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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
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
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.

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.

Middlefield – Mayor Poole called the meeting to order at 7 pm.  All council members were present.

Approval of minutes from July 7, 2011:  Motion passed

Payment of bills in the amount of $339,581.20:  Motion passed

Fiscal Officer’s Report:  Report was submitted to council.  Fiscal Officer would like council to think about meeting Friday, December 30 for final meeting of the year to discuss cost cutting and budget issues.  Nothing was finalized at this time.  The income tax packet was also distributed to council.

Streets and Utilities Report:  There were a lot of street repairs done last month.  Many holes were patched up.  Grass mowing, field maintenance and street sweeping were also done last month.  There were six water leaks last month, they were repaired and some pipes had to be replaced.  At the time of the meeting, all leaks were fixed.  The cemetery project is completed except for some landscaping. Council thanked Charlie and his department for all the work they did to get the leaks fixed.

Police Report: Report was submitted to Council. Last month, there were 841 incident reports,  1070 incoming calls and dispatch was up last month.  There were  996 business checks and 34 traffic citations issued. Departmental training and CPR and AED certification/recertification took place last month.  The department received a new radar unit which was donated because of the department’s emphasis on safety.   Safety presentations were given.  The department handled a few high profile cases last month and the officers involved were commended on their excellent work.

Zoning Report:  Report was submitted to Council.  The town hall needs some maintenance.  That request was submitted, in writing, to the owners now that it is privately owned.

Recreation Department Report:  Report was submitted to Council.  The Cops and Kids fishing derby had over 150 participants this year and was a great success thanks to help from Police Department. Community support included worms and juice donated by Wal-Mart.   Community Days was another successful event even though the weather was a bit warm and the water leaks occurred in the area during this event.  Participants did not seem to mind.  The park was full the entire day.  There were many positive comments stated about the event.  The Department is now in transition from summer to fall programs and currently doing registration and preparing winter events.  Council commended Missy for a good job done this summer.

Ambulance Report:  Report was submitted to Council.  The work load is up but there were no issues to speak of.

Financial Report: Report was submitted to council.  There were no questions or comments.

Public Hearing regarding Ordinance 11-121:
Opened at 7:16 pm, there were no comments made and the hearing was closed shortly thereafter.

A concerned citizen wanted to thank Charlie and Dan on the work done on Glen Valley Drive.  It is more pleasant to drive on.  He also asked if Charlie get a quote for other work that needs done.  Charlie replied yes they did and will meet with contractor next week and will have a plan to move forward.  Everyone hopes that some of the work can get done this year.

Another concerned citizen had several issues to bring to the Council.  She thanked the Police Chief and all the police for their work during fireworks and power outage.  The Police handled the situation very quickly and kept everyone safe.

She is also concerned with Wal-Mart driveway, as she uses a motorized chair to get around.  She is concerned about being hit when entering Wal-Mart and asked if they would put in a sidewalk for pedestrians and wheelchairs access without actually having to be in the road. Council took the suggestion under advisement.

Another concern stated was if council was working toward bringing business to Middlefield.  She was concerned with the billboard just outside of town for an industrial park in Newbury that was advertising for new businesses to “grow” there.

Then she explained that residents need to be replied to when they ask questions of Council.  For example, she then asked if anyone take care of Tony Lombardo and the resident with flooding basement issue?  She wants the council to respond quickly to persons who bring issues to them.  It was stated that some residents feel that council does not care about residents.  She just asked that they respond in a timely manner.

1st Reading: Ordinance 11-117: Confirming the appointment of William R. Tench as a part-time police officer and establishing his rate of pay and declaring an emergency.   Motion passed.  Tench has worked in Portage County and comes highly recommended.

Ordinance 11:119:  Confirming the appointment of Bridget M. Jones as a part-time police officer and establishing her rate of pay and declaring an emergency.  Motion passed.  She is very highly recommended.

Ordinance 11:120: Approving the editing and inclusion of certain ordinances as parts of the various component codes of the codified ordinances of the Village of Middlefield, Ohio.

