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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.

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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.

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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

440-279-2030

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.

Garrettsville – Since oil/gas drilling can be associated with changes in well water quality, Garrettsville’s Board of Public Affairs has decided to be proactive in setting up a Water Monitoring Program for the Village’s water well fields. A proposal was accepted from Dr. Jeffrey C. Dick of YSU’s Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences to conduct a physical and chemical evaluation of Garrettsville’s water well field and the adjacent aquifer system.

Pictured above at the Annual Garrettville Village Council Christmas Dinner at Main Street Grille & Brewing company, Garrettsville Solicitor/ Attorney Michelle Stuck swore in Mayor Craig Moser, Council President Rick Patrick & Councilman Jeff Kaiser on January 4, 2012.

Garrettsville – Village Council met on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 for their first regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the new year.  Minutes from the December council meeting were approved.  A motion was then made to nominate councilman Rick Patrick as the 2012 Village Council President.  The motion was seconded and approved unanimously.  The Mayor then read his 2012 State of the Village Report. The mayor asked for a motion to approve his 2012 slate of appointments to Village Boards and Committees.  The motion was made, seconded, and approved. They are as follows:

The W.V.F.D. Joint Fire District Board met for their regularly-scheduled meeting last week with all board members present. Chairman Dann Timmons announced that the township trustees re-appointed him to  the fire board to represent the township as their elected official. Timmons also announced he had heard from the mayor of the village that fire board member Scott Garrett had resigned. Scott was the village’s elected official representative. The village council has appointed Phil Snyder to the fill the vacated position on the board. Board member Linda Rininger requested the resignation letter which no on had seen. Rininger asked Mr. Snyder to abstain from voting until the fire board received official word from Mr. Garrett. Snyder agreed to abstain from voting.

First item of business was to appoint a chairman for the new year. The board chose Ron Kilgore as chairman with Dann Timmons as the vice chairman.  The clerk presented the expenditures, and bank reconciliation and the board moved to approve both. The temporary appropriation were established at $518,716 which the board approved.

In the chiefs report Fire chief Iwanyckyj reported that truck 2815 had a smoking cylinder, speed issues and other mechanical problems. The truck was taken to Sedensky’s Truck and Tractor Repair in Nelson Township. Mr. Sedensky was at the meeting to explain the issues it had and the cost to repair them. After some discussion, the board approved the repairs at an estimated cost of $4,800. Sedensky believes it can be repaired and back in service within two days from the start of the repair.

The chief announced that reserve firefighter John Hostetler had passed his test and he would like to promote John to regular fire fighter.  The board approved the measure.  Iwanyckyj also announced that a new medic has passed the test and they will soon have 4 paramedics on the roster. He also stated that in the last 7 months there was only one month where they had one EMS call with no responder and it was referred to neighboring EMS services. In other chief news, the suction units on the squads went down prior to the meeting, resulting in an emergency repair of $975. They were still in the running for a truck grant and they had the electric to the fuel tanks that they no longer use disconnected.

Mark Ellerhorst went over the new insurance policy with the board and explained their coverage. He also stated that although the premium was a little higher it was not a rate hike it was because of the purchase of the new ambulance last year. The board accepted the insurance policy.

The board adjourned to an executive session to discuss pay increase for EMS and officers in the department. After the board returned, they offered to increase the pay of on-call medic personnel and they will look at the budget and determine what they can do for the officers. The fireboard meets on the second Thursday of each month at 7pm at the fire station. The meetings are open to the public.

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Garrettsville – Starting his third term as mayor of Garrettsville, Craig Moser delivered his annual State of the Village Report at the Garrettsville Village Council meeting on January 11, sharing his retrospective on 2011 as well as his forecast for 2012. The professor of economics focused most of his attention on the fiscal status of the village and its prospects for future economic development.

Looking Back

“The village remained on a firm financial footing throughout 2011,” he reported. “While the year-end numbers will likely show a slight decrease in our cash balances, we continued to be fiscally conservative and very careful about how we spent your tax dollars. Our village income tax revenues continued to grow modestly in 2011, in contrast to the economic slowdown in the larger economy.”

Moser went on to say that the majority of village expenditures went to wages and salaries (approx. $788,000) and employee benefits ($220,000) for a round total of about $1,000,000 for village employee compensation in 2011.

Other major expenditures in 2011 included:

• a new dump truck,

• a new Chevy Tahoe SUV (police canine unit),

• some spending in joint partnership with the Portage County Engineer for repairing and re-opening the north Liberty Street Bridge to traffic,

• new fuel tanks for the Street Department,

• crack-sealing-roads, seal coating parking lots and chip-and-sealing village roads,

• partnering with property owners on Liberty Street for new sidewalks from Center Street to Water Street,

• revising and improving the village website at www.Garrettsville.org with further improvements for 2012 yet to come.

A major accomplishment was ODOT’s completion of a major bridge replacement on Freedom Street in May 2011. The historic-looking spandrel arch bridge features baluster railings and glass-globed lamp-posts. To complement the new bridge, electrical systems on the boardwalk were replaced, then railing lights were added to highlight the walkway and the pedestrian bridge.

Mayor Moser recognized a new citizens’ group, the Garrettsville Economic Development Committee (GEDC), which discusses the village’s economic development efforts with the mayor and serves as  forum where ideas and constructive suggestions “all can lead to G’ville’s improvement on several fronts,” in Moser’s words.

The Board of Public Affairs and the Water Superintendent continue to advance  the 5 million dollar Waste Water Treatment Facility expansion project toward completion. The expansion project should provide the village with a WWTF capacity ready for the next twenty-some years, accommodating new residential and industrial customers yet to come.

Looking Forward

In 2012, plans call for the BPA to continue to replace the village’s 100+ year-old water lines along State Street.

In addition, the mayor foresees “a suitable resolution for the Irwin Hardware property on Main Street.” The vacant historic building was foreclosed upon and now is under the jurisdiction of the Portage County Treasurer and Auditor. Village officials have been working on this project since March 2010. “Perseverance is needed and we will see it through because it is too important not to do so,” Moser said.

The village will meet with Hiram and Freedom Township trustees to discuss the option of forming a new Joint Economic Development District among the three jurisdictions. Property in their townships sit adjacent to Garrettsville’s industrial park. Moser said, “I believe the JEDD is a good thing and would create a potential for added industrially zoned land in the three entities and would benefit all three of us.”

Otherwise, in terms of economic development, the GEDC is conducting a community business survey later in 2012 to help advise how the village can partner with current and prospective businesses to develop further. Monthly GEDC meetings are open to the public and meet at noon on the first Friday of the month in the village hall.

Joe Mayernick, economic development consultant for Garrettsville, is to be instrumental in locating suitable new tenants for the Amweld Building, the former Giant Eagle Grocery store, and the former Paul’s Lumber Yard, among other development projects. His expertise should uncover economic development incentives available to the village, such as real estate tax abatement incentives and other programs available under Ohio law.

Mayor Moser invited residents, businesses and property owners to contact him with concerns and suggestions for the village at mayor@garrettsville.org. Residents are also encouraged to attend any regular monthly meetings of Village Council (second Wednesday of the month), Planning Commission (first Thursday of the month), and BPA meetings (on the Monday before Council).  Meetings are all open and public input is welcome.

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Hiram – After an extensive review of twelve candidates, twenty year police veteran Mr. Edward Samec, Jr. has been appointed by Mayor Lou Bertrand as the new Hiram Police Chief. Mr. Samec is a graduate of both Crestwood H.S. (1988) and the University of Akron. Ed served 14 years with the Hiram Police Department, then with Aurora and since 2005 with the Middlefield Police Department, the last two years as its Chief.

The bids to consolidate Hiram’s waste removal were opened by County Commissioners in September, 2011. Hiram Township has opted to accept the bid of J&J Refuse of Twinsburg, OH. In November, 2011, Village Council voted for R&R Sanitation, Inc. on first reading, however, J&J Refuse submitted the lowest bid for residential service. Legislation is now pending on council’s third and final reading for the Mayor’s signature into law on Tuesday, January 17, 2012.

As reported, the Community Challenge Planning Grant of $175,000 was submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In December this grant application was not accepted.

The grant to build Hiram’s sidewalks along the state routes was approved on January 3rd by AMATS. This Grant for approximately $273,000 was awarded only for newly-constructed sidewalks and not for replacement and repair of existing or old sidewalks.

The Village has also received word from AMATS that the grant for the Hiram Hike and Bike Trail has been approved for more than $800,000. This project will connect the Village and Hiram College Campus to the Biological Field Station and then to the Headwaters Trail.

As for the $50,000 NOPEC energy efficiency grant, the construction is now completed. The Rosser Building’s new insulated doors, windows, heating & A.C. and 80 gallon water heater are now installed.

As previously reported, the Village is awaiting further instructions from ODNR on how to proceed with teh 5.1 acres known as the old Hiram School property. The purchase was enabled by an award of $70,000 from teh Land and Water Conservation Fund and $15,912 under the Ohio Nature  Works Grant Program administered by the ODNR. Total funds for the project: $85,912.

As for the Ohio Public Works Commission grant for Hinsdale Rd. Extension, that project has now been completed and the new road was dedicated in a public ceremony last month.

On December 6, 2011 the Planning and Zoning Commission approved with certain variances the acceptance of the dedication of Winrock Rd. north from new Hinsdale Extension to the cul de sac on Winrock Rd.

