and invite input from Mr. Todd Peetz, of the County Planning Agency and Ms. Chris Craycroft, Director of the Portage County Parks and a representative from Akron Metropolitan Transit Study [AMATS]. In addition, the Mayor reported that Park Board members voted to merge the Hiram Recreation & Park Board with the Hiram Beautification Committee. The Mayor has requested that the Village Solicitor prepare such legislation that will be ready for first reading in September Council meeting. The next Park Board meeting will be held on July 11th at 8:30 am.

In addition, Mayor Bertrand reported that one bid for $ 65,432.10 was received for the purchase of the old fire hall. The bid, which was accepted by Council, was submitted by Dave Auble, owner of the Hiram Professional Building. Council will pass the necessary legislation on the matter at the next regularly scheduled Council meeting on July 8th at 7 pm. Lastly, the Mayor reported that planning for the upcoming July 4th festivities have begun. He announced that family activities and a concert on July 3rd at 7:30 would precede the customary firework display that night at roughly 9:30 pm. The festivities will continue on July 4th, with a games, activites, and the grand parade, which steps off at 1:30 pm. The Fourth of July Planning Committee will meet at Bonney Castle on Friday, June 13th at 8:30 a.m.

In legislation, Council approved an agreement with Hiram Township for traffic enforcement services. This agreement will allow the Village Police Department to provide services to Township residents approximately ten hours per week. Police Chief Samec noted that an agreement of this sort had been in discussion since 1991, stating it was a “huge deal” that Council and the Township were finally able to come to a mutually agreeable arrangement.

Lastly, Council has scheduled a Budget Hearing at 6:45 pm on July 8th, immediately preceding the next regularly schedule Council meeting. The purpose of this hearing is to approve the Village’s 2015 Budget, which is due to be filed with the County by July 20th, as stipulated in the Ohio Revised Code.

Garrettsville –  Council met June 11, 2014 for their regularly scheduled village council meeting.  The addenda and the meeting were both brief.

After approving the minutes from last months meeting council reviewed revenue, expenditure, cash balance and income tax reports.  Comments from members of council indicated they were pleased to see income tax numbers were increased.  Councilman Hadzinsky also commented that the village was “in the black” and trends looked optimistic.

In other business after a short discussion council decided to leave proposed ordinance 2014-14 (about compensatory time) tabled.  They also authorized the village clerk to pay overages on the bill for concrete that was poured on Windham St. due to fuel increases and to pay the invoice from the Portage County Development Board who is responsible for the administration of the village’s tax abatement program in Garrettsville’s enterprise zones.

During round table discussion, Mayor Patrick gave an update on the Liberty Street bridge project.  He said he was told that it should be opened to traffic by the end of the month, just in time for Summerfest.  He also stated that the village’s streets supervisor would be contacting Nelson Township trustees to co-ordinate the chip/seal scheduled to begin in July for Brosius Rd.

The mayor also gave an update from the last Planning Commission meeting.  He said builder Mike Maschek showed his plans for the recently purchased feed mill at the east end of Main St.  Demolition has already begun and should be completed by Summerfest.  He also reported that the Pizza Hut construction has started and block is already being laid.  The Mayor announced that Jeff Shehan was sworn in as a member of Planning Commission, he replaces Don Harvey.

Councilwoman Harrington gave a brief update on the Village Services Vision Committee.  She stated that they are revamping the survey questions that were used at last year’s business showcase and will be asking residents to fill out a new survey.  They plan is to have the surveys available for next month’s council meeting to get approval and then distribute them out to the community.  The survey will also be available on the Village’s website: http://www.garrettsville.org.

Council adjourned to executive session to discuss personnel.

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 July 9, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.

 

Mantua Township – If you’re a community-minded individual who is looking to help make a difference for fellow residents, than the Mantua Township Trustees want to hear from you. They’re looking for your help to transform a historic gem into a vibrant community resource. You may remember that late last year, the Portage County Regional Planning Commission (RPC) was asked by Township Trustees to solicit community wants and needs regarding the potential renovation of the Mantua Center School property. 

Mantua – The Village of Mantua Service Department is pleased to announce that it has implemented a new emergency alert system to notify residents and business owners of critical, time sensitive information.  The system works very much like the ones that Crestwood Schools and several surrounding communities have adopted.  Alerts may address water line emergencies, planned water line work, road closures, critical safety information, etc.  You will be able to choose to receive the updates by text message, e-mail or voice call.

The easiest way to sign up is to go to the AMG Alerts link on the left hand side of the Village’s homepage www.mantuavillage.com.  The sign-up page will ask for your most current contact information as well as your contact preferences.  If you cannot get to a computer, call Village Hall at (330) 274-8776 and we will help you through the process.  Sign up is optional, however we will soon start using the alerts instead of going door to door with notices.

 

Windham – Windham Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting Thursday June 5, 2014. The trustees approved the May minutes as presented, and the expenditures for that month as well.

Guest Josh Johnston presented rough ideas and cost for maintaining and updating the website. After some discussion the trustees unanimously agreed to award Josh the job of rebuilding the website and maintaining it. Josh currently does Hiram Township’s website and was recommended by trustee Rich Gano.

Road Supervisor Brian Miller met with the county engineers and after viewing the township’s roads the engineer recommended the trustees chip and seal Colton Road and then consider Bryant Road. After some discussion, the trustees decided to look at chip and sealing Colton, and crack fill Bryant, Wadsworth and Werger Roads. Next year, they will consider chip and sealing Bryant Road.  The Trustees will contact Hard Labor about the crack filling. Miller will get bid books from the county auditor for bidding out the chip and seal project.

A discussion was held on Mr. Soinski’s proposed the cul-de-sac, at the end of Frazier Road. Miller thinks the township needs to put some kind of barrier up to prevent township residents from using the vacated portion of Frazier Road for walking etc. Dann Timmons said, right now they really can’t plan to do anything until they see the engineered drawings for the project. Timmons will contact Mr. Soinski on the issue to see if he is planning a barrier for the road.

A discussion was held once again, about township residents living on village roads who are not having any success getting the village to answer to their complaints about road and drainage issues.  Currently the township’s hands are tied since they do not own the road or its right-a-way. Other road issues discussed were the lack of visibility at the end of Wadsworth Road and a few ditching issues.

