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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.


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.

Garrettsville Village Council is accepting letters of interest for two vacant Council seats, terms expiring December 31, 2013. Submissions must be received at Garrettsville Village Hall, 8213 High Street, Garrettsville, OH, no later than 2:30pm, Friday August 3, 2012.

Village Council will be holding a special meeting on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 9:30am for the purpose of an executive session to consider appointments to the vacant council seats, and to generate a short list of potential candidates.

Garrettsville Village Council will also hold a special meeting on Tuesday, August 7, 2012, at 5:30pm for the purpose of an executive session to interview not more than four candidates for the two vacant council seats, and to consider appointments to those positions.

Nelson Twp. – Nelson Township Trustees met for their regular scheduled meeting last week with all trustees, fiscal officer and twelve guests in attendance. The meeting was called to order by Chairman Jim Turos.  Fiscal Officer, David Finney presented the minutes from the last two meetings which were approved as presented. Mr. Finney also presented the proposed 2013 operating budget, after some discussion, the trustees approved the budget. Discussions were held on the Pierce Road Project. The road is now open but last weeks heavy rain has caused some erosion problems.  The trustees agreed that Snavely Excavating will need to come back and fix the erosion issue. In the meantime, the trustees voted (Jim Turos no, Joe Leonard and Tom Matota, yes) to retain 4% of contracted monies owed to Snavely Excavating until they are satisfied that they have met the contract’s requirements. Snavely sub-contracted out the paving to Ronyak paving who will also have to come back and fix a few things.  

Garrettsville –  Proposed Ordinance 2012-15 that would create an exterior maintenance code for the Village was up for a second reading.  A Public Hearing on the proposed ordinance will be held before the August 8  council meeting.    If  passed, the ordinance will require that all properties within the Village be maintained to the code standards and will give the zoning inspector authority to investigate any observed or reported violations.

Garrettsville – Garrettsville unveiled its $6 million expansion and improvement of the village’s 52-year-old wastewater treatment plant with public tours on July 14. The new extended aeration system went online in February, following a two-year period of final planning and construction.

The new system is 99.5 percent effective in removing bacteria and harmful microorganisms from the wastewater before it’s returned to Eagle Creek. (A water sample is taken prior to discharge of treated effluent back to Eagle Creek, ensuring that the water complies with safety standards.)

The state-of-the-art system utilizes numerous 19-foot-deep holding tanks at various stages of the decontamination process to aerate incoming wastewater from storm sewers, industry, business and household use. The water is oxygenated and decontaminated with the use of beneficial bacterial colonies and enzymes which feed on the pollutants; plus a mechanical system of screens, pumps, and filters; as well as ultraviolet light for disinfection instead of chlorine. By the end of the process, the sludge is safe to use as fertilizer on farmers’ fields.

The village is one mile square, but 16 miles of wastewater collection flows into the treatment plant. Treatment capacity has increased nearly five times the volume of the old system, to a half-million gallons of water per day. Considering the fact that the village generates about 180,000-300,000 gallons of wastewater daily, this expansion will accommodate robust future growth.

As water department superintendent Jeff Sheehan explained during the tours, the village allowed raw sewage to be discharged directly into Eagle Creek up until 1960, when it installed the initial wastewater treatment plant. Garrettsville was actually ahead of the curve among most municipalities, who didn’t recognize their role in preventing water pollution until after the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962.

The wastewater treatment plant was upgraded and improved incrementally every decade, but this most recent expansion was a major overhaul. During the boom years in the 1990s, 15-20 new homes a year were being built in Garrettsville. With that pace of growth, the water department realized they needed a larger footprint for adequate expansion. Eventually, the village was able to expand by purchasing the Clyde property through eminent domain to the west of their existing parcel along Water Street.

Residents have been helping to offset the $6 million project cost through 8% rate increases for three years in a row (a 36% total rate increase). Loan repayment estimates are $450,000 annually. But thanks to a $300,000 Issue One grant and a 0% interest loan from the EPA, the water department is saving $2 million in projected interest costs.