The next regular council meeting is January 17, 2012 at  7 p.m. http://www.hiramvillage.org

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Nelson Twp. – Nelson Township Trustees opened the first meeting of the year with Jim Turos, Tom Matota and Joe Leonard in attendance along with Fiscal Officer J. David Finney. Prior to this meeting the trustees set an organizational meeting for 2012 and appointed Jim Turos chairman of the board and Tom Matota as the vice chairman of the board.

Chairman Jim Turos opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. The minutes from the special meeting were approved with corrections. The fiscal officer presented the bills and wages totaling $6399.74, grant application for Pierce Road and a letter from Portage County Solid Waste Management looking for support for their grant for tire recycling.

The board approved the bills and wages and agreed to support the grant for tire recycling.  Finney presented the application to the trustees for Pierce Road project grant. Prior to voting on it, trustee Matota made another suggestion. Matota said they could save money by just replacing the culvert instead of doing all the canal work with the waterway and it would also be finished much quicker than the county’s recommendation. Matota was concerned that the county’s plan would lower the depth of the culvert to a point that would make maintaining the culvert impossible for the township and would allow the silt to build up again and be a recurring problem. He was also concerned about the amount the project will cost. After a long period of discussion Leonard and Turos were not interested in deviating from the county’s plan for the project so they all agreed to file the application for the grant. Matota will help Finney with the specs and get the application filed.

Leonard reported that the fundraiser dinner for the food bank generated $1100 for the food bank. Leonard wanted to thank the Boy Scout Troop 4065 for helping with the dinner. They will probably hold 3-4 dinners a year for the food bank. Leonard also reported that U.S. Liquids is pulling out and the place should be vacated soon as the owner Mark Fuerst has been given an eviction notice. The trustees are still waiting on the results from the EPA on what is in the one tank at the plant that was supposed to be empty but wasn’t when the zoning inspector was at the facility late last year. The trustees and zoning inspector will re-inspect the property Friday, January 6, 2012 to see what U.S. Liquids has left behind.

Leonard updated everyone on the Pierce Road situation. The application for the grant needs to be filed; even though the grant has been approved, the township needs to formally apply for it. The township will need to obtain a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers before bidding out the job. A rough estimate for work to commence is either late March or early April.

Leonard then asked the road supervisor about whether they kept log books for maintenance and fuel consumption of the trucks. Supervisor Chuck Vanek stated “Log books are kept for maintenance but not for fuel consumption,” Leonard suggested that they keep books for both. Vanek agreed to start a log book for the fuel consumption.

Matota suggested that the road crew attend both township meetings each month and give a proposed agenda of work they plan on completing between meetings. He also stated that he had received complaints from the Amish community about the road texture in the winter. The Amish claim the roads become brittle and the horses slide off the frozen roads;  they were not referring to the snow and ice, they were referring to the cold temperatures and the texture of the chip n-seal roads. Matota suggested that the township purchase sand to use so horses can get traction on the road. The board agreed to try the sand on the roads.

Vanek reported that he would like to repair the holes in the side of the truck bed but needed approval in order to purchase materials. After some discussion the trustees said he could but he needed to try several suppliers to get the best price on materials.

In zoning, Anna Mae Vanderhoven reported that they will have their day in court over the parking issue on State Route 282, she also asked when an accessory building is destroyed by fire if she could waive the fee for the building permit. Trustees agreed to waive the fee.

The board reneged on the appointment Joe Leonard to the EMS board and appointed Tom Matota to the board. Residents questioned the move and Matota said they should never have appointed anyone to any position in 2011 until the new trustee was in place in 2012. The appointment was done in 2011and Matota didn’t join the board until January 2012.

The trustees answered numerous questions about zoning issues, especially referring to the U.S. Liquids situation. Residents are angry over the situation and want the trustees to do something to ensure it doesn’t happen again. The trustees said they couldn’t; the only recourse they have is through their zoning code which is how they have been handling the situation. The residents were not happy with the answer.

 

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

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Portage County – Garrettsville resident Charles D. Moore is a new member of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County.

Now retired, Moore worked for the hair care and beauty product company L’Oreal in Solon for 23 years. He started there when it was formerly the Matrix Company and advanced to the job of maintenance supervisor.

Moore said he joined the Mental Health & Recovery Board because as a county resident, he has the desire to help the board further its mission to provide a stable system of quality mental health and substance abuse treatment services available to anyone in need. He believes his business and management experience will benefit financial and planning decisions.

“I like that by being local, the board is more in touch with the people who need assistance. The board can see specifically what is needed and work to make it happen if possible. I want to be part of the process and make a contribution,’” Moore said.

Starting his first four-year term, Moore replaces Streetsboro resident Daniel Todd, who was a board member for eight years.

Moore has lived in Portage County for the past 31 years; in Ravenna and in Streetsboro where his daughter Margie and son Matthew went to school. He and his wife Alice moved to Garrettsville in 2008. They participate with The Bair Foundation, an area non-profit agency that works with children and families,  by providing respite care for families with children who have disabilities, meaning they stay with children so parents can have temporary time away. The Moores attend the First Evangelical Church in Garrettsville.

Moore is a U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War for which he was awarded the Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal.  He attended college at The Ohio State University and Youngstown State University.  He grew up in Berea and was graduated from Berea High School. He is an avid boater and fisherman.

Hiram – This week brought unprecedented cooperation for the Hiram community.  For the first time ever, the village and township officials were sworn in at the same ceremony.  The township proudly welcomed its new Fiscal Officer, Stan Carlisle II and Township Trustee, Jack Groselle.  Hiram Village’s Mayor Lou Bertrand and Council member Paul Spencer were sworn in to new terms.  Frank Hemphill was sworn in for the first time.

The ceremony was held at the historic Garfield Meeting House on the Hiram College campus.  Tom Chema, President of Hiram College offered opening remarks about the true meaning of Christmas and reminded the crowd that  President James A. Garfield preached in the building where the crowd gathered.

This cooperation is in stark contrast to the fierce legal bought fought by the township against the college and the village.  Mr. Chema emphasized working cooperatively at the local level, reminding the crowd that partisan politics has no place in local government.

Differences of political perspectives were nowhere to be seen at this celebration.  The newly-elected officials and their families smiled and exchanged holiday greetings with the small crowd.  The crowd was comprised of friends, family, neighbors, U.S. veterans, other elected officials.  Light refreshments were served following the ceremony.  During this mingling, the new officials shared their enthusiasm for progress in local government in the new year to come.

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Garrettsville – Village Council met on December 14, 2011 for their regularly scheduled monthly meeting. Minutes from the November Council Meeting and a motion to pay the current bills were both approved. Revenue, expenditure, cash balance, and income tax reports were reviewed. There was a brief discussion on the financial state of the Village, which is sound. The Mayor remarked that income tax revenue at the end on November is over one million dollars. He stated that the Village had spent slightly more than they had taken in for 2011. Some of that was due to carry-over expenses from 2010, but there were also some major improvements made including: the Board Walk lighting project, the new canine vehicle for the Police Department, a zero-turn mower, the Liberty Street Bridge repair cost shared with the County, and the new dump truck.
The Mayor recommended Tom Hardesty to fill a vacant seat on the Planning Commission Board. With little discussion, a motion was made for Council to accept the recommendation, then seconded. Council approved the appointment 6-0.
Next on the agenda were several ordinances. Ordinances 2011-69 and 2011-70 pertain to current expenses and expenditures and Ordinance 2011-71 deals with the transfer of funds between accounts to reconcile expenditures for the year. Also up for approval was Ordinance 2011-72, which addresses parking violations. This Ordinance would give the Village authority to impound and immobilize any vehicle with two or more outstanding parking violations within the Village. All ordinances were passed 6-0.
Council then authorized the expenditure to join in the 2012 Portage County Drug Task Force. Members of the task force share in revenues from property seized through the county’s drug enforcement efforts. A citizen in the gallery asked the Mayor how the determination is made for how these funds are spent. The Mayor stated that the Ohio Revised Code dictates how the Drug Task Force funds can be used and it is earmarked only for police “stuff”. All of the accessories for the new canine police cruiser that was purchased this year came from this fund.
The issue of the leaf pick-up service for the Village came up again. It was mentioned that there is a leaf vacuum up for auction from a community down in Southern Ohio, but the auction only lasts six days. Talk focused on whether the Village should attempt to provide the service from within the Village or hire an outside service. Council President Rick Patrick said he would check into the condition of the equipment. After much discussion, Council voted to authorize Council President Rick Patrick to enter into the auction on behalf of the Village and to bid on the equipment up to a maximum not to exceed $12,000.00. Council also determined that if their bidding is not successful, they would discuss at the next Council Meeting proceeding with an outside service.
During a brief round table discussion Councilman Matson reported that the fire department had responded to 289 calls so far this year. Councilman Kaiser stated that the zoning inspector reported that an apartment building on Forest Street is not being kept as it should and suggested contacting the owner. The Village Clerk reported that there has been a permit issued for well drilling on Liberty Street and Councilman Hadzinsky brought up a complaint that was made to him about parking restrictions on Main Street on Saturdays. He questioned the two-hour limit in light of the promotion by the Chamber of Commerce to encourage people to come and shop in town. Council President Patrick also stated that some business owners have requested Council look into not having parking restrictions on the weekends. Councilman Patrick also stated he is looking into better signage directing people to the municipal parking lots and the Boardwalk.
The Mayor is asking for input on the Boardwalk lights. Comments can be emailed to the Mayor directly at mayor@garrettsville.org . He also wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.
The next regular Council meeting will be held on January11th. The meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.

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Nelson Twp. – Nelson Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting last week with trustees Joe Leonard and Jim Turos, and J. David Finney  the fiscal officer. Trustee Bill Wilson was not in attendance.