In zoning news, Inspector Joe Pinti said he wrote three permits last month, one for a garage and two for decks. Pinti said he is continuing to monitor Horner’s property and they are slowly getting rid of the junk he has accumulated recently.

In cemetery news, the foundations are poured, and 78 new graves are laid out. The south drive needs some attention at the curve in the back. After some discussion, the trustees agreed to have the driveway repaired. A resident who has an engineering degree has offered to look at drainage issues and offer some suggestions how to solve the issue. Trustees agreed to take him up on the offer.

Timmons reported that the fire board approved the purchase of a lap top for the chief, and put the discussion of pursuing legal action on the table as there weren’t enough board members in attendance to have a quorum. Two of the members are not eligible to vote on the issue as they have a conflict of interest.  Timmons also reported that the WVFD was awarded the contract to service the Portage County and Trumbull County portions of Camp Ravenna. The chief is currently working on setting up mutual aid for Camp Ravenna.

A question was asked about the “No Parking” signs for Geneva Road. The signs are in and will be posted soon.

The meeting was adjourned and the next scheduled meeting is for July 3, 2014 at 7pm. All meetings are held at the Windham Town Hall.

 

Nelson Twp – Officials present at the June 4th, 2014 trustee meeting were fiscal officer J. David Finney and township trustees Joe Leonard, Mike Elias, and Tom Matota. Also present were, Roads Supervisor Chuck Vanek, Zoning Inspector Anna Mae VanDerHoeven, and Community House Caretaker Michelle Cmunt.

Dave Freiss, chief of the Garrettsville Freedom Nelson Joint Fire District, requested use of the Nelson Community House on September 21st. The building will be utilized as a meeting location for the fire district’s training exercises in nearby Nelson Kennedy Ledges. The Community House will also be utilized as the location for lunch, and bathrooms so people can get cleaned up. Parkman, Troy, Hiram, Windham, and Mantua fire departments have also been invited to attend the training session. Helicopters will be landed in the archery field, and  water rescue training will be held in the Quarry Park. Leonard made a motion to allow use of Community House on September 21st at no charge. Matota seconded the motion, and it was unanimously approved.

Finney presented the trustees with the minutes of the May 21st meeting. Matota made a motion to approve them as presented, which was seconded by Elias.  Finney then presented the trustees with bills and wages to be paid totaling $15,214.63. Elias made motion to pay them as presented, and the motion was seconded by Leonard.

Finney provided the trustees with information he had received from an “incentivizer”. An incentivizer tracks down financial incentives from electric companies in exchange for a percentage of the incentive money received by the township. After presenting the information to the trustees, Finney offered no advise either way. Leonard suggested tabling the issue until it could be researched further. All trustees were in agreement.

Finney then presented the information required for the hiring of Richard Bailey as a part-time township employee. Leonard made a motion to hire Baily at the same $12.25 rate as the previous part-time hire. All voted to approve the motion.

Matota reported that he has spoken with the township’s insurer regarding volunteer projects on township property, and that they recommended the township put a “hold harmless” agreement in place. Meduri provided feedback, and a few examples of hold harmless waiver for the trustees to build on. It has become a township policy that any time the township has people get involved with township projects, a hold harmless waiver must be signed.

Vanek received the revised information for township chip and seal projects. The specifications for the road project are still incorrect, despite Vanek sending the requirements for the projects to the County Engineer’s office multiple times. The incorrect information is causing a delay in bidding out road projects. Matota offered to make a trip to the County Engineer’s office to get things straightened out in person. Vanek also reported that the new part-time employees have been working well. His crew made first total pass of 2014 on all township roads, and they will be working alongside the crew from Garrettsville to birm Brosius Road.

VanDerHoeven handed in the zoning report, and reported that she had been in touch with Lisa at Regional Planning. No asbestos is present at any of the four properties listed in the latest Move Ohio Forward project. After the two week notification process, demolition can begin.

The trustees approved making an attempt at selling the boom mower for a $15,500 minimum on consignment at Chalker’s Auction in August. The funds from the sale could then be used to pave the way for the purchase of a much-needed replacement.

Leonard would like to order $600 worth of infield dirt from Brugmans. All trustees voted to approve the expense

An estimate on the fuel tank has been received in the amount of $17,615 but does not include tanks or electrical hookup. Leonard would like to rethink the installation on the project and have the road crew perform the installation. The project, as bid, would exceed $24,000 by the sole outside bidder (it’s a small job, and based on the estimate the bidder knows few others want the gig). The trustees reviewed the estimate. Elias will be getting in touch with the company that was supposed to be finding bids, and see where they are at in the process.

Leonard reported that 10 prisoners, courtesy of the Portage County Sheriff’s Office, would install the Pixley Park playground equipment on June 19th.

Following the signing of the checks the meeting was adjourned.

 

 

bikesHiram – The Hiram Police Department is educating children on the importance of wearing a bike helmet. Chief Ed Samec announced that the Hiram Police Department is participating in the AAA Helmet Smart Program again this year. Helmet Smart is a unique program for promoting bicycle helmet usage through positive reinforcement.  Hiram police officers will issue “safety citations” when they see children wearing a bike helmet while riding a bicycle. The “safety citations” can be redeemed at Hiram Gioninos, also AAA will also be holding drawings throughout the summer for children who mail a portion of their “safety citation” back to AAA. These children will have a chance to win new bicycles.

Every year more than 500,000 children are rushed to hospital emergency rooms due to bicycle injuries, with one third of the injuries being to the head and brain. In fact, head injuries are involved in nearly 85 percent of all bicycle fatalities. Children who do not wear their bike helmet are 14 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than children wearing a helmet. “It’s interesting to note that crashes happen close to home on sidewalks, in parks, on bike paths, or driveways and do not involve motor vehicles,” said Chief Samec. “We want to stress to children and parents a bike is a vehicle and not a toy. Using helmets reduces the risk of brain injury by 85 percent and can prevent tragic life-long consequences.

Hiram Village Mayor Lou Bertrand said, “There are a lot of children that enjoy riding bicycles in Hiram. I am a strong proponent of the Helmet Smart program and I am pleased that our police department takes a proactive approach to safety.”

Hiram police officers will be issuing the safety citations along with parent/child safety pledges, and example forms that show correct use of a bike helmet and literature.

