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Garrettsville – –  Minutes from both the regular May 8, 2013 meeting and the June 1, 2013 special council meeting which authorized the mayor and clerk to enter into an agreement for the provision of dispatching services for the Windham Village Police Department were approved.  Immediately after, discussion ensued about the state of the village’s finances.  The current report shows that approximately $94,000 has been expended more than current revenues.  Councilman Matson asked clerk/treasurer Nancy Baldwin, “Are we in trouble?” to which she replied, “We could be”.

Garrettsville – The Garrettsville Board of Public Affairs and JD Environmental Consulting, LLC are pleased to invite the public to a presentation of the 2012 Baseline Report for the Village of Garrettsville’s Ground Water Monitoring Program.  The presentation will be given in the Council Chambers of the Village Hall at 8213 High Street in Garrettsville at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, July 8 following the regular BPA meeting.

Windham – The WVFD Joint Fire Board met for their regularly scheduled meeting on June 13, 2013 with all board members and fiscal officer in attendance. The board approved the minutes, bank reconciliation and expenditures.  The board voted to ratify the amended contract with Ravenna City Dispatching Services.

Fire Chief Iwanyckyj reported that since the switch on May 29, 2013, the use of the new dispatch center is working well. There were a few minor glitches, but all of them have been resolved. The chief also stated that calls to date (6/13) are 313 and reminds residents to use 9-1-1 for emergencies.  He also reported that he has not heard anything about the grant application, so for now, the WVFD is still in contention for it.

Questions were asked about how much the dispatching outsource has cost the fire board and if they had resolved the dead zone issues with the radios. Chairwomen Linda Rininger said she would have more accurate figures on the cost of the service and would present them next month.  Chief Iwanyckyj said the dead zone issues have been resolved with the purchase and use of repeaters.

The WVFD Joint Fire Board would like to thanks Jason Purdy for the donation of labor and his equipment to help get underground lines installed/repaired. The fire Board meets on the second Thursday of each month at the fire station at 7pm.

Mantua – At a recent Mantua Village Council meeting, Mayor Linda Clark announced that Council has selected Steve Chapman as Mantua Village Zoning Inspector. The position was vacant since the death of the previous Inspector, John Vechery, in late December 2012. Mr. Chapman resides in Ravenna, but has roots in the Mantua community as the co-owner of both the Iron Eagle Martial Arts Studio and Poloskey Meats in the Village. In addition, Mr. Chapman also serves Mantua as an auxiliary police officer. 

Windham – Windham Village Council met for their regularly-scheduled meeting Tuesday May 28, 2013 with all council members, fiscal officer, the mayor and the village solicitor in attendance.

Council approved the fiscal report, the minutes from the previous meeting and special meeting, and the fire, police and dispatchers reports as well. 

Nelson Twp. — The Nelson Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting on May 15, 2013 with all trustees present. Chairman Tom Matota opened the meeting with guest recognition. Mark Russell from Ellerhorst Russell Insurance presented the trustees with a rebate check from their insurance company OTARMA.  The township received a rebate of $1075.14 from the 2012 insurance premiums. Each year OTARMA board of directors evaluate their assets and liabilities; if they are in good balance they offer rebates to their customers.

Hiram – 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 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 PD, 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.

Garrettsville –  Village Council, by a unanimous vote, approved the appointment of Matthew Noah as a new full-time police officer for the village.  Noah’s appointment fills the position left vacant by the retirement of Officer Mark Rich.  Councilman Kaiser, a member of the village’s safety committee, stated that there were two great candidates for the position, and it was a difficult pick.  Noah brings great experience with him including his work with the Portage County Drug Task Force.

Hiram – This year the Hiram Village Spring Clean- up at the curb is scheduled for Saturday, May 18, 2013. Old  tire drop off from 8:00 a.m. until noon at the gravel parking lot just south of the Rosser Village Building will take place on that day as well.