The minutes were approved as presented. Finney presented the bills and wages along with a financial status report. He requested permission to spend $1200 for office equipment, locks, cabinets etc as they set up an office at township garage. After a brief discussion the trustees approved the measures.

Mr. Finney told the trustees that they would not need to shift meeting dates  next month  due to the year ending nor does he need another meeting scheduled later to wrap up the 2011 finances. So December’s meetings are set as scheduled.

Mr., Turos congratulated Tom Matota on his successful run for trustee in the elections.  Turos also read a letter he received from Ruth Sheehan who has donated $300 for the purchase of Memorial Trees in memory of her husband Ray. The trees will be planted at  Pixley Park. Turos asked to have a separate fund set up for the memorial trees because he did not want the money for the trees to get lost in the general fund. Finney stated he will investigate it but he thinks they can just have a line fund for the item in the general fund. The trustees plan on having a memorial tree fund where residents can donate funds to the account and have a tree purchased in memory of a loved one. They currently have memorial trees on the circle and a few at Pixley Park.

Leonard reported that the possible assistance requested from the state to repair Pierce Road looks favorable.  The trustees have enlisted the help of  Kathleen Clyde to assist with obtaining Issue 2 monies for the repair.

Zoning Inspector, Anna Mae Vanderhoeven reported that she was able to inspect raceways and tank at the U.S. Liquids facility; however she was not permitted to be inside the building. The raceways were full of liquids and the tank was closed but was 2/3 full. The inspector is returning on Friday to re-inspect the facility. Residents questioned the scrap metal and junk outside of the facility and were frustrated with the answers they had received, and want to know what’s being stored in the tanks. Leonard responded and said they were doing what they could but they had to follow the laws. Leonard also said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be back out to inspect the plant as well action must wait for this report. Right now the trustee’s hands are tied and all they can do is report violations and cite the facility.

The trustees meet on the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 pm at the  Community House. The public is encouraged to attend. More township information can be obtained from their web site www.nelsontownshipohio.org

Freedom Township – The Regular Meeting of the Freedom Township Board of Trustees was called to order by Chairman Hammar at 7:30 pm on Thursday, October 20, 2011. Present: Trustees James Hammar, Roy Martin, John Zizka; Rosemary Nicholas, Fiscal Officer; Jeff Derthick, Zoning Inspector, Charles VanSteenberg, Road Supervisor. Also present: Harold Cain, Charles Duffield and Dan Grafton.

Mr. Hammar led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mr. Zizka made the motion, seconded by Mr. Martin to approve the minutes of the October 6, 2011 regular meeting as presented. Motion carried.

During the Public Comment section Mr. Cain asked about the beaver dam. Mr. VanSteenberg said the water was flowing but not fast enough to prevent flooding.

Mr. Hammar said the trustees would take it under advisement and see what they could do. Mr. Zizka said he would again call ODOT.

Mr. Derthick said the zoning office received several calls about the explosions heard throughout the township the last couple of days. It was reported in the Record Courier (after the fact) that this was activity at Camp Ravenna.

Mr. Derthick said the Board of Appeals met to journalize minutes. The Zoning Commission is working on the wording for portable temporary storage units as well as hydronic furnaces, gambling parlors and internet cafes. The new computer is up and running. He is waiting for paper work from the Prosecutor’s office on the Conley pre-trial as well as a violation on S.R. 700. Mr. Zizka requested that the zoning office provide the board with a listing of zoning office activity (notices, etc.) so that if a resident calls one of the trustees, they are aware of it. In response to a question from Mr. Hammar, Mr. Derthick said the recent BZA activity involved a conditional use permit, and not a variance with conditions. Mr. Hammar said we need to schedule the Zoning Seminar to be held sometime this winter.

Roads: Mr. VanSteenberg said the road crew has been patching Gotham, Vair and Slagle and ditching on Hewins. They put a stack on the Kodiak truck. The oil pan is leaking. A new one is $397, or Tim Patrick can repair it (as he did the gas tanks) for $250. He does this type of work for the county and they gave him a good reference. M&L would provide labor for between $260 and $300. Mr. Martin made the motion, seconded by Mr. Zizka, to have the oil pan on the Kodiak truck repaired by Tim Patrick (Linings, Inc.) for $250 plus up to $300 to M&L for labor, plus $38 for a gasket. Motion carried.

Mr. VanSteenberg said they had the 2009 Ford truck aligned at Kepich; they recommended pumping out the transmission fluid and replacing it at 24,000 miles. He will get more information on this. They also recommended two new tires on the front because of uneven wear. Mr. Martin suggested we buy four new mud/snow tires for the rear. Mr. VanSteenberg will get prices. The fuel tanks at the garage passed the recent testing. The inspector told Mr. Hammar that they ask for a pressure test when they do the inspection because the tanks can sometimes get damaged in transit. There was no charge to the township for this testing.

Park: Mr. VanSteenberg said that someone planted five seedlings at the park without township approval. They are in bad condition and will be removed. Mr. Hammar reported on the recent Park Committee meeting. Two gentlemen from soccer leagues attended to discuss fields. We are looking at the field to the east of the Joeright property and the field at the town hall.

Before anything is done, we need to determine level of interest. Mr. Hammar said he welcomes any suggestions.

Cemetery: The paving has not been done because of weather.

Fire: Mr. Martin reported on personnel, equipment maintenance, purchase of gas monitors and fire hose, and changing the phone service to Frontier, which will save money. The trustees gave approval to post signs on township property in support of the fire levy. Mr. Hammar asked if we could get a dry hydrant at the ski lake. Mr. Zizka will talk to the property owner before Mr. Martin brings it back to the Fire Department.

Mr. Hammar made the motion, seconded by Mr. Martin, that the Freedom Township Board of Trustees goes on record as endorsing the Joint Fire District renewal levy on the November 8 ballot.  Motion carried.

EMS: Mr. Zizka reported that the central air has been installed, all lighting has been updated (with grant money), and the parking lot has been sealed. The Fire Association will reimburse the cost of striping for handicap parking. They will be selling a generator that is no longer needed. The new full time paramedic is working out well.

Regional Planning: Mr. Hammar said there was nothing significant to report.

Mr. Zizka reported on the storm water task force meeting he attended. Two questions were asked at that meeting: what can be done to prevent piles of rock salt along the roads; what is the repercussion from cleaning ditches and does that add to erosion.

There was also a discussion about proper salt storage.

Mr. Zizka made the motion, seconded by Mr. Martin, to schedule the year-end meeting for Thursday, December 29, at 7:30 pm.

Mr. Martin made the motion, seconded by Mr. Zizka, authorizing James Hammar, Chairman, Freedom Township Board of Trustees, to prepare and submit an application to participate in the Ohio Public Works Commission State Capital Improvement and/or Local Transportation Improvement Program, and to execute contracts as required for the Vaughn Road Resurfacing Project. Motion carried.

Mr. Martin made the motion, seconded by Mr. Hammar, to adopt the Hold Harmless Agreement for Court-Ordered Community Service. Motion carried.

This has been reviewed and approved by Mr. Meduri. Copies will be provided to Mr. VanSteenberg.

The board acknowledged receipt of the public hearing on the road vacation in the Timberstone Subdivision. There were no objections, and no board action was required.

Mr. Martin made the motion, seconded by Mr. Zizka, to reimburse for registration, hotel, taxi, parking, meals, mileage and incidentals for the Fiscal Officer or any Trustee who attends the Ohio Township Association Winter Conference in 2012. Motion carried. Mr. Zizka commented that the township should not be picking up any spouse expenses.

Unfinished Business:

Mr. Zizka said that JC Electric has offered to supply material and labor to wire the town hall pavilion, at no cost to the township. Plans are to do it the first week in November. In consideration, the township will allow his sign to be posted. JC Electric is also donating two work boxes to the township that can be used at the ball field for storage.

Mr. Zizka provided a draft of items to be considered on the agreement for shared township road responsibilities, including designated section/portion of road; roadway surface to be maintained; and signage. He suggested that the townships involved be sent a letter explaining what we want to do and the purpose, and then plan to meet on location with the road supervisor and at least one trustee from each township. Mr. Zizka will follow through on this. He welcomes any suggestions.

We are still waiting to hear from Mr. Miller regarding the town hall porch work.

Mr. Hammar suggested that the employee evaluations be completed by the December 15 meeting. All agreed.

Mr. Derthick noted that our tax maps date back to 2006-2007 and he would like to get updated copies. He will get a price.

During the meeting, warrants #5789 – #5798 in the amount of $2,795.45 were presented to the Trustees for approval and ordered paid by signature.

There being no further business, Mr. Zizka made the motion, seconded by Mr. Hammar to adjourn the meeting at 9:22 pm.

Well, I think that this makes it official.  “Family Circus” is certainly one of the most innocuous cartoon strips featured in the funny papers and today–Halloween–the oldest of the children–Jeffy, I think his name is–says to his mother, “Daddy said that if I want to be something REALLY scary, I should dress up as a politician.”  Ain’t it the truth!

The local signs have sprouted pretty heavily  lately (I hesitate to say that they’re like a fungus, which has been quite prolific this fall; the fungi have probably been more colorful…but just barely), mostly at intersections where drivers have to stop and might  get a half-second burst of political persuasion whether they want it or not. And, truthfully, the local races and issues are ones that more people ought to pay more attention to.  Your chances of meeting up with a presidential hopeful are pretty slim, even given the fact that Ohio is considered a “swing state”, but you certainly could come face-to-face with the person who makes zoning decisions or decides whether or not your road needs work (Whose doesn’t?) or picks the next school superintendent… in the grocery store aisle right next to the toilet paper.  Candidate nights are where you can actually see who it is that wants to work for you–township, village, city, school board–for the next four years.