Hiram – At a recent meeting of the Hiram Village Council, Village resident Susan Merrill thanked Council for the effectiveness of the emergency siren that sounded during a recent storm. But she inquired as to how people without cell phones and radio or television reception would know when an emergency is over. This prompted a discussion about whether a long blast of the siren could signify an emergency, while another, shorter blast could signify an “all clear”. This topic will be discussed at the next Safety Committee meeting, and their recommendations will be presented to Council at an upcoming meeting.

Next, Township Trustee Kathy Schulda shared that the Township Trustees are in the process of reviewing a proposed contract between the Township and the Hiram Village Police Department. Under the terms of the contract, the Township would agree to hire the Village Police Department for 10 hours per week from June through December of 2014. This time would be spent on traffic enforcement, in high-visibility and targeted areas, and would not detract from services provided in the Village. The proposed effective date of the contract will be June 18th, allowing time for both Village Council and Township Trustees to approve this resolution. Currently, Township residents needing law enforcement assistance must call the Portage County Sherriff’s office.

Later, in his report, Mayor Bertrand reported that Chairman Norm Christley had canceled the Planning & Zoning meeting scheduled from May 6th due to no pending business. Further, he advised Council of his recommendation that the Village Recreation and Park Board request input from Todd Peetz at Regional Planning and Chris Craycroft from Portage Parks prior to putting forth proposed resolutions regarding the planned development of the Hiram School Park property. On the matter of the AMATS Sidewalk Grant, the Mayor reported that the Village received an estimate to construct the new sidewalks in Hiram at $336,000. This amount includes the cost of $43,515 in engineering fees, and an AMATS grant of $268,000, making the local cost share estimated at: $67,200. In addition, the Mayor noted that the Village is currently accepting bids to sell the old Fire Hall located near the Village Post Office. Bids will be opened at noon on June 9th.

Lastly, Mayor Bertrand noted that planning had begun for Hiram’s Fourth of July festivities. As in previous years, Dr. Willard Greenwood will be taking the lead, with assistance from Council member Chris Cobb, Fire Chief Bill Byers, Police Chief Ed Samec, Village Administrator Bob Wood, and additional volunteers. For more information, contact the Mayor’s office at (330) 569-7677.

In other news, it was noted that the Hiram Corner Store and Café, formerly known as Fire & Ice, has applied for a liquor license. Council approved the application, pending Zoning Inspector approval that the proposed usage is appropriate and in compliance with Village codes and ordinances. In legislation, Council approved Resolutions renewing an existing Tax Levy for EMS and Fire Fighting purposes, and authorized an agreement between the Village and the College for work on a hike and bike trail.

The next meeting of the Hiram Village Council will be held on Tuesday, June 10th at 7 pm.

 

Mantua – At the last meeting of the Mantua Village Council, Village resident Jim Oster, requested Council’s approval on behalf of the DMRC, to post a banner spanning Main Street to promote the Art on the Hill event. Council agreed unanimously to grant this request, pending Zoning approval, specifying that the banner is removed three days after the event. DMRC has already received approval from the two landowners where the proposed banner would be affixed. Art on the Hill will take place in Mantua on Saturday, July 12th from 10 am – 6 pm.

In addition, Beth Sluka spoke to Council on behalf of the Mantua Potato Festival Committee. Ms. Sluka requested permission for the Festival to have fireworks at this year’s event. The proposed location across the river from Buchert Park, near the service building, was deemed unsafe, as it is too near the propane pipeline. The Potato Festival Committee will work with the Mayor, Village Administrator, Police Chief and Fire Chief to identify another, more-suitable location.

In other news, the Soapbox Derby will be held at the Buchert Park on Saturday, June 14th. The race takes place on High Street, near the park. Later that month, the Boy Scouts will hold a flag burning ceremony in conjunction with American Legion Post 193 at the Park on June 21st at 11 am. Any wishing to properly dispose of an American flag that has been worn beyond repair is encouraged to bring it to the Park and take part in the ceremony.

In her Financial Report, Fiscal Officer Jenny August reported that $100 was donated to the park fund by Dave Pifer in memory of his sister, Ruthie Pifer Aldrich. In addition, $1,290 was donated to the Cemetery Board in her honor. A public hearing was scheduled on June 17th at 6:45 pm for the purpose of approving and adopting a permanent budget for 2015. This hearing will be immediately followed by the regularly scheduled Council meeting.

Council is entertaining a Resolution for a five-year, 3.85 MILL tax levy for general construction, resurfacing, and repair of streets, roads, and bridges within the Village. The proposed levy would cost taxpayers an estimated $12 per $100,000 home. Lastly, Village Engineer Rich Iafelice reported that his team had visited the water treatment and wastewater treatment plants. They have developed a list of necessary repairs and will work with Council to prioritize the tasks and funds needed. Some of the projects and costs involved may help the Village qualify for a grant through Ohio Public Works Commission.

Councilman Bill Zoller reported, on behalf of the Fire Board, that Mantua-Shalerville Fire Department received an upgrade to its Insurance Services rating. Based on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the best ranking, Departments are judged on performance, speed, efficiency and training. As of May 1st, 2014, the MSFD now ranks at a 4/4y. The last score received by the MSFD was a ranking of 6/9 in 1994.This phenomenal improvement in ISO rating should lead to a decrease in insurance premiums for property owners in the Mantua-Shalersville community.  Residents are encouraged to contact their insurance companies to determine if the new ISO rating will decrease their premiums.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Mantua Village Council is Tuesday, June 17th at 7 pm.

 

Hiram Twp. – At a recent meeting of the Hiram Township Trustees, there was a brief discussion regarding the tax issue between township employees and the Village of Hiram. Road Supervisor Tom Matota shared some questions raised by his crew. After a brief discussion, it was agreed that Service Department employees would forward their questions to Chairwoman Kathy Schulda, who would, in turn, follow up with Village Solicitor, Thomas Reitz. It was decided, however, that from this point forward, the crew would keep track of the time they spend within the village versus within the township. Further, Fiscal Officer Stan Carlisle will withhold local taxes from each paycheck based on the documented number of hours reported.

In other news, Road Supervisor Matota reported that his crew would begin mowing along roadsides and the cemetery very soon. They had been busy trimming trees and doing patchwork on winter-damaged roads. In addition, Mr. Matota will be working with the league manager to discuss maintenance plans and needs at the township’s baseball diamond in Hiram Rapids. The Port-O-John is now in place near the field. Trustee Steve Pancost will request a copy of the League’s insurance information to be filed.