Although the official tour day has passed, Sheehan says he would be happy to take interested residents on tours of the wastewater treatment plant any time. Call (330) 527-2080 to inquire.


Windham Twp. – Windham Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting last Thursday with all trustees and fiscal officer in attendance.

The first item on the agenda was to open the floor to guest who would like to address the board. A resident asked if he could clean up veteran John Decker’s marker and place it where it belongs. The trustees had no problem with the resident doing that. 

Garrettsville – As most Garrettsville residents are aware, the Village maintains a recycling drop-off center at the Service Garage parking lot on Water Street.  Village Council is currently exploring the possibility of switching from the drop-off center to curbside recycling as several of our neighboring townships and villages have, such as Hiram and Mantua.

Some information about Curbside Recycling

The Portage County Solid Waste District currently employs what is called a “dual stream” collection method, in which residents are supplied with 18-gallon bins for collection of their recyclables.  Paper and cardboard are collected in one or more bins, while glass, cans and #1 and #2 plastics are collected in separate bins.  Curbside collection can occur once a week or every two weeks.  Residents are billed by the Solid Waste District once a year for curbside service; weekly pickup currently costs $39.00 per year, while the bi-weekly service is $27.00 per year.  It’s important to note that if the resident does not pay the bill when due, it will be assessed to their property taxes.

However, the Solid Waste District is planning to switch from the current dual stream system to a single stream system, in which the bins provided will be larger (48 to 95 gallons, depending on need), wheeled, and each household will collect all recyclable materials in a single bin.  When the single stream system is implemented, the Solid Waste District will also begin accepting plastics #3 through #7, greatly increasing the amount of plastic that will be recycled and reducing the burden on our landfills.  Bill Steiner, Director of the Portage Solid Waste District, advises that he hopes to have the single stream system implemented in the last quarter of 2012 or the first quarter of 2013.

Village Contribution to Resident Cost
Currently, the Village pays $3,000.00 per year to maintain the receptacles at the drop-off center.  Council could choose to re-allocate that $3,000.00 to curbside recycling.  Doing so would reduce the amount billed to each residence by approximately $2.60, bringing the cost for weekly pickup down to $36.40 per year and bi-weekly pickup to $24.40 per year.  In addition, curbside recycling may also reduce your current trash pickup resulting in a potential savings to a resident.

Your Input is Important
Before Village Council makes any decisions, we want to know your opinion.  For this reason we’ve developed a short survey which can be accessed at the Village’s web site, “Garrettsville.org” or by calling the Village at 330-527-4424.  Please take a few minutes to visit the site or call and complete the survey – your opinion matters!

Garrettsville – Village Council met for their regularly scheduled monthly meeting on April 11.  Minutes from the prior meeting, revenue, expenditure, cash balance, and income tax reports were all reviewed.  Motions to pay the bills and accept the minutes were both unanimously approved, all Council members were present.

Mantua – Mantua Village Council members took care of several items of business at the Feb. 21 meeting. Council members approved the purchase and installation of an $18,000 Vaughan Chopper pump for the village’s wastewater treatment plant. The ordinance 2012-02 was approved 5-0. Council member Ben Prescott was absent. Council also authorized a transfer of more then $3,040 from the water and sewer operating funds to the water and sewer debt fund to cover an “insufficient balance,” Village Clerk-Treasurer Jenny August said. “The water fund was short in January,” August said. “We have enough money now to make up for it.” The ordinance 2012-05 was passed 5-0. Other items of business included approving an increase in the general fund to cover a former employee’s medical coverage, an increase in the park fund to cover painting and gutter work, an increase in the water operating fund to cover expense related to the operation of a new high speed pump at the water plant, and an increase to the sewer capital improvement debt fund to make money available for the purchase of the new chopper pump. The additional expenses totaled $37,000. Council approved ordinance 2012-06, which dealt with the expenses, 5-0. Ordinances read but not discussed or called to vote include ordinance 2012-04, opposing the state’s centralized collection of income taxes, and ordinance 2012-07, increasing the costs of grave opening or closing at the village’s Hillside Cemetery. Department heads and the mayor also spoke of ways to improve village life. Mantua Village Mayor Linda Clark expressed a desire for cohesive signage around the village, application for trailhead grants for next year and a sidewalk grant from AMATS. “Each of these small projects is step,” Clark said. Village Engineer Richard Iafelice gave Council members a report outlining the confirmation of a $45,000 grant from AMATS for sidewalk construction along Main Street. He also recommended to Council attend to water pressure fluctuations. Iafelice also informed Council of his approval of plans from Crestwood schools to design and rehab the district’s sewage pumping station. Council will next meet March 20 at 7 p.m. in Village Hall,