Nelson Twp. – Nelson Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting with all trustees and fiscal officer in attendance. The trustees approved the minutes and expenditures. They also signed cemetery deeds. Mr. David Finney presented a letter from their insurance company, Ohio Township Association Risk Management Authority (OTARMA) questioning some items the township didn’t list on their policy. After some discussion, the trustees thought they should insure the Civil War Memorial on the town circle and Jay Pixley Field Sign on the ball field. The other item, the insurance was concerned about was Pixley Park playground equipment. The township had the equipment removed so there is not a need to insure them.

Windham – The originally scheduled WVFD Fire Board meeting for April 11, 2013 was postponed until April 18, 2013.  The postponement was done to allow more time to research dispatching options. After researching their options, the WVFD Fire Board has decided to use Ravenna City Dispatching starting June 1, 2013. Captain David Rarrich from Ravenna City Dispatching Services presented a tentative contract written by Ravenna’s mayor, Joe Bica. The contract outlined the services they would provide, payments etc. Discussions were held on the specifics of the contract. Dann Timmons will discuss a few revisions and questions on the contract with Bica before it will be inked. They expect to have a signed contract by early May.

In the meantime, Chief Iwanyckyj will work with Capt. Rarrich on getting all the radios, walkie talkies etc. ready for the switch over.  The chief and the captain have already done some radio testing to ensure they would be able to communicate in all regions of the township. More testing will be done over the next month.

Fire Chief Mike Iwanyckyj reported that truck 2815 had $600 worth of repairs and the red rescue unit needs some work as well. Sedensky will do the repairs. Iwanyckyj also reported that the switch to Ravenna City Dispatching will cost the department $1688 to have their communications system compatible with Ravenna’s. The chief said if they have to have a repeater system it could cost and additional $2000. This does not include the actual costs for dispatching, which is estimated to be $18,000 a year. The WVFD will be charged on a per call basis. He also reported that Windham EMS participated in the “None for under 21 program” held at Hiram College.

In other fire news, the board approved the minutes, bank reconciliation and expenditures for the month of March. The board also approved the use of Mitchell Communications to update and service their communication system.

The WVFD Joint Fire district Board meets on the second Thursday of each month at 7 pm of each month.

Newton Falls – For many Americans April 16th was a day to breathe a little easier now that their government-required financial filing is done for another year. But Newton Falls Mayor Lyle Waddell had more to celebrate last Tuesday than just the end of tax season.

Members of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber and their guests gathered at Ciminero’s Banquet Centre in Niles for a congratulatory dinner commemorating the accomplishments of the graduates of the 2013 Mahoning Valley Local Government Leadership Academy, a nine-week course that helps students become more effective leaders in their communities. 

Garrettsville –  Representatives from the James A. Garfield Historical Society and all three Portage County Commissioners, Kathleen Chandler, Maureen Fredrick, Tommie Jo Marsilio, were present at the last regularly scheduled Village Council meeting held April 10, to present their ideas on the old Paul’s Feed Mill building at the east end of downtown and elicit cooperation and support from Village Council.

James Mayer of the historical society gave a brief history of the 1852 structure and of its importance to the village.  He also stated that though the historical society hoped to save the original structure, they had yet to develop a clear-cut plan of how to do so.  He presented a rough sketch of what the property could be transformed into.  The plan showed the front building at the intersection of Main and Center Streets, and a parking area with a scenic overlook behind the structure where currently buildings two and three of the feed mill are located.  Mr. Mayer went on to say that they had just begun to look into grants to finance the project.  Many of them required some sort of matching funds and or needed to be submitted by a government agency.  He asked for a formal commitment from council to support the society’s endeavor.  He also asked for financial support if council was able to provide it.  Mayer stated that in addition to funding issues, the current owner of the property intends to have the building razed by June 10, 2013.  

Nelson Twp. – Nelson Township Trustees met last Thursday with all trustees and fiscal officer in attendance. There were four employees and ten guests in attendance as well. After the approval of the minutes, expenditures and permanent appropriations, Chairman Tom Matota opened the floor up for guests to speak. Mr. Bill Steiner from the Portage County Solid Waste District presented the recycle program to the trustees and asked them to approve the five year plan. After some discussion the trustees decided to do nothing with the proposal. 