In old business, the appropriate records have been organized and stored, and those no longer required were destroyed. Fiscal Officer Carlisle will file the appropriate paperwork to document this. The Board of Zoning has been asked to meet concerning distances of oil holding tanks from a home and the FHA VA standards. That meeting was scheduled for June 24th.

Shortly thereafter, the trustees went into executive session. When they resumed, Chairwoman Schulda announced that the trustees have reached an agreement to purchase 31 acres in Hiram Township on State Route 82, west of State Route 700.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Township Trustees will take place on Tuesday, June 3rd at 7 pm. In the Township Hall.

 

Mantua Twp. – In a recent meeting of the Mantua Township Trustees, Zoning Inspector John Dickey reported that he had issued verbal notices to 28 residents for excess, unlicensed vehicles. He also reported that the new signs were now posted in the proper locations at the LaDue Reserve development.

Cemetery Sexton Jim Aldrich reported that he has received $1,065 for foundation fees, 1,925 in burial fees, and $2,540 in grave fees. He also reported that the newly refreshed signs have been set in place. The trustees thanked Mr. Aldrich and the volunteers who accomplished the job.

Frank Horak reported on behalf of the Veteran’s Memorial Committee that they are in the final stages of preparation on the Memorial, and that plans are in place for the Memorial’s dedication on Monday, May 26th at noon, immediately following the Memorial Day parade and ceremony at the cemetery. The committee plans to use the Town Hall to display documents, and ask the Historical Society to open their museum for the occasion.

Later, Trustee Jason Carlton read an email from Assistant Chief Matt Roosa of the Mantua-Shalersville Fire Department asking him to let township residents know that the department received an upgrade to its insurance services rating. The email explained that on average, the ISO evaluates fire departments every 10 years.  The Fire Department was last evaluated in 1994. Based on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the best ranking, departments are judged on performance, speed, efficiency and training. The last score received by the MSFD was a ranking of 6/9. As of May 1st, 2014, however, the fire department ranks at a 4/4y. This phenomenal improvement in ISO rating should lead to a decrease in insurance premiums for property owners in the Mantua-Shalersville community, so residents are encouraged to contact their insurance companies to determine if the new ISO rating will decrease their premiums.

In other news, Fiscal Officer Marie Stehli requested a budget workshop to be held on June 10th at 7 pm, and a budget hearing to be held on July 3rd at 7pm, followed immediately by the regular trustee meeting. In addition, she requested that the trustee meeting originally scheduled for Thursday, July 17th be moved to Tuesday, July 15th due to scheduling conflicts.

Lastly, the trustees discussed the proposed road repair list, estimating that 4.76 miles of township roads will need chip and seal work, and 13.39 miles will require crack seal work.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Mantua Township Trustees will be held on June 5th at 7 pm in the Township Hall.

 

Last Wednesday, at the rescheduled May 21st village council meeting, council approved Ordinance 2014-13.  The new ordinance will increase water rates 7% on July 1, 2014, another 7% on January 1, 2015 and another 7% on January 1, 2016.  The Ordinance then allows for a 2% annual increase beginning January 2017.  These increases are for water rates only and will not affect sewer rates.  The increase in rates will help build cash reserves that are needed for replacement projects and any emergency repairs.  There are still some sections of 100+ year-old pipes awaiting replacement.

Council did say at the previous month’s meeting that they do have the authority to suspend a scheduled future  increase and said they will if sufficient funds are in reserve for capital improvements and repairs.

Mayor Patrick announced that the Portage County Commissioners awarded a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to the village.  Funds from the grant will be distributed in 2015 and will provide for streetscape improvements on Main Street that include new 14-foot wide sidewalks and new lighting.  The CDBG grant requires no matching funds from the village.  The village applied for the grant as part of an effort to rebuild Main Street after the devastating fire on March 22 that destroyed one quarter of downtown Main Street buildings.  The grant has nothing to do with the GARRETTSVILLESTRONG efforts for rebuilding organized by the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce.

In other business, council tabled Ordinance 2014-14, an Ordinance pertaining to compensatory time, and approved the following: Ordinance 2014-21, pertaining to compensation for the village solicitor when acting as the zoning inspector, Ordinance 2014-22 allowing the mayor and village clerk to sign plats for recording  the Fox Hollow subdivision, and Resolution 2014-23 authorizing a temporary change in employment status for the head dispatcher while she attends the Police Academy.  Council also approved a motion to allow the mayor to accept repaving bids for Brosius Rd.

Mayor Patrick announced that it is a “done deal” and Pizza Hut will be starting construction soon for their new store in the west end of Garfield Plaza.

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 June 11, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.

 

Nelson Twp – Officials present at the May 21, 2014 trustee meeting were fiscal officer J. David Finney and township trustees Joe Leonard, Mike Elias, and Tom Matota. Also present were, Roads Supervisor Chuck Vanek, Zoning Inspector Anna Mae VanDerHoeven.

After the meeting was called to order, Finney asked the Trustees whether there were any additions to the evening’s agenda. With no additions made, the meeting proceeded as scheduled.

Eric Thoren, Assistant Chief of the Garrettsville Freedom Nelson Joint Fire District, informed the trustees that the department had been elected to host a water shuttle training session. He was in attendance to request permission to make use of the Pixley Park parking lot to setup the equipment and pump water off. The department plans to shoot water off into the swampy area. Training would be scheduled for 8am on Sunday, June 8th and would last about 2 hours. Matota made a motion to allow the fire department “to do whatever they need to do” for their training exercise. All trustees voted in favor of the motion.

As the next order of business, Finney presented the trustees with copies of the May 7th meeting minutes, as well as the bills & wages to be paid, totaling  $52,103.24. The trustees also received copies of the fund status report; at the time of the meeting the townships pooled funds totaled over $353,584.77. Matota asked Finney to elaborate on a few items in the bills & wages. Elias made a motion to pay bills and wages as presented. All voted in favor.

Finney reported that he will need to make an appointment with the county engineer, as there seems to be a gap in communication regarding the road projects. The township is waiting on the engineer’s office to provide specifications for the roads, a wait that is impeding the township’s ability to set dates for advertising, receiving and opening job bids. Finney also mentioned that the mower and tractor purchase have been moving along thanks to assistance from Matota. Finney spoke with the tractor dealer who said the tractor has arrived and is being prepped. The mower should arrive for it by mid-June.