Nelson Twp. – The Nelson Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting last week with Chairman Jim Turos, Tom Matota, Joe Leonard, and Fiscal Officer J. David Finney in attendance. There were also 15 others in attendance. The meeting was called to order by Chairman Jim Turos at 7:30 pm. Fiscal Officer presented for signature two cemetery deeds,the bank reconciliation and bills and wages totaling $35,082.12. The board approved the bank reconciliation and signed cemetery deeds. Finney also presented a letter on whether they wanted to continue to fertilize the trees on Nelson circle. The board agreed to continue fertilizing the trees. Matota asked the board to formalize a procedure on the end of the year/ new year transition. After some discussion he proposed that the board meet as close to 12/31 as possible to complete the current year’s business and on the first regularly scheduled meeting of the year, open the new year’s business. The EPA has offered municipalities a grant to replace older diesel vehicles with newer ones through an 80/20 matching grant. Matota announced that they decided to apply for the grant and take advantage of the county’s offer to use their grant writer. A resident questioned when they decided to do this? The resident stated that they were in violation of the Sunshine Laws if they made a decision without having a formal meeting. Matota replied with, “I may have used the wrong word. We didn’t decide on anything, we just moved forward with the grant application and will decide later if we get the grant on whether we purchase a truck or not.” Another resident asked whether the township could afford the truck and questioned where the money would come from, Matota replied with “How can we not afford it with an 80/20 matching grant?” He said the money would probably come from the road and bridge fund. The trustees are still waiting on approval for Pierce Road Project. Leonard asked the board if they would still supply the porta- johns for the park this summer the porta-johns will be $70/ month and they will be at the park from May until October. Leonard stated that the board received a letter regarding the US Liquids property. Portage County Health Department has cited the owners for health violations. Leonard also said that he heard back from the EPA and they said the raceways and holding tanks contain nasty stuff. They never used the word toxic so the trustees still do not know what they are dealing with. Turos reported that a company hired by the bank estimated the cost of the clean-up of the U.S Liquids property will be nearly $500,000 leaving the bank which has the receivership of the property responsible for the costs. Once the estimate was received, the bank has decided that it will not pay $500,000 for the clean-up but would spend about $50,000, causing the company to withdraw its offer. The situation is in the hands of the Portage County Health Department. The trustee said the mess inside the building resembles a garbage dump and is loaded with rats. Road supervisor reported that the water well was serviced, the pressure tank and bladder were replaced and the water was tested. Right now they are waiting on the results. The drawings for the handicap ramp are finished and Chuck Vanek will get material costs together for the project. Matota raised questions on the ramp and will meet with Vanek over the specifics. A discussion was held when a resident questioned the logs in the ditch at the corner of Knowlton Road and Shanks-Down Road that are causing flooding. The logs are on the east side of the road and are in the Nelson road right-of-way. Matota said they would do nothing with them. The resident said that Southington said they wouldn’t move them either. After a long discussion with the road supervisor on the location of this issue, Matota said he would have to go out there and look at the situation and he will address the issue with the landowner. Vanek stated that they needed to order new flags for the telephone poles for this summer. He said they would run nearly $900 for the flags; trustees approved the measure. Vanek wanted permission to trim/cut trees and branches back on Pierce Road while the road is closed. Matota said they needed the county engineer to come out and stake where the right-of-way is prior to cutting/trimming any trees. Matota brought up the township installing new or replacing driveway culverts on township roads issue again and said he would write up a proposal that would address the issue and present it to the board next month. Nearly two hours into the meeting, the board introduced guest Mark Russell from Ellerhorst Insurance Company. Mark presented them with the new insurance policy for buildings, equipment, and vehicles. The policy as it is currently written will run $11,872/ year. Russell recommended that because of the way the laws have changed they might want to consider carrying police liability insurance that is about $200 more a year. The coverage would protect the township when any law enforcement agency works in the township and may cause an issue for someone to sue the law enforcement agency and hold the township responsible for the law enforcement agency’s actions; the township would be covered. After some disagreement on the issue (Leonard thought they should purchase it and Turos and Matota said they shouldn’t) the board declined police liability coverage. There were many issues on the policy that the trustees wanted to possibly amend so Finney will pay the premium listed and the township will be billed for the amendments. Mark Russell will look at costs for possible amendments. Trustees agreed to waive the fee for the Community House rental for the Amish school auction and the after-prom committee pancake breakfast. The trustees announced the open house for the food bank would be held March 10, 2012 2pm -4pm; the annual Easter egg hunt for children 3 years old to 10 will be held March 31, 2012 2pm at Pixley Park; if it is raining, they will move it to the Community House. The board approved the payment of the bills and wages then opened the floor for questions. A resident questioned the not-for-profit use of the community house. The resident wanted to know who has the authority to waive the fee. They thought it had to be a trustee. What criteria do they use etc? Which resulted in Turos taking offense with folks questioning the caretaker’s integrity on the issue. He made a phone call to Michelle Cmunt who is responsible for renting the Community House. She said in the past that this group had a tax-exempt number and the board had waived the fee previously; the group will present the tax exempt number to her. This brought up a question from Jim Turos on why a certain group only pays $20 / month to use the facility every week. Which led to Matota questioning why they had rules for the facility if they were not going to follow them? Matota was addressing the situation where they opened the Community House for a meeting on a legal holiday. These questions and discussions dragged the meeting out to nearly three hours. Finally the meeting was adjourned. The trustees meet on the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 pm at the community house. More township information can be found at www.nelsontownshipohio.org