Their advertising is pretty straightforward too : Vote for So-and-So, Retain Whats-her-face, Re-elect Bobs-Your-Uncle.  Not too many aspersions being cast about anybody’s financial peccadillos  or offensive proclivities (marital, managerial or otherwise) in local race  advertising; maybe it’s because they all figure that everybody has already got that dirt at the last bowling night or trip to the laundromat.  Even party doesn’t intrude all that often at this level.  Mostly, it operates the same way as my mother who, though a staunch Republican (and poll worker for many years) always (I’m assuming “always” though nobody has to know how you vote once you go into that voting booth and she didn’t feel the necessity of divulging that information to all and sundry) voted for Rep. Don. Pease, a Democrat, because she went to high school with him and figured that if she ever needed anything from the government (highly unlikely, but still….) it wouldn’t hurt to know somebody who could hum the same alma mater.  You betcha!

Issues?…now there’s another kettle of fish altogether.  Local ones sometimes get “slimed” by no-good-niks leaving unsigned screeds in mailboxes (Illegal, by the way) or wildly unfactual or wrong-headed statements made to meetings or media.  Schools and zoning are often targets of individuals claiming that to save money first graders can, by Jiminy, walk two miles to school ( uphill both ways!) and use McGuffey’s Readers like their grandparents and the next thing you know there will be jack-booted storm troopers snooping about preventing honest citizen from butchering goats in their front yards or running a hazardous materials landfill on the back forty to put food on the table.  Appalling!

Statewide, it’s all about “spin”…and money, of course.  Occasionally, it reminds one of the old joke(?) about the man who killed his parents then pled for mercy before the court because he was an orphan.

Issue 1 is about allowing judges to serve on the bench past the current retirement age mandated at 75.  Some of them shouldn’t be there at all, let alone at 75.  We should all be paying more attention to what goes on in the courts and stop just automatically re-electing.  New blood is not necessarily good or bad.  Think.

Issue 2 –who hasn’t heard about that one?–is, basically, about collective bargaining for public employees…or not.  Read carefully.  Seems to me it’s rather insulting to local officials who are, apparently, adjudged to be incompetent to negotiate with local employees (Ask any one of them how much they enjoy having to take a beating for depriving the public of services or grinding   loyal workers under the heel of financial necessity.  Oh yeah, that’s fun!).

Issue 3 has been sailing along under the radar but has the potential to be a real bombshell.  My reading of it is that (Ironically, since this is the150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War) all the states get to do whatever they want whenever federal law isn’t something that they like.(Hey  you, Lincoln, get your cotton-pickin’ hands off my slaves!), especially, in this case, when it has to do with health care.  I think it would put the rest of us on the hook for all of those folks–and there will be some–who don’t wish to pay for insurance and will leave the bill at emergency rooms for the general public to pay (as we do already, only worse).  It’s got more hidden kinks than you can shake a stick at…most of them bad.

For a generally positive voter–that would be me–looks like I get a chance to vote no with a clear conscience.

Locally, different story: Library–YES! Fire district–YES!  No Brainers!

Portage County Water Resources has received a $1,000 Ohio EPA environmental education mini grant to increase public awareness of the county’s water and wastewater treatment plants. The county was one of ten Ohio organizations to be awarded Ohio EPA environmental education mini grants totaling $42,813.

Portage County Water Resources will use the money to print and distribute educational pamphlets to customers. The pamphlets will show residents how they can help protect surface water and drinking water supplies, properly dispose of wastes and become good stewards of the environment. The outreach effort also will help the county meet source water protection plan and wastewater pretreatment plan requirements.

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Windham Twp. – Windham Township Trustees met for their regularly-scheduled meeting last Thursday with trustees Dann Timmons, Brian Miller and Jesse Wirick, along with fiscal officer Jayme Neikirk, in attendance. The meeting was called to order and guest Betty Clapp, president of the board of trustees of the Portage County District Library (PCDL). Clapp was seeking support for the library levy that is on the ballot this fall. She stated that the library is currently trying to operate on a budget for 1997. The library receives about 95% of its funding from the government which has reduced funding to libraries considerably over the last few years. The library expects to see more reductions of  government funding. The levy will generate enough funding to extend library hours, restore staffing, update computers and more. The cost to a homeowner with a $100,000 home is $30 a year or $2.50 a month.  The trustees discussed the issue and agreed to endorse the library levy.

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as presented.  In safety news, Timmons announced that the old rescue squad that was replaced with a new unit was sold to North Lawrence Fire Department. Questions about panic/ crash bars on the doors at the town hall were brought up at a previous meeting, which had Timmons researching the issue. Timmons stated that he was unable to confirm whether it was required or not. According to the American Disability Act it isn’t listed as a requirement, however, he is going to have the fire chief inspect the building and see if it is a requirement for the fire department.

The next item on the agenda was the roads. Supervisor Rich Gano reported that the salt was in and the trucks are ready to roll for winter. A discussion was held about removing five dead trees on Colton Road in the road right-of-way. After the discussion the trustees approved the removal of the trees for $700, providing they received something in writing from the resident stating he didn’t object to the removal. In other road news, the trustees approved the crack sealing of Wadsworth, Werger and Bryant Roads along with paving an apron at the bus turn- around on Wadsworth Road. The job is contracted to Hard Labor of Windham.

Zoning issues: the board held a public meeting prior to the regular meeting to discuss proposed zoning changes.  The changes were a hot topic and the trustees were unable to address all the proposals so a vote on the changes was not taken. Another public meeting on the issues can be expected. Several residents wanted clarification on accessory building height. One place in the current zoning code states no taller than 15 feet and another says 35 feet. Timmons said it was vague and that they had set a precedent of 15 feet when the trustees had previously turned down other requests and sent them through the zoning board of appeals process. Timmons said he was uncomfortable making any adjustments different from the precedent until the zoning code is updated, because he was concerned about former applicants suing the township. Trustees Miller and Wirick also stood firm on the issue. Until the code is updated to 35 feet the resident will have to apply for a variance and go through the appeals process.

Wirick updated everyone on the status of the NOPEC Grant Project on the town hall and service garage. Everything is just about done except the electrical work which is supposed to be completed soon.

In other news, the cemetery footers are scored out and if the weather cooperates they should  be poured next Wednesday October 12, 2011.

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

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Nelson Twp. – Nelson Township trustees met for their regularly-scheduled meeting last week with Trustees Joe Leonard, Bill Wilson and Jim Turos along with Fiscal Officer J. David Finney in attendance. The meeting was called to order by Chairman Joe Leonard and the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag was recited. The fiscal officer presented bills and wages, along with bank reconciliation and funds status report. After reviewing the fiscal officer’s items the board approved the expenditures along with the bank reconciliation. Finney also read an invitation he received for the trustees to attend the grand opening of the surgical center at Robinson Memorial Hospital slated for October 25, 2011 and a letter from Garrettsville requesting to be notified of any oil/ gas permits issued in the township.

Chuck Vanek, road supervisor reported that they had spent most of the rainy days working on the trucks and expect to have a “mowing marathon” this week as it has finally quit raining. Vanek also reported that the culvert on Pierce Road continues to wash out and asked what he should do with it now. After some discussion, the trustees decided to draft a letter to the county engineer for assistance in the matter.

Mr. Bill Wilson had nothing to report.

Mr. Turos reiterated Vanek’s report by stating the road crew had been busy working on the trucks during all the rain.

Leonard presented the board with the electric updates and heating and cooling update bids for the community house. After some discussion the trustee voted to accept the lowest bid on the electric service and awarded the contract to Mike’s Electric. The board decided to table the heating and cooling bid until they have a chance to re-appropriate the funds. The heating and cooling expenses will exceed the grant amount so the funds will need to be re-appropriated before the work can begin.

Leonard also presented two zoning changes that he would like the trustees to approve before sending them on to the zoning commission for approval. The first one was to allow temporary use of a camper on an undeveloped piece of property while owner is working on developing the property. The other change was to allow home based businesses in the township. Both measures have restrictions on them and were modeled after other township’s codes in Portage County. After some discussion the board approved the suggestions and will send them to the zoning commission.

Other reports presented were the Harvest Moon Festival, which reported that the event was a success, food bank is expected to be open in January, and the portable storage building at the park should be up soon.

Guest Todd Peetz from the county planning commission explained what services they offered and how they could assist the township with a variety of issues.