VanDerHoeven has talked to Lisa at Regional Planning about demolishing the structure (known locally as “the feral cat house”) on Newell Ledge Rd first. The vermin and numerous feral cats in the property are posing a great concern for neighboring property owners. Lisa also informed VanderHoeven that asbestos testing is currently being conducted at all properties. The results should be received by the end of May.

Vanek reported that Pure Ionics had no knowledge of selling the township the equipment in place at the Community House. The company had no record of the equipment. Matota would like to see the old equipment removed, especially if it’s not being used/not hooked up. Vanek also mentioned that his crew was getting things prepped for Memorial Day. They have also begun patching soft spots in roads. Matota asked about the new part-time positions, and Vanek responded that the first new hire is working well.

Elias reported that he had spoken with ODOT regarding Speed Limit on SR 305. He was informed by an ODOT representative that the amount of traffic on SR 305 is insufficient to change the speed limit. They are aware of the Amish population along the road, and the increased foot traffic, which was taken into account when setting the speed limit. ODOT will, however be putting up signs along the road to alert motorists of the presence of pedestrian, and buggy traffic.

Leonard reported that the playground equipment for Pixley Park has been delivered, and is ready to assemble. The goal is to have the equipment assembled sometime in June, and Leonard would like to have as many many volunteers from the community as possible.

Matota reported that he attended the County Engineer Association meeting. He presented the other trustees with information from the meeting.

Leonard reported that the Salt Barn footers are scheduled to be poured during the first week of June. He also reported that there has been some trouble getting people to quote the fuel tank project due to its small scope. The design for the fuel paddock has also changed slightly, which has the bollards moving to the face exterior.

The meeting was adjourned following the signing of checks.

Windham – The WVFD Joint Fire Board met on May 8th with one board member excused from the meeting. The board approved the minutes from the April meeting, the bank reconciliation and the expenditures.

Chief Mike Iwanyckyj stated that the WVFD was turned down for the Fire Marshall’s Grant, but were still in the running for the FEMA Grant. The chief also reported that the computer system will have to be switched over to EMS Charts. This system will allow all the reports to go directly to the billing company rather than the fiscal officer sending the information over.  He also reported that fire trucks 2811 and 2816 were repaired, truck 2815 need a shifter cable and has a minor electrical problem which is being repaired by John Sedensky in Nelson. Iwanyckyj also reported that he is working on the Mavis system for Camp Ravenna since the department has been contracted to cover the Trumbull County portion of the camp as well as the Portage County side of the camp.

In other board news, the board agreed to purchase a laptop for the chief’s use and a debit card for the fiscal officer to use. He also announced that the trucks were ready for the Memorial Day Parade.

Lastly, they held a discussion on Mark Finamore’s opinion on the dispatching contract with the village. Due to a lack of quorum of eligible board members to vote on the issue no decision was made. The three members that are eligible to make a decision on the issue were not all in attendance at the meeting. Deb Blewett  and Dann Timmons cannot vote on the issue, since they both have conflicts of interest.

With no other business to discuss the meeting was adjourned.

 

Mantua - At the April meeting of the Mantua Village Council, Mayor Clark announced that Mantua received a proclamation for Arbor Day denoting the Village as Tree City USA. This is the eighteenth year the Village has received this designation.  In addition, Mayor Clark announced that the current Zoning Inspector Devin Hale, has tendered his resignation, effective 4/30. The Mayor has two parties interested in the position, and is conducting interviews to fill the opening.

In other news, Council approved an ordinance to permit a transition to monthly water and sewer billing. This change means that both residential and commercial water and sewer customers will see a change from quarterly to monthly billing cycles. This change will take effect on June 1st.

In the Engineer’s Report, Mr. Iafelice reported that the Crestwood Sanitary Sewer project was delayed and scheduled to start on April 14th. Completion date remains at May 31st. He also reported that the bid date for the Sidewalk Engineering project on State Route 44 was on 4/24. Lastly, Iafelice asked Council for authorization for a fee of $2,500 for technical assistance, consultation and construction coordination of an EMA grant for storm sewer and pavement repairs and additional authorization for $1,000 for OPWC grant funds for work on the Village’s waterline. Council approved these requests.

In his Department Report, Chief Buchert requested Council’s approval to donate the Department’s unneeded light bar to the Mantua Shalersville Fire Department and an unused computer stand to the Hiram Police Department. Council approved these donations. On behalf of the Shade Tree Committee, Mr. Clark reported that the tree donations and presentation were ready for a presentation at Crestwood Schools. He asked the Council accept donations from Middlefield Bank, McDonalds and the Shade Tree Committee, which they did.

At the close of regular business, Council convened to Executive Session to discuss discipline of a public official. When Council reconvened, it was announced that a letter of reprimand would be issued to Hal Stamm for placing an improper street marker at Canada Road and State Route 44. Prior to the close of the meeting, Council set up a Special meeting on April 29th to discuss emergency legislation.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Mantua Village Council will be May 20th at 7 pm.

 

Windham Twp. – The Windham Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting on May 1, 2014 with all trustees, fiscal officer, five residents and one guest in attendance. The trustees approved the minutes and expenditures for the month of April.

This old church on Silica Sand  Road  has  been the subject of complaints and discussions over the course of the year, especially the last two trustee meetings. The trustees are looking into getting a Community Block Grant to have the structure demolished.

This old church on Silica Sand Road has been the subject of complaints and discussions over the course of the year, especially the last two trustee meetings. The trustees are looking into getting a Community Block Grant to have the structure demolished.

Mark Russell from Ellerhorst Russell Insurance was in attendance to review the insurance policy that is up for renewal. After some questions, and then a discussion, the trustees approved the policy with amendments. The fiscal officer will add the amendments before the policy is signed.

In roads, Supervisor Brian Miller said he has been in contact with the Portage County Engineers and it appears there may be some Ohio Public Works Funds available for the township to use for resurfacing roads. Miller suggested Bryant Road. After some discussion, the trustees thought Colton Road should be considered as well. Miller will also have a representative from the engineer’s office look at Colton Road and see if either or both roads would qualify for the funding. Dann Timmons reported that he is in the process of talking to the property owners on Frazier Road before they proceed with Mr. Soinski’s proposed cul-de-sac. In other road news, the township workers have been kept busy during the rain, by cleaning up trash, trimming back trees and brush along the sides of the roads.