Freedom Twp. – Freedom Township Board of Trustees met in regular session at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 15, 2012. It was the last meeting for Fiscal Officer Rosemary Nicholas, who is retiring at the end of the month after 12 years of service. Karen Martin of Mantua will fill Nicholas’ post. She may be reached at KSMFreedomTwp@aol.com. Road Supervisor Charles VanSteenberg noted a correction in the hours for spring clean-up scheduled for June 7, 8 and 9 (Thursday from noon to 8 p.m.; Friday from noon to 6 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Roads: Roy Martin reported that the township has been awarded a grant by Ohio Public Works for Vaughn Road resurfacing in the amount of $42,200. In response to public concern about the need to repave Wygle Road, Trustee John Zizka shared the Portage County Engineer’s report and recommendations for Wygle Road, which indicate they are planning to lay 3.5 inches of asphalt and widen areas less than 18 feet before paving. The intersection of Limeridge and Wygle calls for the radius to be increased. The report also indicates that no improvements are planned for Limeridge Road; only monitoring and repair as needed. The County Engineer is waiting for Chesapeake to sign the RUMA agreement. Also, Morton Salt is requiring the township to purchase their full commitment of salt for the 2011-2012 season, even though less was required during the mild winter. Three price quotes were received on tires for the 3910 mower, from Ravenna Tire, Terry’s Tire Town and Columbiana Firestone. It was decided to purchase tires from Terry’s Tire Town, Alliance, in the amount of $1,028.62 to include tubes, mounting and service. Trustees will purchase from Marlboro Pipe 40 feet of 30-inch pipe for Hewins Road and 40 feet of 12-inch pipe for Vair Road. Road Supervisor Charles VanSteenberg ordered 18 tons of #617 gravel and 18 tons of #304 gravel from Rick Kuntz for Hewins and other roads. VanSteenberg has contacted Todd Lamb about milling holes on Goodell, Asbury and Gotham Roads. Park: Trustee James Hammar said ball field schedules will be posted soon at the park. Their first game is April 10. T-ball doesn’t schedule the town hall field, they just show up. The drag and the bases must be located, as well as ball mix to build up the pitching mound. Dan Grafton said in the past, teams had to appear before the board of trustees for approval before using the fields. They also could not do anything to the fields without trustee permission and the leagues furnished sand and bases. Zizka agreed that the teams wanting to use the fields should come to the board of trustees. Community Service: Zizka received a request from the Girl Scouts to clean the ball fields at the town hall as a community service project. The Congregational church will be holding a perennial exchange at the town hall pavilion as a community service project on April 21. Members of Bethel Springs Fellowship had a work session at the Community Center (painting, carpet cleaning, etc.) In turn, the township provided them with lunch. Zizka waived their fee for one rental because of an earlier cancellation when the Community Center was not usable. Park Funding: There has been no word yet from ODNR regarding the park grant. The park levy failed, and there are still some groups who want more amenities at the park (water, soccer, etc.). Hammar said there is money remaining in the park levy fund, and it was suggested that he leave it on deposit for now if no fees are involved, pending approval from the Park Committee. Hammar will send letters of appreciation to the business community and individuals who made donations and assistance in support of the park levy. Coupons will be made available for discounts at Pochedly’s Greenhouse and Pochedly’s will donate part of the proceeds back to the Park Committee. Duffield suggested getting more young parents involved in the park committee, to make it more viable. Zizka agreed and suggested another park levy campaign should be attempted. Fire: Trustee Rooy Martin reported that a dry hydrant is being put in on Bancroft Road in Nelson. A new tank should arrive the first week in April. There was discussion regarding a full-time building inspector for fire inspections. The Fireman’s Association refused any extra cost for the storage building. Harold Cain questioned the total expenditures for the front porch work, including architect fees, permits, and tear-off and disposal work done by township personnel. There’s an additional charge of $225 due to an increase in material cost. Zizka also confirmed that clean-up is in addition to what township will pay Classical Construction for the porch work. Zoning: Zoning Inspector Jeff Derthick will present an application for a conditional use permit for a local business, during the March 20 Board of Zoning Appeals meeting. The Zoning Commission will meet on March 21. Derthick is posting the BZA appeals in the ZonePro program. EMS: Two more employees have been hired. The EMS Board will meet twice a month for the immediate future. Regional Planning: Fiscal Officer Rosemary Nicholas reported that $5,306.03 in estate tax had been received. Trustees agreed to transfer $5,306.03 from the General Fund (Estate Tax) to the Freedom Township Park Development Fund. Nicholas received a letter from NOPEC regarding its natural gas program and opt-out option. After discussion, the board agreed to continue the township’s participation in the NOPEC/Dominion Energy. Zizka read the letter he had drafted expressing the Board’s position on oil/gas well drilling in the township. It will be published in both the Record-Courier and The Villager newspapers. Martin said work continues on the grant for a truck through the EPA program. Zizka delivered the township’s application to the County Engineer’s office last month. He will check with the County Engineer for an update. A special meeting will be Thursday, March 29 at 7:30 p.m. to continue discussion regarding the truck grant and any other business that may come before the Board. Trustee Hammar said he had a discussion with a representative of Suddenlink. They continue to work on expanding fiber optics in the township for high speed internet service.