Ordinance 11:121: Rehiring Kathy Jacobs as “crossing guard” effective August 23, 2011, pursuant to specified terms and conditions, and declaring an emergency.  Motion passed.

Ordinance 11: 122:  Authorizing the Mayor and Fiscal Officer to enter into an agreement with the Village of Roaming Shores, Ohio, for Middlefield to provide Roaming Shores with dispatch services and declaring and emergency.  The Safety and Finance committee also discussed this issue and recommended that the agreement go for 15 months.  That time frame would give council time to review fees/pricing.  Councilperson Seyer was concerned that it is costing the village residents too much money and he will not support any of these costs.  Motion passed.

Ordinance 11:123:  Authorizing the Mayor and Fiscal Officer to enter into an agreement with the Village of Orwell, Ohio, for Middlefield to provide Orwell with dispatch services and declaring an emergency.   Motion passed.  Councilperson Seyer disagreed.

Ordinance 11:124:  Authorizing the Mayor and Fiscal Officer to enter into an agreement with the Village of Andover, Ohio, for Middlefield to provide Andover with dispatch services and declaring an emergency.  Motion passed.  Councilperson Seyer disagreed.

Ordinance:  11:125:  Authorizing Mayor and Fiscal Officer to enter into an agreement with the Village of Jefferson, Ohio, for Middlefield to provide Jefferson with dispatch services and declaring an emergency.  Motion passed.  Councilperson Seyer disagreed.

New Business:

  • Christ Covenant Church has requested to hold their Rib Burn Off. It would be the same as years past and held on the church grounds.  Motion passed.
  • Charges and polices for columbarium:  Dan put together an application which includes residential and non-residential rates, along with a discount break.  There are 18 policies involved with this project and are described in paperwork.  Inscriptions will be uniform so that the units stay good looking.
  • There is also a unit location guide.  Council urged participants to look it over.  The units are not offered for purchase yet, they wanted to wait until the project was complete.  All funeral directors in the area will be notified.  It was suggested that something be put on the village website regarding this issue.  Moved to adopt the columbarium rules and regulations and pricing schedule as proposed by the administrator.  Motion passed.
  • Will village look into establishing a crosswalk at Hillcrest?  Police Chief feels that a lot of children do cross from there.  He feels it is needed.  Mayor thinks a crosswalk needs to be manned and that an unmanned crosswalk may be more of a hazard.  The Village may need to get permission from state to do a crosswalk since it is a state road.  Council needs to find out if the state needs to give their permission, and then discuss it at a later date.

No other new business.  Meeting was adjourned.

Next meeting to be held  September 1, 2011.

Windham Twp. - Windham Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled August meeting recently with all board members and fiscal officer present. The board approved the minutes from the regular July meeting and the emergency meeting as they were presented.

First item on the agenda was guest recognition. Lynnea St. John of the Bicentennial committee thanked the trustees for the use of the township Green for the Bicentennial Celebration held the last weekend in July. Residents in attendance also thanked the trustees and the Bicentennial Committee for a wonderful celebration. Speaking of thanks, the trustees would like to thank Pete Kepich of Kepich Ford for the use of their mustang convertible for the Bicentennial Parade.

Zoning inspector Rich Gano said there were several residents in attendance who would like to address a nuisance property located on Gotham Road.  The residents wanted to know what the township was doing about the eyesore and what they (the residents) could do to speed the process along. Residents claim the empty mobile home is housing pets and lots of garbage and they want to see the land cleaned up. They also complained that eyesore is lowering their property values and is making it hard for those on the street who are trying to sell their homes. Chairman Dann Timmons said they were working with the prosecutor on the issue and had to follow the proper legal procedures; which unfortunately will not be a quick process.  He told them to keep calling the authorities on the noise and pet issues. Some asked Timmons if they should contact the prosecutor’s office he said couldn’t hurt to apply a little pressure there as well.  Another resident also complained about the junk aka farm equipment in the front lawn at Timmons’s Farm.