In cemetery news, Trustee Rich Gano received the pins to lay out more graves and as soon as it dries up a bit he will get them done. They also have 20 graves that will need foundations poured this month.

The trustees are in charge of this year’s Memorial Day Services and will ask Lt. Col. Ed Meade from Camp Ravenna to be the speaker.  Timmons will contact Lt. Col. Ed Meade to see if he is available, along with the usual participants, Gano will handle the parade line-up and Miller will get the cemetery set up for the service.

In zoning, Joe Pinti reported that there have been no new permits written but many inquiries on decks, fencing and such.  The trustee received proposed zoning changes from the zoning commission and will hold a public hearing on the issues on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at the town hall at 7 pm.

Timmons reported that they heard from Mark Finamore on a ruling on the alleged breach of contract by the village, when they discontinued dispatch services to the fire district contract. Finamore believes there is some village liability there and if they wanted to proceed with legal action they could. After some discussion on the matter, the trustees have decided to share the opinion with the fire board for review. In other safety issues Timmons reported that the fire board decided to go with a 4 mill renewal levy on the November ballot rather than increase it.

In old business, the township clean-up went well. Miller inquired where the township stood on the old church on Silica Sand Road. Gano said as soon as he determines who owns it he will proceed with trying to obtain a Community Block Grant to have it torn down. Timmons said the auditor’s records should be able to tell who owns it. Gano will start there and see if they can’t get the matter resolved.

In other township news, the trustees approved Bill Isler’s proposal to remove the light poles from the “Township Green” and they also approved the acquisition of a debit card for the township use.  The fiscal officer reported that due to the Affordable Care Act, the township now has to tax, the reimbursements to its employees for healthcare costs.

The meeting was adjourned and the June meeting will be held on June 5, 2014 at the town hall at 7pm.

 

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.

 

pcdl-libraryWindham – Windham Village council met April 24, 2014 for their regular monthly meeting not held on the regular meeting night.

Council approved amendments to the agenda, the minutes, the financial report, and the police and fire report. Two guests had prior authorization to speak at the meeting. The first guest was Cecilia Swanson from the Portage County District Library PCDL. Swanson announced that April 23, 2014 was World Book Night and passed out a copy of Agatha Christy’s After the Funeral. Swanson also inquired about the way the village helps fund the library and requested that they consider going to a percentage rather than a flat rate. After some discussion it was determined they could probably do that but will have to add some language to the contract that would keep the costs from skyrocketing. Cecilia also had one library sign and will purchase another one if the village will install them.

The second guest was Angelo Battaglia Democratic candidate for county commissioner. Battaglia stated that he is a business owner and wants to serve others. His goals are to learn how townships, villages, sheriff’s departments, etc operate and see what the commissioners can do to help them. He claims he doesn’t have all the answers but is willing to dig in to find solutions.

Council then passed Ordinance O-2014-13 amending the current pay ordinance to establish and revise the salaries and wages of all full-time and part-time employees within the Village of Windham. This ordinance repeals all prior inconsistent ordinances and declares  an emergency. The changes are the base salary for the fiscal officer is set at $42,658.56 effective May 1, 2014. They also established and approved $600 a month salary for the zoning inspector.

In other council news, council approved the donation of eight yards of mulch from Doll Lumber, announced support for the Ohio Public Works Commission, and appointed Randy Slusher to the Planning and Zoning Committee. Councilwoman Rachel Barrett asked if the village administrator would get the paperwork filed so Windham could benefit from the community service workers this summer. The mayor said they would look in to it.

The next Windham Council meeting is scheduled May 29, 2014 at 7 pm in council chambers.

hiram-school-prarie-park-ohio-project-natureHiram – At the last Regular Council meeting, Hiram Village Council heard a presentation by the Hiram Village Park Board, which was established in March of last year. The Board’s first task was to focus on how the Hiram School property – 5.2 acres within the Village that was acquired in June of 2013, should be used.

Although the Park Board is a new institution, the process to transform the property in question began six years prior, when both the Village and the College worked together to have the vacant school, which had been owned by an out-of-town landlord, relinquished to the Village and demolished due to concerns regarding safety. According to Hiram Mayor Lou Bertrand, the purchase price of the school property was $160,000, although the appraisal value was $300,000. The Village and College worked together to procure two grants for a total of $86,000 toward the purchase price. In addition, the cost to conduct an environmental study (at an estimated cost of $17,000) and to demolish the school (at an estimated value of roughly $80,000) was also paid for by grants. The Village now solely owns the property.

At that evening’s meeting, Park Board Chair Susan Merrill and member Chris Szell reported a summary of residents’ input the Board gathered at two public community meetings. In general, 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 entity was not recommended. The proposed uses of the space included a playground, picnic tables, softball field, gazebo, fitness trail and prairie alternative. It was proposed that the Park Board should be responsible for oversight and maintenance of the property. The Park Board proposed that any work to develop the park should be completed in phases, according to a five-year plan currently under development by the Park Board. The cost to complete the first phase, which includes solving drainage issues, asphalt disposal, and maintenance to the existing baseball field are estimated to cost roughly $5,000. Potential funding sources could include Beautification Funds and grants.

Next, 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. All work on the proposed field would be done in partnership with Hiram College and the Cleveland Indians Development Group. In addition to an NCAA appropriate field, the property could also include a playground or other features. The proposed document presented to Council for consideration stipulated that the College would maintain the property, and retain exclusive use during the baseball season, estimated to run from March 1st through May 15th. The proposed agreement served as a lease agreement between the Village and College, in effect, paying off the $75,000 balance due by the Village. Under this agreement, scheduling use of the park outside of baseball season would be handled through the Athletic Director’s office. Dempsey deferred to Doug McGee, who served as the College’s consultant on the project, to answer any questions on the initial stages of the project, as they occurred previous to her involvement in the project.

After much discussion, the motion to accept the memorandum of understanding was not approved by Council. Later, Chris Szell of the Park Board, remarked, “We appreciated Council’s time and interest in our thoughtful approach to address the multiple residents would like to see for the use of the land. We will continue to press on with the development of a long-term plan for the land, and to explore other funding opportunities.”