Garrettsville – Village Council met for their regularly scheduled monthly meeting on March 14. Minutes from the prior meeting, revenue, expenditure, cash balance, and income tax reports were all reviewed. Motions to pay the bills and accept the minutes were both approved 5-0 (Council member Karen Clyde was absent). Connie Knop and Kit Semplak, on behalf of the James A. Garfield Historical Society, addressed Council about the future of the clock tower. They shared that the historical society does not have enough manpower or financial resources to maintain the building and clock and asked if the village would accept it as a donation. The tower sits on land owned by the village, and leased by the historical society. It was determined that the village already pays the electric power and does some maintenance on the building without cost to the historical society. Councilmen Kaiser and Patrick recognized the historical significance of the building and thought it wise to acquire it for the village, especially since there would be no immediate cost. The historical society will formally submit the donation to council for next month’s meeting. Next, representatives from Davey Resource Group, Western Reserve Land Conservancy, and Hiram College presented a progress report on the Restoration Project of Eagle Creek. The area of the restoration will encompass 14 acres and is located on 152-acre parcel of land south of State Route 82 and west of the village. The plan is to return a section of Eagle Creek to a natural course and replant the area impacted by years of logging, farming and erosion. The land will remain restricted access and have no public trails. Set to begin in June, the project hopes to improve habitat and water quality for Eagle Creek, which flows directly through Garrettsville. Any questions about the project can be directed to Tom Ford, Director of College Relations for Hiram College. Other items of business included approving the library’s request for assistance with annual building and utility costs, discussion about the police department’s request to purchase a new copy machine and the first reading of Ordinance 2012-06, which will establish a job creation tax credit for the village. Jeff Sheehan from the Bureau of Public Affairs (BPA) asked for council to approve the BPA’s recommendations in response to a private property situation involving an error in removing trees for utility access without prior permission from the owner. Council voted unanimously to approve the recommendations. Parking on Main Street, which was recently discussed at a Safety Committee meeting, was brought up during round table discussion. Council President Patrick stated he would talk with the merchants on Main Street for a consensus before proceeding with any changes. He also stated better signage, directing people to the municipal parking lots and the boardwalk, wasneeded. The Mayor reported that Freedom Township has bowed out of the Joint Economic Development District plans. Village Council then adjourned to executive session to discuss personnel and property issues. If you’d like to know more of what is happening in your community, please attend a meeting. Village Council will next meet April 11th, 7:30 p.m. in the Village Hall.