The trustees meet on the first and third Wednesday of each month at the community house at 7:30. The public is always welcome to attend and see what their elected officials are doing in their township. More Nelson news and information can be found on the website www.nelsontownshipohio.org

Nelson Twp. – Nelson Township trustees met for their regularly-scheduled meeting last week with Trustees Joe Leonard, Bill Wilson and Jim Turos along with Fiscal Officer J. David Finney in attendance. The meeting was called to order by Chairman Joe Leonard and the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag was recited. The fiscal officer presented bills and wages, along with bank reconciliation and funds status report. After reviewing the fiscal officer’s items the board approved the expenditures along with the bank reconciliation. Finney also read an invitation he received for the trustees to attend the grand opening of the surgical center at Robinson Memorial Hospital slated for October 25, 2011 and a letter from Garrettsville requesting to be notified of any oil/ gas permits issued in the township.
Chuck Vanek, road supervisor reported that they had spent most of the rainy days working on the trucks and expect to have a “mowing marathon” this week as it has finally quit raining. Vanek also reported that the culvert on Pierce Road continues to wash out and asked what he should do with it now. After some discussion, the trustees decided to draft a letter to the county engineer for assistance in the matter.
Mr. Bill Wilson had nothing to report.
Mr. Turos reiterated Vanek’s report by stating the road crew had been busy working on the trucks during all the rain.
Leonard presented the board with the electric updates and heating and cooling update bids for the community house. After some discussion the trustee voted to accept the lowest bid on the electric service and awarded the contract to Mike’s Electric. The board decided to table the heating and cooling bid until they have a chance to re-appropriate the funds. The heating and cooling expenses will exceed the grant amount so the funds will need to be re-appropriated before the work can begin.
Leonard also presented two zoning changes that he would like the trustees to approve before sending them on to the zoning commission for approval. The first one was to allow temporary use of a camper on an undeveloped piece of property while owner is working on developing the property. The other change was to allow home based businesses in the township. Both measures have restrictions on them and were modeled after other township’s codes in Portage County. After some discussion the board approved the suggestions and will send them to the zoning commission.
Other reports presented were the Harvest Moon Festival, which reported that the event was a success, food bank is expected to be open in January, and the portable storage building at the park should be up soon.
Guest Todd Peetz from the county planning commission explained what services they offered and how they could assist the township with a variety of issues.
The trustees meet on the first and third Wednesday of each month at the community house at 7:30. The public is always welcome to attend and see what their elected officials are doing in their township. More Nelson news and information can be found on the website www.nelsontownshipohio.org

Freedom Township – The Regular Meeting of the Freedom Township Board of Trustees was called to order by Chairman Hammar at 7:30 pm on Thursday, September 15, 2011. Present: Trustees James Hammar, Roy Martin, John Zizka; Rosemary Nicholas, Fiscal Officer; Jeff Derthick, Zoning Inspector, Charles VanSteenberg, Road Supervisor. Also present: Harold Cain and Charles Duffield.
Mr. Hammar led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. Martin made the motion, seconded by Mr. Zizka to approve the minutes of the August 18, 2011 Regular Meeting as presented. Motion carried.
Mr. Hammar made the motion, seconded by Mr. Zizka, at 7:35 pm to move to Executive Session to discuss pending litigation. At 7:48 p.m. Mr. Martin made the motion, seconded by Mr. Zizka, at 7:48 pm to return to Regular Session.
Zoning: Mr. Derthick reported that two nuisance letters were sent out. The Board of Appeals has two hearings scheduled for September 20. He continues to have problems with the zoning office computer and presented the trustees with quotes on a new computer from HardParts Technology Services in Ravenna. After discussion, Mr. Hammar made the motion, seconded by Mr. Martin, to purchase a new HP desktop computer and monitor from HardParts Technology Services in Ravenna for $499.00.Motion carried.
Mr. Derthick will talk with them about transferring the data from the old computer to the new one.
Roads: Mr. VanSteenberg reported that flooding had occurred on Hewins Road again Saturday. Mr. Ruffing wants to know if trustees will put the pipe in for him. He already has the pipe, and he will pay for the stone. The trustees reviewed the current culvert policy. Mr. Zizka made the motion, seconded by Mr. Hammar, to install the pipe for Mr. Ruffing on Hewins Road for a flat fee of $50 for labor; Mr. Ruffing to supply the material. Motion carried.
Mr. VanSteenberg said he’d like to order grits for the roads this winter. Brugmann’s is asking $10 per ton; Ballentine’s price is $6.50 per ton. Mr. Hammar made the motion, seconded by Mr. Zizka, to purchase up to 200 tons of grits from Ballentine’s at a price of $6.50 per ton.  Motion carried.
In other business, Mr. VanSteenberg reported that they have been ditching on Asbury and Hewins. A plugged gutter at the Community Center caused some flooding. The rental house also had some water issues, and they tarred the flashing around the chimney which hopefully will solve that problem. Mr. Martin said he thought we should take out one concrete slab of the walk at the rear of the Community Center and fill it in with gravel, until we can put in a ditch and drain. Mr. Hammar agreed. Mr. VanSteenberg suggested that we have Karen Martin put up new wallpaper at the town hall. There was no objection. Mr. Hammar suggested we get some samples and prices to consider.
Cemetery: The chip and seal work has been postponed because of rain.
Park: We won’t hear anything about the grant until late October.
Fire: Mr. Martin reported on personnel issues and noted that the Chief had applied for a grant for safety equipment.
EMS: Mr. Zizka distributed minutes of the last meeting. A new full-time paramedic has been hired.
They wrote off $1,680 for residents for the month of August. Chief Friess agreed to split the cost of replacing the cutting tools for the Jaws of Life. Lightning struck the phone system and wiped out three computers, base radio, and current breakers for the scrubber.
Regional Planning: Mr. Hammar reported that they granted some extensions and are working on minor zoning changes for Suffield.
Fiscal Officer: The trustees signed the bank reconciliation for the period ending 8/31/11. They also signed a deed for Drakesburg Cemetery, Lot No. 642, Graves A/B (Kaiser). The price of salt for the 2011-12 season is $42.72 per ton (down from $43.20 last year).
Mrs. Nicholas said she continues to work with Burnham & Flower in setting up the Health Reimbursement Account, to be effective October 1, and needed a resolution to set up a special account at Middlefield Bank for this purpose.
Mr. Martin made the motion, seconded by Mr. Zizka to have the HRA bank account established at Middlefield Bank. Motion carried.New Business:
Crown Castle Lease: Mr. Hammar made the motion, seconded by Mr. Martin, to notify Crown Castle that we have no interest at this time in extending our current lease agreement for an additional twenty years. Motion carried.
Nuisance Complaint: Mr. Zizka said a neighbor to property still owned by Lawsons on Slagle Road complained that the grass has not been mowed. His concern was that should the vegetation catch on fire, it could possibly spread to his parcel. Mr. Zizka made the motion, seconded by Mr. Martin, to send a letter to Mr. Lawson asking that he have someone take care of mowing his property on Slagle Road. Motion carried.
Trespassing Complaint: Mr. Zizka said he got a call from the owner of property immediately south of Drakesburg Cemetery who again brought up the matter of trespassing on his property, and the township fence being in need of repair at the back of our property. The property owner also suggested that if we do replace the fence that we put a gate on it so that we could mow outside the fence, on his property.
There is no evidence of anyone going through our cemetery. Mr. Zizka suggested that one solution might be to close the cemetery gates at night, as we used to do. Mr. Hammar agreed this could be done.
Mr. Martin suggested the resident post “no trespassing” signs on his property and call the Sheriff if someone trespasses. It was agreed by the trustees that this is not a township issue, it is a civil matter. Mr. Zizka will convey this to the property owner.
Mr. Zizka has samples of hold harmless clauses (from the OTARMA web site) and will be working on an agreement with adjoining townships. It will be sent to Mr. Meduri for review. Mr. Zizka will contact the townships involved. He also had a hold harmless agreement to be used when community service work is done. This will be provided to Mr. VanSteenberg to have signed in the future.
Mr. Hammar has not had any contact with Attorney Smith regarding the oil well lease issue. He will set up another appointment for the trustees to meet with him.
Regarding electricity for the pavilion, Mr. Hammar will check with Mr. Rothermel to see what his schedule is, whether he has time to do the work, or if he would prefer that we find someone else.
During the meeting, warrants #5737 – 5752 in the amount of $5,845.78 were presented to the Trustees for approval and ordered paid by signature.
There being no further business, Mr. Martin made the motion, seconded by Mr. Zizka, to adjourn the meeting at 9:02 pm. Motion carried.

Middlefield – By community request, the Middlefield Library will be hosting the “Middlefield Mayoral Candidate Forum” on Wednesday, October 12 at 7:00 pm.   Learn the candidates’ platform and views. The forum will consist of three rounds: opening statements, question and answer session, and closing statements.  The public may submit general questions for the second round.  All questions must be submitted before the beginning of the forum.  Questions will be randomly selected from the submitted questions.  Question submission slips will be available at the Middlefield Library prior to the forum.  Watch and make an informed decision on the future of the community. The Middlefield Library is located at 16167 E. High Street, Middlefield, Ohio 44062.