McGee responded later as well, stating, “The College accepts what the Village has decided, and will move forward with plans to develop an enhanced baseball facility on another College-owned property.” He added, “When the College and the Village have worked together in the past, the two can accomplish wonderful things, like the extension of the eastern section of Hinsdale Street, which benefitted both. It’s unfortunate that this time, it didn’t work out, but we will move forward. ”

 

Nelson Twp – Officials present at the April 16, 2014 trustee meeting were fiscal officer J. David Finney and township trustees Joe Leonard, Mike Elias, and Tom Matota. Also present were Roads Supervisor Chuck Vanek, Zoning Inspector Anna Mae VanDerHoeven, and Community House Caretaker Michelle Cmunt.

After the meeting was called to order, Finney asked the trustees whether there were any additions to the evening’s agenda. With no additions made, the meeting proceeded as scheduled.

As the first order of business, Finney presented the trustees with copies of the April 2nd meeting minutes, as well as the bills & wages to be paid totaling $14,241.29. The trustees also received copies of the fund status report; at the time of the meeting the townships pooled funds totaled just over $399,000.

A request was made by VanDerHoeven for a new set of tax maps for the zoning department. The trustees approved the purchase of the maps.

Finney presented a quote made out to the township for the playground equipment that has been approved for purchase. The playground to be erected at Pixley Park will be a $15,752 project. The trustees also received a formal proposal for financing of the tractor totaling $39,897.54  with financing approved for a 3 year term at a rate of 2.29%. Elias made a motion to proceed with financing the tractor per the series of steps outlined by Finney. Matota seconded the motion. All trustees voted in favor of the motion.

Finney also informed the trustees and those present at the meeting that the fieldwork for the biannual audit was completed. The data from the audit still has to be looked over and sent off to the Auditor of State, but Finney stated that it looked good.

After receiving no contact from Robert LoConti of The Agora and Evan Rae of Nelson Ledges Quarry Park in regards to the Special Meeting that had been scheduled to discuss the pairs plans for summer liquor sales, the trustees canceled the meeting.

Vanek reported that the road crew is working on several roads that have exhibited some mud bleed through. He plans to dig up problem spots so they can be filled with aggregate and topped with asphalt.  He also reported that he is looking into working with Garrettsville on a chip and seal of Brosius Road. Vanek has idenified about 5 miles of roads for chip & seal repairs. A motion was passed to have Finney contact the County Engineer to get specifications for chip & seal on the roads specified in Vanek’s report.

Rodger Pettit presented information about the Veterans Memorial. Plans have been drawn up and submitted to the Building Department. He also inquired about the feasibility of having a compatibility study done on the site as each memorial weighs about 3,000 pounds. VanDerHoeven informed the trustees that she had drafted a thank you letter on behalf of township to the Bonners for their donation toward the war memorial project.

Members of the Pixley Park committee reported that they are looking for volunteers to help setup for the annual yard sale.

Matota reported that the plumbing issue which was discovered at the last meeting has been resolved. The corner has been replumbed. Finney volunteered to look into the reverse osmosis system and find out if it can be fixed. Matota also stated that he would like to see the township move forward with Meduri’s resolution for vacating Shanks-Down road. All trustees were in agreement on that subject. Matota also reported that he spoke with the County Engineer and a representative of ODOT to ascertain ownership responsibility of Nelson Circle. Everything that can be found states that ownership reverts back to public lands. The ODOT representative was pretty sure they had no claims over it. Matota reported that Meduri has laid out a process for the trustees to obtain a deed for the land.

Elias announced that the township cleanup has been scheduled for May 3rd & 4th.

The zoning committee is working on a statement that can be run in the newspapers to educate voters on Issue 13. Once the statement has been prepared and approved it will be incorporated into an informative announcement and included in local papers.

Leonard reported that the salt barn project can commence after the final paperwork is received. The fuel tank project is still being bid on. He also gave a recap of Larry Limpert’s Drug Task Force presentation. The Portage County Drug Task Force will be back in the area on April 30th at 6:30PM. The presentation will be held at Iva L. Walker Auditorium inside of Garfield High School 10233 SR 88 in Garrettsville.

Leonard reported that the wiring in basement of the Community House was “really scary”. He has received a bid of $960 fix the wiring in the basement. A discussion amongst the trustees followed after Matota asked for a synopsis of the repairs. All trustees voted in favor of having the wiring straightened out.  Leonard also sought approval to pay for a booth and possibly a banner at Summerfest that would be used to promote the township, #Garrettsville Strong, Pixley Park, and the Nelson War Memorial. Booth space is priced at $75. The motion carried with affirmative votes by Leonard and Elias. Matota voted against.

Following a discussion about employment opportunities within the township, the trustees voted to approve advertising for part-time positions with the potential to become an offer of full-time.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

Windham - The Board of the WVFD Joint Fire District met for their regularly scheduled meeting on April 10, 2014 in the Windham Fire Station with Board members Dann Timmons, Deb Blewitt, Ron Kilgore and George Bengtson and Fiscal Officer Jayme Neikirk present.  Board member Mike Dye was absent.

The Board approved the minutes of the last meeting, the bank reconciliation and the expenditures for the month.

Board Chairman Dann Timmons reported that he, Mike Dye and Chief Mike Iwanyckyj met with several representatives of the Ohio National Guard to discuss details concerning the renewal of the contract to provide fire and rescue service to Camp Ravenna.  The Fire Department has been providing service to the Portage County portion of Camp Ravenna (commonly referred to as the Arsenal) since 2009 under a contract negotiated with Camp Ravenna jointly by Windham Township and the Village of Windham prior to the formation of the joint fire district.  The new contract expands the service area to include Trumbull County as well as access to the gate on State Route 534 in Braceville.  The contract, which will continue until May, 2018, includes a yearly escalation in fees for services as well as other updates.  The board members in attendance unanimously approved the contract and forwarded it to the Ohio National Guard for signatures.

In other business, Chief Iwanyckyj reported on the involvement of the department with the Garrettsville fire.  With most of our firefighters and equipment involved with the effort, Paris Township Fire Department provided a fire truck and personnel in our fire station to respond to any calls in our district.  Our thanks to Paris for the cooperative effort.  In addition, at the request of the Chief, the board agreed to move all carded reserve members of the department to pay status.  The chief also reported that the department had responded to 215 calls to date in 2014.