Windham Twp. – The Windham Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting with all three trustees present.

Chairman Dann Timmons called the meeting to order and started off with zoning. Zoning inspector Joe Pinti reported that he didn’t issue any permits for February but he did field several calls on sheds sizes and fences. Pinti also received complaints about property on Stanley Road.  Timmons reported that the zoning hearing held prior to the meeting resulted in the owners of 8550 Gotham and 8542 Gotham committing to removal of the mobiles on each property. The trustees passed two resolutions to reflect that the owners have agreed to have the mobile homes removed within 90 days. If the property owners fail to remove them within the time frame, the trustees will have the right to do it and add the expense onto the property taxes.
Timmons recognized two guests, Kristina Port and Mark Porter, who both are running on the Republican ticket for the Ohio State Representative for District 76. Both introduced themselves and presented their positions on the issues.

Road supervisor Brian Miller reported that the roads were in good shape and that he had received a call from the county engineer wanting to know if the township had any chip – n- seal projects for this year. Miller said he would check. A resident suggested that they do at least one road a year to keep from having them all needing work at the same time. The trustees will take the suggestion under advisement.

Timmons reminded the other trustees that the township was responsible for the Memorial Day Services this year and they need to get a speaker for the event.

Timmons also needed the other two trustees to represent the township at a mediating session on the Proto case coming up soon.  With there being no further business the meeting was adjourned. The trustees meet on the first Thursday of each month at 7 pm. at the town hall.

Freedom Twp. – The Freedom Township Board of Trustees met in regular session on Monday, March 1, 2012. The following issues were discussed:

ZONING: Zoning Inspector Jeff Derthick reported on a Board of Zoning Appeals hearing held February 21 to address numerous calls on properties for sale and residents inquiring how they are zoned.
Derthick continues to work with American Tower Company on increasing the height of two towers (at Goodell Road and at S.R. 700).

Trustee James Hammar proposed that zoning fees be increased, noting that most have not been increased since 2002. Harold Cain questioned the need for increases in this economy. Derthick said he has been told that local fees are lower than those in surrounding communities. The trustees reviewed the fee schedule and agreed on price increases. Increased zoning fees will be effective April 1. They can be viewed in detail the township’s website, www.freedomtownship-portage.com .