Mantua – Last Tuesday’s Mantua Village Council meeting marked the momentous occasion of the Village being removed from Fiscal Watch by Nita Hendryx, a representatives from Ohio’s Auditor of State’s Office (ASO). According to Jenny August, Village Clerk-Treasurer, Mantua met the criteria of ‘Fiscal Watch’ at the end of 2007, but was not officially listed as such until August of 2008. Loss of business within the Village contributed to its financial difficulties.

Garrettsville – A Public Hearing was held prior the regularly scheduled Village Council meeting March 13, to discuss proposed restructuring of the Design Review Board (DRB).   Residents and business owners discussed the opinions and asked questions about the proposed ordinance.  Mayor Patrick assured everyone that if these changes were made the Historic District would not be affected.  Solicitor Stuck added that the existing laws and rules pertaining to zoning would still be in effect.  Mayor Patrick also explained that the DRB as it is now, is only an advisory committee.  The Planning Commission makes the final decisions.  These proposed changes would only streamline a currently cumbersome process.  The proposed new legislation does allow for the re-establishment of the DRB in the future if it is deemed necessary.

Hiram – There will be a pancake breakfast on April 20, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. till 1:00 p.m.  The breakfast will be held at the Hiram College Kennedy Center, Dix Dinning Hall.  It is an all you can eat and will be $6.00 for adults and $3.00 for children under 10.  The proceeds go to benefit the Hiram Police Department “Shop with a Cop” program.

This year spring clean-up at the curb will be on May 18, 2013.  The date for drop off, at the Village Building, for tires will also be May 18, 2013 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  The drop off spot will be in the gravel parking lot beside the Village Building.

Windham – Windham Village Council met for their regularly-scheduled meeting February 26, 2013 with  five of the six council members present, along with the Mayor Rob Donham, Fiscal Officer Lloyd Billman and Solicitor Tom Reitz in attendance. Council woman Deb Blewitt was excused from the meeting.

Middlefield – The Middlefield Chamber of Commerce invites all to a luncheon with Middlefield mayor, Ben Garlich.

When Ben Garlich took over as mayor of Middlefield Village on Jan. 1, 2012, his primary goal was to build the economic base of this community.

Under Mayor Garlich’s leadership, the Village of Middlefield now offers to residents, a state-of-the-art Web site, is experiencing positive results from a strategic international marketing campaign and has increased in size by 11 percent. Local industries report record sales and are enthusiastically supporting the momentum.

Mayor Garlich will present the State of the Village at noon on March 12 at the Middlefield Fire Department community room, upstairs.

Enjoy a homemade, hot lunch of soup, hot and cold sandwiches, pie, cake and a beverage. $12 per person. Please RSVP for this annual meeting to 440-632-5705 or by e-mail mccinfo@middlefieldcc.com. Call the chamber office if you have any questions. The Middlefield Chamber has part-time office hours; so if there is no answer, leave a message with your name, phone number and information needed. Lynnette will call you back.

TOWN HALL MEETING WITH STATE SEN. JOHN EKLUND

On Friday, March 1, 2013 AT 8:30 A.M., State Sen. John Eklund will be at Koritansky Hall to exchange ideas and discuss the state’s new proposed 2014-2015 budget and any other matters of concern to our community. Koritansky Hall is located in the heart of Hiram at the intersections of SR 700, 82 and 305. All are invited to attend.

Windham - The WVFD Joint Fire District Board met for their regularly scheduled meeting on February 14, 2013 at the fire station. The entire board and fiscal officer were in attendance. The board approved the minutes, the expenditures, yearly appropriations of $623,413 and the monthly bank reconciliation before moving on to the chief’s report.

Hiram Twp.  – As of January, 2013, Kathy Schulda was voted Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Steve Pancost was voted Vice Chairman and Regional Planning Commission Representative. Meeting minutes from the past two meetings were approved, and are now available to view downloaded at the Hiram Township web site, hiramtownship.org. 