The Board of the WVFD Joint Fire District meets on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 7:00 PM in the Windham Fire Station.

 

Garrettsville – In their first council meeting since the fire on March 22 that destroyed a significant portion of downtown businesses, council was proactive in taking steps toward a rebuilding effort.  Upon the recommendation of the planning commission, council approved Ordinance 2014-18, which waives zoning fees that would be charged in the rebuilding process for properties impacted by the fire.  Council also approved Ordinance 2014-16, a tax abatement program focused toward community reinvestment.  

Mantua Twp. – At a recent meeting in Mantua Township, the trustees announced that Spring Clean Up will be held on May 3rd from 7 am to 4 pm. Dumpsters will be available across from the Township Garage on Mantua Center Road for township residents to dispose of any unwanted items. Later in May, the township will provide document-shredding services to residents. The tentative date set for shredding is May 17th. 

Windham  Twp. – Windham Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday April 3, 2014 with all trustees in attendance, along with the fiscal officer, seven residents and two guests.

The first item on the agenda after approving March’s expenditures and the minutes, was roads. The Road Supervisor Brian Miller reported that the roads held up well during the harsh winter but there was still some work to be done. Werger Road and Horn Road have the usual problems that they will continue to work on.  Brian Miller said he received a suggestion that the township consider filling in the cracks on Bryant Road early rather than later to prevent them from getting larger. The trustees took the suggestion under advisement.  Dann Timmons said they had yet to hear back from Dale Soinski’s lawyer on the cul-de-sac, but expect to see some paperwork on the issue soon. Trustee Rich Gano asked what roads they would consider chipping and sealing this year. Timmons said they will evaluate the roads as soon the weather breaks. 

Hiram Twp. – At the recent meeting of the Hiram Township Trustees, the trustees discussed a request the three trustees received to meet with the members of the Hiram Village Council to jointly meet and discuss Hiram Township Resolution 2014-3, regarding annexation of a parcel of village-situated property. This resolution was presented to Hiram Village Council for consideration at their March 18th meeting. It was agreed that all Township trustees would be in attendance at this joint meeting, on April 8th at 6 pm. The results of that meeting were not available before press time. 

Nelson Twp – Officials present at the April 2, 2014 trustee meeting were fiscal officer J. David Finney and township trustees Joe Leonard, Mike Elias, and Tom Matota. Also present were, Roads Supervisor Chuck Vanek, Zoning Inspector Anna Mae VanDerHoeven, and Community House Caretaker Michelle Cmunt.

As the first order of business, Finney presented the minutes of the special meeting & regular meeting from March 19 for approval.  Matota made a motion to accept the minutes as presented;  Elias seconded the motion. All trustees voted to approve the minutes

Nelson Twp – Officials present at the March 19th, 2014 trustee meeting were fiscal officer J. David Finney and township trustees Joe Leonard, Mike Elias, and Tom Matota. Also present were, Roads Supervisor Chuck Vanek, Zoning Inspector Anna Mae VanDerHoeven, and Community House Caretaker Michelle Cmunt.

Finney made copies of the NOPEC annual Report available on a first-come first-serve basis. 

Hiram - At the last meeting of the Hiram Village Council, Hiram Mayor Lou Bertrand acknowledged the Hiram Fire Department’s Save of the Year recipients. The team was honored for the successful resuscitation of a full cardiac arrest victim on Vaughn Road in February. On that snowy morning, the Fire Department received a call to assist a man, Mr. Dave Loader, who had fallen. Upon arrival, the team found him not breathing, with no pulse. The team was able to resuscitate him, but could not transport him via Life Flight due to poor weather conditions. They braved icy roads to transport Mr. Loader to Geauga Hospital, where he made a full recovery.  Mr. and Mrs. Loader were present at the award ceremony to show their support and appreciation to the crew.

As the new year is progressing, Freedom Township has had an uneventful winter. Our township was well prepared for the weather; we have experienced NO shortage of road material.  There have not been any major issues come up in the township.  Our rental halls have been used on a regular basis and they have been a beneficial asset to the township.  We are in hopes that the baseball fields will be used and the Community Park and Townhall Park will be utilized often this summer.

Garrettsville – The main topic of discussion after the opening of the March 12, 2014 Garrettsville village council meeting was water rates and how much of an increase there will be if council approves proposed Ordinance 2014-13.  The Board of Public Affairs (BPA) had asked a representative from Arcadis in February 2013 about a rate study for the village water utility that could be used to plan and budget future water projects and to assure current rates were adequate.  (Arcadis is company that specializes in infrastructure and water planning & design which  has consulted on infrastructure projects like the State Street water main replacement project last year and the coming Liberty Street bridge replacement project.)

Hiram - Around 30 residents from Hiram and Mantua Townships attended a community meeting last Saturday to share their concerns about how a local storage well is affecting their lives, their roads and their families. At the meeting, citizens voiced concerns over the ill affects of the increase in 18-wheeled tanker truck traffic near their homes. Individuals provided photos taken on local roads of tanker trucks bringing fracking waste to the area for disposal at the storage well from as far away as Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Texas. 

Windham Twp. – Eight residents were in attendance at the Windham Township Trustees meeting on March 6, 2014 to see how the township conducts its business.

The meeting was called to order by the Chairman Dann Timmons. The trustees approved the minutes and the financial report before moving on to discuss the judge’s decision on granting Mr. Dale Soinski’s petition to have the trustees vacate an unused portion of Frazier Road. The trustees are disappointed with the judge’s decision and claim the ruling is a bit ambiguous, but voted 2-0-1 (Timmons yes, Rich Gano yes, Miller abstained) not to pursue an appeal. The residents in attendance also felt it was unwise to spend any more money on the issue and agreed with their decision.   

Nelson Twp – Officials present at the March 5th, 2014 trustee meeting were fiscal officer J. David Finney and township trustees Joe Leonard, Mike Elias, and Tom Matota. Also present were Roads Supervisor Chuck Vanek, Zoning Inspector Anna Mae VanDerHoeven, and Community House Caretaker Michelle Cmunt.

As the first order of business, Finney presented the minutes of the February 19th meeting for approval.  Matota made a motion to accept the minutes as presented;  Elias seconded the motion. All trustees voted to approve the minutes.