ROADS: Road Supervisor Charles VanSteenberg said that crews have started ditching. Septic tanks at the town hall complex have been pumped. The township has taken delivery of 85 tons of salt this winter for maintaining safe roads. Hammar suggested writing a letter to Morton Salt to see if the township could buy less than its original commitment, considering the mild winter.

PARK: Hammar is awaiting the results of the park levy as well a grant application. Trustees also distributed a flyer to township residents, asking for support of the park levy.  A sign for the town hall pavilion (“Donated by Little League and the Boosters Club”) is to be completed soon.

SPRING CLEAN-UP throughout Freedom Township is scheduled for June 7, 8 and 9 (Thursday noon to 8 pm; Friday noon to 8 pm; and Saturday 9 am to 3 pm). Accepted items: Tires (limit six per family), batteries, motor oil, refrigerators and freezers. Unacceptable:Truck or tractor tires, paint, garbage, yard waste, barbed wire, building materials, shingles or fencing materials.
NEW BUSINESS: Hammar proposed a resolution in support of oil and gas well drilling, with copies to newspapers and legislators. Trustee Zizka opposed this resolution, stating it is a matter of personal choice. Duffield said it is not that people are against drilling, they just want it researched and done right. Trustee Roy Martin proposed sending a letter stating that the trustees are not against drilling or fracking but are mindful of the concerns of township residents with regard to safety. Zizka will compose a letter for trustees to sign.

The Building Department has approved plans for repair work to be done to the town hall front porch ($103 fee to renew the building permit) by Classical Construction with a tentative time frame.

Ravenna – Portage County government has seen a significant savings in its Workers Compensation premiums with the semi-annual premium changes released recently by the state. The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation issued premium updates that resulted in a decrease in premiums for Portage County of $291,012, with the new premium being $753,006, Commissioners announced.

Ravenna – Kelly Engelhart, Service Director, traveled to Columbus last week to request financing through the energy bonds administered through the OAQDA, making the City of Ravenna the third Ohio city to take advantage of energy conservation financing through the OAQDA for the overhaul of equipment and systems at six municipal buildings and the majority of the city’s traffic signals. OAQDA authorized financing up to $6 million for the project at its February meeting. 

Nelson Twp. – Nelson Township Trustees met for their regularly-scheduled meeting with trustees Joe Leonard, Tom Matota, and Jim Turos and Fiscal Officer J. David Finney in attendance. Mr. Finney presented the minutes from the January 4th, 11th, and 18th meetings and they were approved as presented. The minutes from the meeting on February 1, 2012 were read and also approved.

Mr. Turos presented his expenses from the winter conference and the board approved the expenses. He also presented the signature cards from The Middlefield Banking Company that needed to be signed.

The fiscal officer presented the expenditures, and the bank reconciliation along with the purchase orders and blanket certificate. The board examined the paperwork and approved each of the measures.

Road Supervisor Chuck Vanek reported that he researched the options for repairing the cracked windshield in the plow truck and got the best rate through Safe Lite Auto Glass and will have the glass repaired. He also reported that he was working with Parkman Township to coordinate ditch work on Reynolds Road. Discussions were raised again about installing culverts for free for township residents that live on township roads. Leonard said it really was unfair to use township monies to benefit a few residents since those that live on county or state routes would have to pay the county or state to install culverts for driveways. No decision was made on the issue as they research the issue further.

Vanek reported that the well at the township garage failed the well test that Portage County Health Department (PCHD) administered and the department suggested they consider replacing the bladder in the pressure tank. They seem to think it is harboring bacteria. Once the bladder is replaced they will have to chlorinate the well and have PCHD return to retest the well.  The board approved this action.

The rough draft for the ramp plans for the community house will need to be converted into scale drawings by an architect before they can apply for the building permit for the structure. After some discussion, the board will contact Frank Pavella to do the drawings.