Garrettsville – Village Council met on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 for their regularly scheduled monthly meeting.   The public hearing that had been scheduled at last month’s council meeting to discuss proposed restructuring of the Design Review Board (DRB) was postponed due to an error in publishing the announcement.  Instead, proposed Ordinance 2013-01 was presented for second reading.  The Mayor stated that the Planning Commission, at their last meeting, voted to give their support and recommend passage of the proposed ordinance as well.

Windham - Last week, the Board of Elections (BOE) approved the Referendum Petition circulated by Windham Village Residents Bob Edwards, Jim Moore and Lloyd McPherson. The Referendum petition was filed in response to council’s passage of Ordinance 2012-50 that repealed the tax credit given to those who work outside of the village. The referendum needed 41 valid signatures from registered voters who cast ballots in the last gubernatorial election (November 2010) in order to be approved by the BOE. The BOE approved the referendum petition claiming they had more than enough valid signatures on the petition, so it can now move forward. The approval leaves the village council with two options, rescind the tax credit repeal ordinance (2012-50) they voted on in December or certify the tax credit issue to be placed on the ballot in November. 

Hiram – Sue Skrovan was sworn in by Hiram Village Mayor Bertrand as the newly appointed Fiscal Officer at the last Village Council meeting. Skrovan, who was officially appointed by a unanimous vote of the Hiram Village Council on December 27, started in her new role on December 28. Skrovan, a 20-year resident of Mantua, has served as the Assistant Clerk for the Village of Mantua for over six years before being hired by Hiram. “It was a great opportunity for me,” states Skrovan. In larger communities, the Fiscal Officer position is usually an elected one. To run for office, applicants must generally live in the community they wish to serve. The opportunity in Hiram was an appointed position, and residency was not required. 

Windham -  Windham Village residents sent a strong message to council last week saying they were not happy with a decision council made in December by enacting Ordinance (O-2012-50) to repeal the village’s .5% tax credit given to residents who live in the village and work in another municipality. Residents felt they were being punished for having a job outside of the village. So in response to council’s action, the residents collected signatures for a referendum petition which will send the issue back to the voters in November. Before that can happen, they have to collect 41 signatures,  which is 10% of  the registered voters who voted in the last gubernatorial election (2010) and have the referendum petition turned into the fiscal officer of the village within 30 days of the decision council made on December 18, 2012.

Garrettsville – Village Council met on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 for their first regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the new year.  The first order of business was to ask for nominations and elect a new Council President.  2012 Council President Steve Hadzinsky, who was elected to fill the spot when former Council President Rick Patrick acceded to Mayor, was the only nominee for 2013 and was unanimously elected.  

Windham – Twenty-five residents filled council chambers for the last council meeting of the year to voice their opinion on council’s plan to repeal the tax credit given to residents that work outside the village. Residents claim council is rushing it through in one month’s time   (November council meeting was first time it appeared on the agenda) by holding special meetings to get the required three reads in before acting on it. Several residents questioned what the hurry was and why it was so important to do it now. Another resident questioned the legality of it, since the tax credit was part of a ballot measure that was voted on by the residents 1995. 

Nelson Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting last Wednesday with all trustees and the fiscal officer in attendance. Chairman Jim Turos called the meeting to order.  Fiscal officer J. David Finney presented the expenditures including wages totaling $4606.91, minutes from the previous meeting, notice of a zoning court date, the final figures for the handicap ramp and information on the Ohio Township Association Winter Conference. The Trustees approved the minutes and the expenditures.   Finney stated that the handicap ramp cost was $14,000 with half of the original cost ($13,249.29) coming from a grant.  Trustee Tom Matota questioned the cost difference, Finney said the hand rail measurements were off and it required an additional section of railing not calculated in the original drawings.  Finney reported that he completed the training for the new software for the up coming year. He stated that there will be some adjustments to the way they have conducted their finances as the new software will be more restrictive than the other one.