Hiram – In the Mayor’s report to Village Council,  Mayor Bertram thanked all who have offered condolences after the death of his business partner and law associate Dennis Zavinski, who was killed in an automobile accident on  SR 14, in Streetsboro, September 10, 2011.
On Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. the Commission conducted a meeting to approve/amend the engineering site plans for the addition, by Verizon, of six (6) additional cell antennae on Hiram College property between the college townhouses and the physical plant. After a review by the commission, the plans were approved.  Pending the approval of the performance bond by the Village Solicitor, the project will go forward.
The Village has applied for a Community Challenge Planning Grant in the amount of $140,000 (Total Project cost of $175,000). Hiram Village’s commitment of $9,000 in cash and in-kind services, along with Hiram College’s commitment of $26,000 of the local share in cash and in-kind services will total our $35,000 local share. This Planning Grant will produce the Community Master Plan that will guide our community’s growth for the next 25 to 50 years.
As for the $50,000 NOPEC energy efficiency grant the construction is currently proceeding. Please note the new energy-efficient lighting throughout the municipal building and service garage. Windows, insulation and doors on the village structures will completed late this year.
Also, as reported, Ferdinand Fojas, M.D. has offered to sell the old school property to the Village for $160,000 with a credit of $30,000. The Village is awaiting a decision on the grants that were applied for in February 1, 2011.  The two (2) ODNR grants total $94,000. However, the Village is constrained not to enter into a written Purchase/Sales Agreement until the State rules on the two (2) ODNR grant applications, The ruling is now scheduled for October  24, 2011.
The Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) Grant bids came in at approximately $9,000 over the proposed 50% grant with other 50% to be financed by the college. On August 30, 2011 Council accepted the bid of Tri Mor Construction of Tallmadge, OH.  The project is proceeding as planned for $177,500 which is a 50% grant for Hinsdale Rd. Extension with Hiram College bearing balance of the costs. A formal commitment contract was signed last month by Hiram College President Tom Chema  and approved in Ordinance 2011-18 and Resolution 2011-15.
On June 24th, July 15th and again on August 2nd, 2011 Mayor Bertrand and Village Solicitor Tom Reitz met with President Chema and Attorney Douglas Paul, counsel for the college along with Village Builders Inc., township trustee, Steve Pancost and township legal counsel Mr. Al Schrader, and legal counsel for the taxpayers’ suit and the township’s appropriation lawsuit in an effort to settle all litigation. Settlement proposals are currently being drafted and exchanged by legal counsel of the parties.
There are a number of ongoing construction projects: Miller Hall, Hinsdale Hall and the  College Library along with the resurfacing of Henry Field and the complete remodeling of all the locker rooms at Price Gymnasium. The College will be installing approximately 210 new state-of-the-art dressing rooms, showers and bathroom facilities. There was a dedication on Saturday, September 10, 2011.
In recognition of this project it has been suggested that, although the College owns the right-of-way, that council pass an emergency resolution of congratulations and join the College in renaming the right of way “Terrier Drive” (effective immediately).
The Mayor whole-heartedly endorses Ordinance 2011-23 requiring all who are paid by an employer with its principal place of business located within the corporate limits of the Village of Hiram pay the Hiram income taxes, as almost all other Ohio municipal income taxes require. After all, Hiram Village gives 100% credit for all other municipal income taxes paid by village residents.
The next regular Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at  7 p.m.
All meetings are held in Council Chambers, Rosser Municipal Building, (330) 569-7677,  11617 Garfield Road, Hiram, Ohio 44234, except as noted.

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Garrettsville – Village Council met on Wednesday, September 10, for their regularly  scheduled monthly meeting.   A Public Hearing on changes to Zoning Ordinances 2011-37, 2011-38, 2011-39, 2011-40, and 2011-41 was to have taken place, but due to a clerical issue, the hearing had to be postponed.  The public hearing on these ordinances will take place before the scheduled council meeting on November 9, 2011.

Minutes from the August council meeting and a motion to pay the current bills were both approved.  Revenue, expenditure, cash balance, and income tax reports were again reviewed.  The Mayor commented that the village remains fiscally “in good shape”.
The Mayor and Village Council presented a plaque to the JAGS girls’ softball team for “a job well done” in winning their second-in-a-row title.

The Mayor then recognized resident Karen Krenzel whose village property was damaged recently by flooding caused by a misrouted repair to a village storm sewer line.  Ms. Krenzel presented a report on the cause of the flooding and also submitted an estimate for repairs to her pastures.  Furthermore, she asked council to provide for future needs to maintain the repair that would keep flooding controlled.   Council unanimously passed a resolution approving repairs not to exceed $1100 and will work with Ms. Krenzel in establishing a maintenance contract.

Next the Mayor recognized Cecilia Swanson, representing the Portage County Library system.  She discussed the library levy that will be on the November ballot and asked council for their support and endorsement of the levy.   Ms. Swanson stated that the levy was a 1-year/5-mil levy to cover current expenses for the library system.   She also informed council that state funding has been drastically cut over the last 10 years which is why the library system has had to cut staffing and materials and abbreviate the hours they are opened.  They are hoping that with the passage of the levy  the library system can return to near 2001 operating levels.  Council unanimously passed a resolution to support the Portage County Library Levy efforts.

Ordinance 2011-36, which will provide regulations for the use of large portable signs within the village had its third reading.  It will also be placed on the agenda for the public hearing in November.  Ordinance 2011-47 was passed as amended under recommendation from the BPA, establishing a policy limiting bulk water purchases in the village.

Discussion resumed about Garrettsville’s athletic fields and how to control use, limit liability, and collect revenue to help with improvements, repairs and upkeep.   Ordinance 2011-45 was read for the second time reflecting a decrease in the fee schedule from its first reading.  Concern was voiced again about the fees being too high.  It was decided to table further discussion until the October meeting, to give council time to further investigate their options.

Council voted to enact Ordinance 2011-50 authorizing a request to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation for clarification on coverage of unpaid reserve police officers working for the village.  The ordinance also authorizes the mayor to enter into any necessary contracts to effect coverage.  Council also voted to enact Resolution 2011-51, which authorizes the necessary tax levies and certifies them to the county auditor, and two other resolutions authorizing the village clerk to initiate internet auctions for the sale of two vehicles that had been confiscated and used by the drug task force.  Proceeds from the sales go back into the drug fund.

Discussion also resumed regarding the importance of declaring an urban renewal for the village.  Ordinance 2011-48 would allow the Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) ordinance that is already on the books to be reactivated and updated.  The passage of the ordinance provides options for the village in enticing new businesses to the area. One possibility is tax abatement.  It was also discussed on whether this ordinance should be passed as an emergency measure to allow it to take immediate effect.  The vote carried 4-2 to enact the ordinance as written and not on an emergency basis.

Council unanimously passed resolution 2011-53 declaring an emergency and authorizing the village solicitor to obtain title for the village to the property located at 8143 Main Street (the old Irwin Hardware building) The village solicitor received notice from the county prosecutor’s office that they are seeking forfeiture of the property due to tax foreclosure.
Council passed emergency Resolution 2011-54 which declares a nuisance and directs the owner of the property in question on Brosius Road to make any necessary repairs or replacements to comply.

Discussion was held from a recommendation from BPA to council to allow Arcadis to provide engineering services related to the cost and design of the elevated support system and walkway for the water main located under the Liberty Street/Water Street Bridge.  The cost is estimated to be between $14,000 and $17,000 for the engineering service.  Council passed a motion to authorize the engineering services.

The Mayor suggested a “safety service” to the taxpayers in providing financial assistance in the removal of  dead or dangerous trees on their property.  The property owner would be required to pay $200/tree and the village would cover the rest.  Council approved the expenditure, not to exceed $10,000 for the project.

The Mayor declared that Halloween trick-or-treating times had been set.  It will be October 31st from 6-7:30 p.m.
During roundtable discussion Councilman Matson reported that the fire department is moving forward with plans for an equipment storage building.  Next, Councilman Kaiser informed council that the Community EMS building had been hit by lightening during a recent storm.  He reported that there was damage to the radio system, computers and phone system as well as some other electrical issues.  Councilman Kaiser stated that vital information from the computers had been backed-up and it didn’t appear that any information had been lost.  He also stated repairs were in progress, and the phone system was now operational.

Councilman Klamer thanked council and the planning commission for waiving the permit fee for the building of the new football stadium ticket booth.  Mr. Klamer reminded everyone that the business showcase is October 20, 2011 from 5 to 8 p.m. in the James A. Garfield High School Gymnasium.  He closed by mentioning that the high school art students are planning to begin painting the old railroad bridge abutment on S.R. 82 near Sky Plaza on September 27th.

Councilwoman Clyde brought up the subject of the leaf vacuum that has been discussed in prior meetings.  She asked if a purchase would be happening before this year’s leaf season.  After a brief discussion of the issue, no determination was made, however Council President Rick Patrick offered to continue looking into pricing and options.

The Mayor reported on the opening of the new Robinson Health Care Center in Garrettsville. [ed. note: the health center officially opened on September 19th, 2011.]  He stated that the street department is cleaning the boardwalk, and the new municipal lot behind the old Irwin Hardware store is waiting on the weather for the chip and seal to be completed.

Council President Patrick thanked and praised everyone involved in the Peach Social/Car Cruise in August.  He stated it was one of the biggest and best they’ve had.  He reported that light poles on the Windham Street bridge, still needed to be fixed and markers still had to be installed.

The next regular Village Council meeting will be held on October 12th.  A public hearing will begin at 7:30 p.m. and the meeting will commence immediately after at Village Hall.

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Windham Twp. – Windham Township Trustees met for their regularly-scheduled meeting at the town hall last Thursday. The minutes were approved as presented and the meeting moved on to zoning issues. Zoning inspector Rich Gano said he was having more request for zoning permits and things were picking up in that area. Gano asked the status of the question he had asked previously on the restoration of a mobile home verses removal of one that is in violation of the zoning code. Trustee Dann Timmons stated that he would check with prosecutor on the issue. The zoning board has listed their proposed amendments to the zoning code; copies were available at the meeting. After some discussion the board moved to set a public hearing on the new proposals for October 6, 2011 at 6:30, which is a half hour prior to the regular meeting, residents are urged to attend. Anyone who did not receive a copy of the proposed changes and would like one, may pick up a copy at Dann Timmons’ office located at 8132 Main Street in Garrettsville.

The zoning board announced they have tabled a decision on mowing vacant properties until they receive more information on how to enforce it.
Road Supervisor Rich Gano said Bryant is deteriorating quickly and after some investigation he figured that chip-n-sealing would be best solution. The best estimate Gano obtained was $33,000 for chip-n-sealing of the road. No decision was made on the road situation as the trustees want look at other more cost effective options. Other road issues that were discussed were Wadsworth, Werger and Hewins again no decisions were made.

This brought out a discussion on the budget. Timmons stated that with local governments losing 25% of state funding next year and 25% the following year that the trustees were going to have to tighten their belts and watch their monies. He said with the cuts, the township would lose about 25% of their operation budget since they receive about 45% of their funds from the state.
The board approved the removal of a tree at the cemetery that was struck by lightning. Lawrence Eckman was awarded the contract to remove the tree and grind the stump; estimated cost for the entire project is $1500.