Dann explained that the so called junk was farm equipment that they use and right now the barns were full of hay and the fields had crops in them so the equipment was being stored in the yard until they are done using it for the season and until space opens up in one of the barns. Timmons noted that the situation was exempt from zoning because it is considered agricultural. The concerns that the resident had would be passed along to Adam Timmons who runs the farm. Residents also complained about the farm smells as well, again it was stated that there was nothing the trustees could do since agriculture is exempt from zoning. Gayle Pootz will be presenting zoning amendments to the board soon. Prior to making any zoning changes to the code the trustees will hold a public meeting on the issue.

Discussions were held about removing the old light poles from the township Green. Dann said he would draft a letter to the village addressing the issue.

Residents questioned the installation of the new doors on the town hall. They claim the doors were installed backwards and none of the new doors have panic hardware on them which many thought were a requirement for public buildings. The trustees will look into getting the problem solved. Following the board’s approval to pay the bills and wages the meeting was adjourned.

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

Nelson Twp. - Nelson Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting recently with all members and fiscal officer present.

The road supervisor Chuck Vanek reported that they had been working on hot patching on the following roads Adams, Pritchard, Prentiss and half of Bancroft roads. Vanek also stated that they were working on getting the township roads mowed as well. The new water well at the township garage is drilled and the water is better but no one has actually tasted it to see if it is. The bathrooms at the town ship garage need attention. Mrs. Vanderhoeven who cleans the facility stated that the urinal in the men’s room needs repaired as well as the toilet in the ladies room. Vanek said he would take care of it.

Trustee Bill Wilson reported that they were pulling the generator out of the old ambulance and it would be up for sale if anyone was interested.

Trustee Joe Leonard reported that the well was drilled and the water still has an oil smell to it but it looks better than the old well water. Aces Water Service got the approval from the county to fill the old well with concrete rather than the usual Bentonite. The oil in the well will cause the bentonite to break down where as the concrete will not be affected by the oil. Aces Water Service is considering flushing the new water well to remove any oil deposits that might be in it. The township hasn’t received an invoice for the work yet so the total cost for the new well in not known yet.

Pixley Park:   The trustees agreed to remove the sod from the batters boxes and replace it with gravel. They also agreed to put in a fire pit at the park for roasting hot dogs and such. In other park news the concrete slabs for the bleachers are poured and the bleacher will be installed soon. Thanks to the Pixley Park committee for picking up the tab for the bleachers and concrete at the park.

The trustees also decided to put in a yard hydrant at the park, so they will have access to water.
Fiscal officer J. David Finney presented the board with the new insurance option for the fiscal officer and the one trustee who was under a different policy. After explaining what the township could legally do with the option the two who it affected agreed to voluntarily go with the new option thru Ohio Township Association Risk Management Authority (OTARMA) The switch over could save the township as much as $12,000 – $20,000 depending on the number of health claims filed.

Questions were raised about the grass issue at the corners of SR 88 and Ely Roads.  Trustee Bill Wilson stated he would get someone to cut the grass to improve visibility at the intersection. Trustee Leonard stated that the old turkey farm property is under receivership and currently they have been advised by the prosecutor to stay off the land. A resident questioned why the zoning inspector hadn’t been up there to see what kind of mess they would be leaving for the township to clean-up. Leonard said he will inquire with the prosecutor on the issue, but as right now the owner has denied the zoning inspector access to the property. A resident questioned about having the meetings video taped and put on the web site. Leonard said he was ok with it, but after a discussion about storage of videos and other liabilities no decision was made on the issue.
In zoning inspector Anna Mae Vanderhoeven reported that the Board of zoning appeals will hear two cases next week for variances. She also reported that board member Chuck Sharp turned in his resignation effective immediately. Mr. Sharp cited health reason for the resignation. The trustees meet on the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 at the community house. More township news is available on the web at www.nelsontownshipohio.org