Garrettsville – Village Council, at the November 14, 2012 council meeting, voted down proposed Ordinance 2012-15 that would have enacted an exterior maintenance code for every property (residential and commercial) in the Village.  Council had tabled the ordinance and sent it back to the Planning Commission to rework it after receiving much opposition from residents at the Public Hearing held before the August 8, 2012 Council Meeting.  The Planning Commission sent it back to Council with a recommendation for final consideration.  Without any discussion, Council un-tabled the Ordinance and unanimously voted it down.  Residents in the gallery thanked Council for listening and supporting their views.

Hiram Township – Township Resident Diane Rodhe made an appearance at the October 2nd Hiram Township trustees meeting to thank residents for the support for her son Justin Rodhe, shot putter at the Summer Olympics in London.  Mrs. Rodhe shared, “Thank you for the banners — Justin appreciated the show of support from Hiram.” Her son has been in Canada since 2008, initially going to train with former Soviet Olympic gold medalist Anatoliy Bonderchuk. While there, Justin Rodhe married a Canadian athlete, become a citizen and competed as a part of the Canadian track and field team.

Garrettsville – The October 10, 2012 council meeting opened with council approving the minutes from regularly scheduled council meeting on September 12, 2012.   Revenue, expenditure, cash balance, and income tax reports were all reviewed.  The Mayor stated that the income tax report “looked good”.  It was also reported that collection of delinquent taxes was still ongoing and many of those that negotiated payment plans needed ‘encouragement’ to make timely payments.  Another round of notices would also be sent out soon.

Hiram Twp – The Hiram Township Trustees met on September 18 for a regularly scheduled meeting. Normal business was conducted, including selection of JHI Painting of Mantua to update and paint the shake and wood trim on the historic Hiram Township Hall building.

Nelson Twp. – Nelson Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting last week with all trustees and fiscal officer present. The minutes from the last regular meeting and special meeting were presented to the trustees and approved as presented with a vote of 2-1, one trustee objected to the minutes not being read. There were no copies of the minutes available for the public, but one trustee offered his copy for folks to read.  

Mantua Twp. – The Trustees of Mantua Township held their regularly scheduled meeting on September 20 at the Township Hall. The Trustees have scheduled a workshop on October 9 at 6:30 pm. The purpose of this meeting is to develop a grant application for the Ohio Public Works Commission. The grant, if earned, would offset cost for a township sewer project off Winchell Road.  In other news, Chairman Jason Carlton attended an informational Chagrin River Watershed meeting to learn more about oil and gas development in local communities. Carlton learned that although several Northeastern Ohio communities including Brooklyn and Mansfield have added a ban on drilling to their ballots for voters, The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Oil and Gas regulate drilling in our state. This means that regardless of how the taxpayers vote; drilling is defined as acceptable according to the State of Ohio.
In other news, Vic Grimm reported that the County Health Department will be holding a Flu Clinic at the Mantua Township Civic Center on October 15 from 4 – 6 pm. Flu shots for children ages six months to 18 years will cost $10, while shots for adults aged 19 and older will cost $20. High-dose flu shots and Pneumonia shots for adults will both be available at a cost of $45 each. Medicare Part B will be honored; payment is due at time of service for all others.
In addition, the Township received two bids from environmental companies to do additional lead and asbestos testing and reporting on the Center School. The quotes are currently under consideration. The Trustees are also finalizing the list of specifications of the work to be done in the interior of the school, in preparation for requesting bids. Final comments are due to Mr. Carlton by the end of September.
In response to public requests for meeting minutes and notification of special meetings via email, Mr. Carlton stated that Ohio Revised Code states that phone calls or mail are legally acceptable ways to disseminate this information; although email may be used, it isn’t mandatory. The Trustees will continue to honor requests for agendas and minutes by providing documentation to residents who provide a self addressed, stamped envelope.  For requests of special meetings occurring within 24 hours, phone or email will be used at the discretion of the Trustees. In addition, Mr. Carlton agreed to investigate the ability of posting special meeting notices and updates to the Township website.
After Township business was complete, the Trustees opened up the floor for public comments, of which there were many. The next meeting of the Mantua Township Trustees will be held on October 4 at 7:30.