The new lights are up on the Green along with the old ones. After numerous attempts to get the old lights removed, the township was left with no choice but to terminate their agreement with the village on paying a percentage of electric bill for the old lights as the new lights are on the township’s bill. The old lighting was installed under a joint agreement with the village that supposedly saved the township money. In the agreement the township would reimburse the village for the electricity used for the lighting. The lights, though on township property, were considered village-owned because the bill was in their name. Ohio Edison will not remove the old lines without the village’s permission. The township says they had a verbal agreement with Mayor Rob Donham II who later decided it needed to go through zoning. A zoning application was filed and the township claims the mayor verbally agreed to it but kept cancelling the work order for Ohio Edison. A call was placed to Mayor Rob Donham II and he claims he has never agreed to the removal of the lights because the township has yet to submit a photometric plan for the new lights. The mayor claims they need to be sure that the new light’s illumination meets the village’s zoning requirement for lighting of public spaces before the old ones can be removed. The mayor says it is all about safety. A call to Mr. Timmons was placed to ask about the photometric plan. Mr. Timmons said he was unaware that the township needed to have that; he assumed the zoning application was all they needed. Timmons stated he will look into the matter, but in the meantime a letter has gone to the village stating the townshio will no longer pay the electric bill for the old lights.

In safety news, Timmons announced that the new rescue squad the fire board purchased last spring was in service and the old one has been sold to North Lawrence Fire Department.

The trustees next meeting is October 6, 2011 at 7 pm in the town hall. A public hearing on the proposed zoning amendments will be held at 6:30 the same evening.

Portage County – As many of you have heard, the Portage County Board of Commissioners recently decided to begin the steps to put the county owned nursing home for bid to sell it. The beautiful facility, called the Woodlands at Robinson, is a 99 bed facility. The county has struggled for some time to keep this business afloat and compete with private sector businesses. When the nursing home does not bring in enough revenue to cover expenses, the county’s general fund (your tax dollars) make up all of the difference. It was obvious that something had to change.
The first step was to bring new leadership to increase the number of residents and improve the financial picture. The employees of the facility stepped up and worked harder than ever. Beginning in late Spring, the census increased from an average of about 65 residents to more than 85. In spite of this huge success, financial challenges loomed.

The State of Ohio taxes private nursing homes using the “bed tax.” This is a tax that private companies pay per bed, per day, regardless of whether a resident fills the bed. In the State budget, the legislature originally intended to end the counties’ exemption from this tax. Ultimately, we were spared one more year. However, when this is implemented it will cost the county facility approximately $500,000 per year.

The state also reduced the amount of reimbursement that nursing homes receive for Medicaid patients. Based upon the current number of patients, this means a loss of approximately $278,000 per year.

In addition to these challenges, there are expenses and limitations to being a public employer which make it difficult to continue to operate a business which competes with private businesses.

The Board of Commissioners originally decided to pursue turning over the nursing home to Robinson Memorial Hospital. Turns out, Ohio law does not allow a public hospital to buy it. So we spent many tedious weeks looking into the hospital leasing the facility. Unfortunately, the hospital identified approximately $1million in repairs that needed to be performed before they would lease it. The general fund cannot afford this amount. The hospital also could not afford it.

This led the Board to investigate a private company leasing the facility, with ultimate control and ownership still with the county. We then learned that Ohio law requires money to be escrowed because there is still public debt on the building. This would require us to escrow $6.9 million plus interest, for a total of more than $8 million. You need not be a math genius to see that if we could not afford $1 million, we could not afford $8 million.

Now the Board is looking at the final option, a complete sale of the facility. As difficult as this decision has been, all other options have been exhausted and the financial forecast is too grim to continue if we can find a better option. The next steps will likely take through the end of the year, assuming the Board receives an acceptable bid.

It is my personal belief that, if we sell to the right business, this preserves a beautiful facility in the Ravenna area and protects a number of jobs that would be in jeopardy in the county.

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Garrettsville – Village Council met on Wednesday August 10, for their regular scheduled monthly meeting.   Minutes from the July meeting and a motion to pay the current bills were approved.  Revenue, expenditure, cash balance, and income tax reports were reviewed.  Councilman Klamer discussed year-to-date revenue as compared to last year with Mayor Moser.  Both were pleased to report the village is currently financially sound.

The Mayor and Village Council presented a plaque to the family of Charles Abraham, in recognition of his life-long service, commitment and generosity to the Village of Garrettsville.  His promotion and support of the community was instrumental in its development.  Mr. Abraham (who passed away in May 2011) was a friend and inspiration to many.

A public hearing will be held before the September 14 council meeting to discuss several pending ordinances including Ordinance 2011-36, which will provide regulations to the use of large portable signs within the village and several other ordinances relating to clarification of zoning rules.

Discussion resumed from last month’s meeting about Garrettsville’s athletic fields and how to control use, limit liability, and collect revenue to help with improvements, repairs and upkeep.   Ordinance 2011-45 was presented on first reading, outlining a fee schedule and regulations for the use of these fields by outside organizations.  Concern was voiced about the fees being too high.  It was decided to re-evaluate and further discuss this ordinance at the September meeting.

Council voted to enact Ordinance 2011-46 that clarifies and updates the codified ordinances of the village in relation to the Garrettsville-Freedom-Nelson Volunteer Fire Department and the appointment of the fire chief.

Discussion also resumed regarding the importance of declaring an urban renewal for the village.  Ordinance 2011-48 was presented at first reading.  This ordinance would allow the Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) ordinance that is already on the books to be reactivated and updated.  The passage of this ordinance could be key in improving Garrettsville’s competitiveness to entice new businesses to the area partially through tax abatements that may be available from the state.

Ordinance 2011-47 was also presented at first reading and is a recommendation from the Board of Public Affairs (BPA) to establish a policy limiting the amount of bulk water that may be purchased and prohibiting the initiation of new bulk water accounts.  After some discussion council voted to send the ordinance back to the BPA for some revisions and clarifications before the next reading during September’s meeting.

Council gave approval to pay additional costs over initial estimates of work done on the Liberty Street sidewalks and the chip and seal of the new Garrettsville public parking lot behind the old Irwin Hardware building.  The mayor reported on the status of the Liberty Street bridge, that is closed between Center Street and Park Ave.  The mayor and Council President Rick Patrick met with the Portage County Engineer who told them that repairs can be made that would last between five and ten years for approximately $35,000.  To wait for demolition and rebuilding could take two to five years dependent on state and federal monies.  The mayor suggested the village offer a monetary incentive to get repairs done to the bridge by the engineer’s office before the end of the year.  After much discussion, council approved spending $10,000 toward repairs of the bridge with the understanding and assurance that the county would pay the rest of the costs, repairs would be completed by December 2011, and payment will only be made when the contract terms were met.

The guardrails at the post office parking lot were a topic of discussion at last week’s Planning Commission meeting and again tonight at the Village Council meeting.  The Planning Commission had asked the owner of the property to get his property surveyed to assure that the other adjacent owners’ property lines were not crossed by the ‘fence’.  The Planning Commission and Village Council understand the owner’s desire to limit access to his property, however, there was concern that the guardrail had been installed across property lines.  Permits would need to be applied for by each owner of the property that the fence may be on.  If one of the owners of the adjacent property does not want the guardrail, it will have to be moved to the actually property line.

Once business was taken care of, the mayor asked for  public comment.  A recommendation was presented for defibrillators to be carried in Garrettsville’s police cruisers.  A recent incident had prompted the recommendation after realizing that, in most cases, our police were first responders to 911 emergency calls and if the ambulance was out on another call, the police had limited resources to aid victims.  The mayor and council agreed it was worth exploring the suggestion.

During roundtable discussion, Councilman Hadzinsky commented on the cost to replace three fire hydrants.  He was surprised at the cost involved.  Councilman Kaiser reported his findings on purchasing a new leaf vac for the village.  He also stated trying to find a used one was very difficult.  The cost for a new one would be around $24,000 with a 45-60 day delivery.  Mr. Klamer asked council for approval of having Councilman Hadzinsky added to the Village Property and Sidewalk Committee.  Approval was granted.

Council President Patrick reported that the status of the Irwin property is still unknown.  He also stated he was approached by a resident to see if the village has a emergency shelter plan for those without basements during severe weather.  It was suggested that a formal plan should be made available to the public.  The Mayor reported on the economic development meeting from last Friday.  He stated the topic of discussion was “what would be an inducement for industry to locate here and what is distinguishing and unique about Garrettsville”.  He also wanted to remind everyone that school will be starting soon, the athletes and band students are already practicing and everyone needs to be aware of the students as they travel on our roads and sidewalks to and from school.

The next regular Village Council meeting will be held on September 14th.  A public hearing will begin at 7:30 p.m. and the meeting will commence immediately after at Village Hall.

