Make no mistake, the whole initiative to Save the Mantua Center School has divided the current township trustees—split them three ways as to what to do with the old school building. This not a new development either, because historically there has been much mud-slinging since the purchase of the school in 2004. The community has demonstrated overwhelming support for saving the school and making it into a community center.
Garrettsville - A hot and emotional topic lately in the village of Garrettsville has been the village’s finances and whether or not the village is in financial trouble. The mayor has stated that several residents have approached him asking if the village is “broke”. The village, as of this writing, is not in debt nor is it “broke”. However, the concern that’s been raised is not about today’s finances, but deficit spending and what that may mean for the future.
Phil Snyder voiced his opinion on the four member board. Snyder said, “I am duly elected by official action of council to serve on this board (fire) and I oppose any decision made by a four-man board, due to not having enough representation from the village.” This went into a lengthy discussion with many people voicing opinions.
Garrettsville - The January 14th Garrettsville village council meeting began with council re-electing councilman Tom Hardesty as Village Council President. Mayor Patrick then addressed council with a State of the Village report (see below). Mayor Patrick also asked for and was granted council’s approval for his 2015 mayoral appointments.
At the December 10th Garrettsville Village Council meeting, Mayor Patrick called Garrettsville police officer Timothy Christopher forward as he read Resolution 2014-38, which recognizes the seven years of service of police dog Taz and authorized retirement of the canine. It further authorized officer Christopher’s assumption of ownership in exchange for $1. Taz was retired earlier this year for health reasons. He now resides with his handler, Officer Christopher and his family. Christopher thanked the mayor and council for their dedication and continued support of the canine program and, though he will not be the canine handler any more, he will still be involved in a supervisory capacity. Officer Keith Whan will be Garrettsville Police’s new canine handler.
The WVFD Joint Fire District met for their regularly-scheduled meeting with all board members in attendance. The board approved the November minutes, expenditures, bank reconciliation and the temporary appropriations totaling $713,000.
At the last meeting of the Hiram Township Trustees, Assistant Chief Mark Kosak thanked village and township residents for their votes in support of the Fire Department’s latest ballot issue. Kosak announced that as of January 1st, the department will begin 24 hour staffing, with two firefighter/EMTs on staff around the clock. Due to the increase in staffing, response times should see a reduction.
At the start of the last regular Council meeting, Hiram Mayor Lou Bertrand swore in Firefighter Austin Bracken to the Hiram Fire Department. Firefighter Bracken, a Garrettsville native is currently in EMT school. Upon completion of the EMT program, he will serve the Department in that capacity as well.
Newton Falls Police Department was honored together with more than 50 other Northeast Ohio law enforcement agencies on Veterans Day for their traffic safety efforts and programs implemented to encourage safe driving.
Fire Chief Mike Iwanyckyj said the FEMA grant opened November 1, 2014 and will remain open until December 5, 2014. Mike reintroduces Jack Breese, who has been the grant writer for WVFD. Breese presented a contract to the board, for grant writing for the FEMA Grant. Breese also made a few suggestions on what the board should apply for with the grant.
Councilman Klamer reminded council members that “Our job is to provide service to the residents. Our job is not to see how much we can bankroll.” He said as the village council they are responsible to the taxpayers and spending the extra money this year is “officials doing their job”.
Regarding the Center School committees and volunteers, Trustee Festa commented that he was, “not thrilled that non-professionals were added to the Assessment Committee.” Trustee Festa plans to discuss it with Todd Peetz from Regional Planning, but is, “looking forward to the next phase.”
The next regular meeting of the Mantua Village Council will be held at 7 pm on Tuesday, October 21st. The meeting will be preceded at 6 pm by a Town Hall meeting regarding the upcoming street improvement levy, which will be on the ballot for village residents in November. Residents are strongly encouraged to attend this informative meeting.
For the remainder of the meeting the trustees heard commentary in support of the the Quarry Park’s concerts, as well as several complaints about them. Ultimately Meduri suggested that the trustees put together a list of changes they would like to see from the Quarry Park, and submit them to the owner’s legal counsel; a suggestion that most of the trustees seemed to agree with.
“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.
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.
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 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.
Fiscal Officer David 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. The trustees also voted to award Hughes Contracting the contract for parts 1 through 4.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.