Garrettsville – The September 12, 2012 council meeting opened with council approving the minutes from special council meetings that were held in July and August dealing with the resignation of councilwoman Karen Clyde, the death of Mayor Moser and appointment of Council President Rick Patrick as Mayor, and the filling of two vacant council seats by new appointees Becky Harrington, and Chris Anderson.  Minutes from regularly scheduled council meeting on August 8, 2012 were also approved.
Revenue, expenditure, cash balance, and income tax reports were all reviewed.  It was reported that 310 residents who failed to file their 2011 income tax forms had been notified by mail.  To date, 77 of those had responded to the letters they received.
Ordinance 2012-23 amending the “Village of Garrettsville, Portage County, Ohio, Employee Handbook” was brought up for discussion.  The amendment clarifies part-time employee status as defined by hours worked.  The new amendment will classify employees as part-time for any position if they work less than 40 hours per week.  Council unanimously passed the proposed ordinance.

Windham Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting with all trustees and fiscal officer in attendance. Chairman Dann Timmons called the meeting to order. The minutes were approved as presented.  Next, they passed a resolution to pay the bills. Timmons asked for a motion to accept the proposed budget as determined by the Portage County Budget Commission, Brian Miller moved to accept the proposal, Jesse Wirick seconded the motion with all the trustees voting yes.
The trustees ratified the hiring of Kevin Wert at $10 per hour effective August 22, 2012. Mr. Wert will replace Jeff McCune, who was a part-time employee used to assist Mike Dye with township duties. Wert’s hours have yet to be determined.

Windham Twp. – Windham Township Trustees met for their regular scheduled meeting last week with all trustees and fiscal officer present. Also in attendance, were township employee Mike Dye and Zoning inspector Joe Pinti.

The meeting was called to order by chairman Dann Timmons. Residents from Gotham Road were there to question what was being done about  the mobile homes on their road that are dilapidated and half-gutted. They also wanted something done about the high grass at another mobile home on the street. The residents even brought pictures of the problem areas. After hearing their complaints, the trustees and zoning inspector addressed the issue, stating that they have gone through the proper procedures and were at the point where the two mobile homes were supposed to be removed by the owners by June 1, 2012 or the trustees would have them removed and the cost assessed to the taxes. The trustees received a bid $5000 to have them removed prior to the owners gutting them. The contractor was contacted and issued a new bid of $2500 to remove each of them and said he could have them removed over the weekend. The trustees unanimously voted to have George Gibson remove the mobile homes and have the cost assessed to the owner’s taxes. The trustees will consider having a sheriff’s deputy to accompany the contractor.

Windham - Windham Village Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting last week with all but one council member present.  The meeting was called to order by Mayor Rob Donham. Council approved the amended agenda, finance report, and minutes from previous two meetings, with one meeting being a special meeting. The fiscal officer announced he would be unavailable for the August meeting, after some discussion council voted to change the regular meeting date to Wednesday August 29, 2012 at 7pm in council chambers.

Village Solicitor Michelle Stuck gives Rick Patrick the oath of office. Photo: Benjamin Coll

Garrettsville – Village council president, Rick Patrick, was sworn in as the mayor of Garrettsville last week after the unexpected death of his friend and mentor, Craig Moser.

Patrick, who “did not want to become mayor this way”, took the  official oath of office on Wednesday morning in a brief, tear-filled cermony. A second ceremony was held on Saturday morning at Village Hall to allow family members and the entire council to be present.

Patrick will serve in the capacity of mayor until the 2013 municipal  elections. Should he decide not to run for the mayoral position, he will resume his seat on council on January 1, 2014.

Village council will be accepting letters of interest through 2:30 p.m. Friday, August 3rd from residents interested in filling two vacant seats on council.