Mr. Matota questioned the caretaker of the Community House on who is responsible for updating the bulletin boards at the Community House and township garage. Michelle Cmunt replied she really didn’t know but if she had the keys to the locked boards and the letters, she would not have a problem updating them. A question was also raised about township keys; Mr. Leonard said he would collect them from the former trustee.

Boy Scout Cody Petrie presented his drawings for a sign he plans to make for the township. The sign will be his Eagle Scout project. Petrie asked for some assistance on funding and the trustee asked him to do some fundraising first and before they would help out financially with the project. Part of the Eagle Scout project requirement is for the scout to raise the funds for the project.

Leonard asked that the zoning seminar scheduled for March 31, 2012 be open to the public. This raised questions from Matota on whether these seminars were helpful and why they would want it opened to the public. Leonard said a few residents have asked to attend to learn more about zoning. A member of the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) stated that the last seminar was quite helpful and they have used the material they learned from the last one on several zoning issues. After some discussion the board was leaning toward keeping the seminar as a workshop for trustees and those involved with the zoning commission and the BZA.

The Pierce Road Project is slowly moving forward. The trustees signed the papers and will send them to Public Works Commission and hopefully they can bid out the project soon.

Matota was able to help the zoning inspector with the process of obtaining current maps from the county’s web site to help with variance issues. Matota also talked with Mr. Steiner of the Portage County Solid Waste District and they will supply one dumpster for tires for the cleanup day set for May 5& 6th. The township will be responsible for any overages. The closed section of Shanks-Down Road issue presented at the last meeting resulted in advice sought from the prosecutor and neighboring townships that the road borders on who advised the trustees to do nothing and the road will be considered abandoned in a few years.

Discussions were raised regarding  folks who have items in the road right-of-way the township will consider enforcing this issue.

Guest Kristina Port who is running for Stare Representative in the newly-formed 76th district introduced herself and presented her political views.

Chairman Turos opened the meeting up to the public for input and many questions were raised on various topics such as zoning, food cupboard, the U.S Liquids issue, Pierce Road Project. After an hour of questions and answers, the board adjourned to executive session to discuss litigations on a court case, along with personnel issues. With there being no further business the board adjourned after they completed the executive session.

Nelson trustees meet on the first and third Wednesdays of each month at 7:30 pm at the Community House. The public is encouraged to attend. More Nelson news and information can be found at www.nelsontownshipohio.org

Nelson Twp – The Nelson Township Trustees met for their regularly-scheduled meeting last week with trustees Jim Turos, Tom Matota, and Joe Leonard present. Fiscal officer Dave Finney was unavailable; however Brianne Finney took the minutes for the meeting.  Brianne presented the wages and the trustees approved the payment of them, but not before Leonard stated that the prosecutor recommended that they include in the motion that they will pay the bills when the fiscal officer is available. By adding the bills to the motion they will not have to hold a special meeting to pay the bills.

Geauga County – A Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, March 6, 2012.  Those residents of Geauga County who would like to vote an absentee ballot should make arrangements now.

In order to request an absentee ballot for the Election, registered voters must fill out an absentee application. Each request must have the applicant’s original signature. Requests may be mailed to:

Geauga County Board

of Elections

470 Center St., Bldg. 6-A

Chardon, Ohio  44024


The Board of Elections will accept mail-in requests for absentee ballots for the March 6, 2012,

Primary Election thru noon on Saturday, March 3, 2012.  Voters may also vote absentee in person at the Board of Elections office January 31, 2012, through the close of business on Friday March 2, 2012. The Board of Elections will be open extended hours for absentee voting on:

Monday, Feb 6        8 a.m.-9 p.m.

Saturday, Feb 11     8 a.m.-Noon

Saturday, Feb 18     8 a.m.-Noon

Saturday, Feb 25     8 a.m.- Noon

Friday, March 2         8 a.m.- 6 p.m.

Voters can download an Absentee Application on line at: http://www.co.geauga.oh.us/Departments/BOE/Absentee.aspx For more information please call the Board of Elections directly at 1-440-279-2030.