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Hiram – Mayor Bertrand called the meeting to order at 7 pm.  All members present.  The Mayor asked for approval of the minutes from the 7/12/11 meeting and the motion passed.
Guests and public comment:  Doug McGee of McGee & Associates, Inc. spoke on behalf of Hiram College: A HUD grant is available that college would like to apply for.  McGee would like to work with the Village on this 80/20 grant for a  Master Plan.  This new program was just announced on 8/3/11.  McGee wanted to apply  for $130k meaning that HUD would kick in $104k.  The Master Plan would cover the campus area and area around the campus which is part of the Village.
Councilperson Spencer questioned the distribution going to the college, he felt it should go to do work for the public.  The Council asked for more specifics; the grant is a planning grant for any neighborhood or any segment in the US.
Councilperson Spencer wanted to amend McGee’s proposal to allow it to be more for the village.  The monies go to writing the plan which would cover planning for what new facilities are needed in the area, documenting how are facilities being used at this time and a plan for the future.  A comprehensive plan will help the college make future plans and detail how it can benefit the community.  “If it benefits the college, it benefits the community” was McGee’s explanation.
The college is open to making amendments to  incorporate the village.  Council President Wadkins would like to partner with the college so that the benefits are for the college and for the village.  September 9th is the deadline.
The Mayor encouraged McGee to put something together and Councilpersons  Dempsey, Spencer and Donley agreed to work with the college as village representation.
Hiram 4th of July:  It was suggested that council consider taking over this endeavor.  It is a large undertaking and needs more people involved in the process.  The Western Reserve Kiwanis might be interested in taking over the project.  It was suggested that whoever takes over would want to keep Fire Department involved.  The best person to head the project would be someone who knows  the college resources as well as resources from the village.  This project needs a focus person or set of people.  The wonder of the event is that everyone participates.  The grant  for this event does not have to be done until May or June so there is time for the project to change hands.
Councilpersons Donley and Dempsey will discuss it further with the Kiwanis club and report back to the Council.  Elements of this event include the parade (Village entity), fireworks, kids games .  It is a great tradition and wonderful for village, but more volunteers are needed.   Will report back at September meeting with Kiwanis decision.
An update was provided for the Hinsdale Project.
Police Report: The Police Chief was unable to attend meeting, however the chief’s report was submitted to council.  No questions were asked.  There were 100+ activities for the month of July.
Fire and EMS Report:   The average response time was 4 minutes and  4 seconds.  The Fire and EMS are ahead 70 calls from last year.  Fire loss report $40-50K from last month.  Many calls lately have been coming in back to back but the department is doing a great job responding.
Village Administrator:    There was a major water main break on Sunday.  Most of the day was spent on repair work.  It was explained that periodically this is going to happen because of some of the materials used date back many years.  The break was on Route 305.
Mayor’s Report:    Highlights include: work was done with Planning and Zoning.  A  commission conducted a special meeting to approve/amend the Hinsdale project and the Commission approved plans so that it could go forward and be bid publicly.  A formal commitment was signed by Hiram College President Chema regarding 1.5 acres of land to be sold to the college.  The construction projects at the college’s Miller Hall, Hinsdale and  library are all progressing, as well as the locker rooms project.
Fiscal officer’s report was submitted.  Council needs to take action per the codes of the Board of Tax Appeals. A motion to approve tax appeals was passed.
A “Then and Now” payment in the amount of  $13,874  for fire truck #2 for ladder work as brought before the board.  Motion passed.
Another “Then and Now” item for over $3K for CT Consultants was submitted.  Some work needs to be done by them to work within the constraints of government.  There are certain procedures to follow.
The Village is getting a new phone system.  The current phone system went down on Monday. They were able to get it back up and running but for a while it was totally dead.  Council has a quote from Dunk Electronic Services for the new phone system and telephones.  A motion to ratify the fiscal officer’s actions  and a  motion to spend $7,804 of capital for phone system were  motion passed.
Fiscal officer’s report accepted, motion to pay bills was passed.
Ordinances:
2011-12:  An ordinance continuing the investment policy for the Village of Hiram with respect to investing funds that can be made by the fiscal officer (third reading)-motion to adopt – so moved.
2011-19:  A resolution authorizing specific enumerated transfers by the fiscal officer between funds of the Village of Hiram from the General Fund (1000) to the First Energy Grant Fund (2908) in the amount of $919.88 and authorizing an advance of $5,651.20 from the General Fund to the First Energy Grant Fund and declaring an emergency.  Motion passed.
2011-20: A ordinance amending the permanent appropriations in the general fund by $6,572 and declaring an emergency. Motion passed.
2011-21: An ordinance amending the permanent appropriations in the First Energy Grant Fund by $12,224 and declaring an emergency.  Motion passed.  Motion to approve as emergency.  Motion passed.
2011-22: An ordinance amending the permanent appropriations in the State EMS Grant Fund by $2,100 and declaring an emergency.   Motion to adopt.  Motion passed.
2011-23: Amend Income Tax Regulations – First reading
Resolutions:
2011-13: Transfer to Capital Contract (for township contract).  Motion approved.
2011-18: New Special Revenue Fund. Motion approved.
2011-19: Enumerated Transfers. Motion approved.

No other business.  Council went into Executive Session.  Meeting adjourned.

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Freedom Twp - The Regular Meeting of the Freedom Township Board of Trustees was called to order by Chairman Hammar at 7:30 pm on Thursday, August 4, 2011. Present: Trustees James Hammar, Roy Martin, John Zizka; Rosemary Nicholas, Fiscal Officer; Jeff Derthick, Zoning Inspector; Charles VanSteenberg, Road Supervisor. Also present: Charles Duffield, Dan Grafton, Pam Wilke and Kyle Wilke.

Mr. Hammar led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mr. Martin made the motion, seconded by Mr. Zizka to approve the minutes of the July 21, 2011 Regular Meeting as presented. Motion carried.

Zoning: Mr. Derthick reported that one permit was issued, for an addition. The building on Vaughn Road has been moved out of the township; we are still working with the Prosecutor’s office to make sure that it doesn’t come back. We are moving forward with the junk car and storage trailer cases, both on S.R. 700. Mr. Derthick has paper work for a variance as well as a conditional use that he will pass on to the BZA; their next meeting is August 16. The Zoning Commission will not meet in August. In response to a question from Mr. Zizka regarding the portable accessory building on S.R. 303, Mr. Derthick said they will be contacting the resident to get that issue resolved. Mr. Zizka also asked about the PODS unit on S.R. 88, and Mr. Derthick said this will be removed this month. Mr. Zizka said there was a new PODS on S.R. 303 between S.R. 700 and Asbury. Mr. Derthick will check it out.

Roads: Mr. VanSteenberg said they worked on getting the water and electric lines to the pavilion. The water is in; we are waiting for the electrician. Six residents called for brush pick-up this past Monday.

Todd Lamb Paving will start his road work the week of August 8, and Mr. VanSteenberg asked the trustees if they wanted Lamb to cover the trench between the town hall and the pavilion. The board agreed this was a good idea but suggested it be done last, after the road work, to give the trench more time to settle. Mr. VanSteenberg said that Karen Martin has finished the wallpaper and paint at the church building. It looks good, and a thank you letter will be sent to Mrs. Martin. Mr. Zizka said he had contacted the right-of-way agent for Dominion and told him that one excavation point has never been blacktopped and there also seems to be a crack most of the distance of the line they bored. Mr. Zizka suggested they clean the crack and put some sealer in it. The R/W agent said he would contact Dominion and the contractor. Mr. VanSteenberg said he’d like to have the trustees consider chip and seal for the town hall drive and parking area next year.

Mr. Zizka said the Bethel Springs Fellowship members painted the door and trim at the church building.

Mrs. Nicholas questioned the name on the sign in front of the building, and suggested it be changed to more accurately reflect its purpose and, more importantly, to protect our property tax exempt status.

After some discussion, Mr. Hammar made the motion, seconded by Mr. Martin, to name the church building the “Freedom Community Center.” Motion carried.  Mr. Zizka will follow through on this.

Park: Organic Roots will be replacing two trees at the Community Park this fall, as well as doing some fertilizing and trimming. Mr. VanSteenberg said that the Weed Wizard has not treated the ball field at the town hall. Mr. Zizka said the playground area also needs some attention, as well as the edges by the poles. Mr. Hammar will contact the Weed Wizard. Mr. Martin said the regulations have been changed and he may be able to spray for the township under his applicator’s license. He will check into this, as well as the insurance requirements. We have not received anything regarding the park grant application.

At the request of Mrs. Nicholas, Mr. Martin made the motion, seconded by Mr. Hammar, to transfer $2,000 from the General Fund to the Zoning Fund, to support the Zoning Fund. Motion carried.

New Business:

Crown Castle: Mrs. Nicholas will contact Mr. Meduri to see when he is available for a teleconference with Crown Castle’s outside counsel. She will relay this information to Mr. Hammar who will contact the attorney.

Health Insurance Renewal: Mrs. Nicholas reported that the insurance applications have been sent to Butler Insurance and to Burnham & Flower. Sean Sprouse of Burnham & Flower is planning on attending our August 18 meeting.

Old Business:

Town Hall Porch Update: Mr. Zizka said he talked with Mr. Miller regarding the town hall porch work and his quote of $9,500 did not include the $500 architect’s fee. Mr. Zizka will get more information and a sketch from Mr. Miller describing what he plans to do King Road Water Problems: Mr. Hammar said he has not had time to do anything on this. Mr. Duffield asked what the delay was, since the property owner had offered months ago to meet with the trustees. Mr. Hammar said he would definitely make some calls to set up a meeting.

Oil Well Lease: Mr. Hammar is waiting to hear from Mr. Smith, the attorney in Alliance. He has left messages for Mr. Smith who is out of the office. Mr. Zizka said he also called Mr. Smith’s office and the receptionist confirmed that he was out of the office.

Discussion followed regarding the Portage County Township Association meeting being hosted by Freedom Township on August 20, as well as the Freedom Community Picnic on August 21. Many details were discussed and finalized.

During the meeting, warrants #5664 – 5698 in the amount of $16,278.44 were presented to the Trustees for approval and ordered paid by signature.  In addition, EFT in the amount of $848.39 was made to the IRS.

There being no further business,  the meeting was adjourned at 8:35 pm.