Garrettsville – It was a short agenda for the first meeting of 2016 for Garrettsville’s village council. The mayor, new council member Debbie Wordell, re-elected council member Jeff Kaiser and village clerk Nancy Baldwin had all been sworn in to office before Christmas at a joint swear-in ceremony officiated by Congressman Dave Joyce held in Koritansky Hall at Hiram College.
This night’s meeting began with council re-electing councilman Tom Hardest as Village Council President. Mayor Patrick then asked for and was granted council’s approval for his 2016 mayoral appointments (which also includes two appointments by council to the newly created Income Tax Review Board). Next Mayor Patrick addressed council and the audience with his State of the Village report (see below).
During discussion of revenue, expenditure, cash balances, and income tax reports, councilman Hadzinsky was please to announce that the village had ended 2015 on a positive note. Hadzinsky stated that the village’s expenses had been kept down (approx. $163K as compared to the average of $174K) and revenue was up (approx. $173K as compared to the average $169K). The mayor and Hadzinsky both praised village solicitor Stuck and income tax clerk Valerie McCullough for their rigorous effort in the collection of delinquent income taxes.
Next on the agenda, council passed Resolution 2016-01 Honoring former councilmember Christina Anderson for her outstanding service to the village, and put on first read Resolution 2016-02 which would authorize the mayor and clerk to enter into a three-year agreement with the Garrettsville-Freedom-Nelson JFD for dispatch services.
Council President Hardesty told council that he had recently met with Portage County Sheriff David Doak about the upcoming changes to the 911 system for dispatch. He reported that there is so much still unknown and everything seems to be in disarray. Hardesty stated that until they had answers about how Garrettsville’s dispatch system will be affected, they (council) should not enter into any long-term agreements.
Council adjourned to executive session for reason of personnel compensation. If you’d like to know more of what is happening in your community attend a meeting. The next regular Village Council meeting is scheduled for February 10, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.
State of the Village of Garrettsville 2016
As we begin 2016, I would like to reflect on the events of the past year. 2015 began with a long cold winter that felt like it would never end. A big thank you goes to our Street Department for braving the elements of Mother Nature to keep our roads and sidewalks plowed and salted.
In Village government, Tom Hardesty was chosen to serve as council president for the year. In April, Charles Klamer resigned after serving on Council for over 17 years, and Council appointed Sheri Johnson to serve the remainder of his unexpired term. Carolynne Sendry resigned from The Board of Zoning Appeals and in September John Porter was appointed to fill the vacancy. In November’s election, I was re-elected as Mayor, Nancy Baldwin was re-elected as Clerk-Treasurer, Jeff Kaiser was re-elected to Council and Debbie Wordell was elected as a new Council member.
In 2015, we welcomed our newly trained K9 officer, Jack, into the Police Department. We offer him and his handler Officer Keith Whan best wishes in providing this important service to the Village.
The CBDG Grant awarded to the Village by the Portage County Commissioners was used to install new sidewalks, Garrettsville Style Street Lights, trees and grates on Main Street, Center Street and High Street.
An additional CBDG Grant was applied for and approved by the Portage County Commissioners to be used to upgrade the Municipal parking lot on Center Street, behind the former location of Irwin Hardware, with new paving, Garrettsville Style Street Lights, fencing, and drainage. We expect to have these improvements completed by the end of 2016.
A big thank you to the owners of the properties destroyed by the 2014 fire for finishing off their land with grass and gravel. Thank you also to the Carlson family for the work that they performed on their building, making it ready for a tenant. The Village has installed a temporary water line to their building so that it will now be usable.
The rehabilitation and renovation of the old Paul’s Grist Mill was completed and the property is now for sale or lease. Thank you to Mike Maschek for his work in saving that historic building.
Although there have not yet been any new buildings built in the fire area on Main Street, we still continue to explore every possible avenue to help with the re-creation of our historic Main Street.
The North Street water main replacement project began at the beginning of July and was completed around the beginning of October, nearly a month ahead of schedule in spite of last-minute modifications and re-bidding of the project work.
On Village roads, Wheeler Road was chip and sealed; repairs and paving were done on Freedom Street and miscellaneous repairs and patching were done on other roads.
Planning was begun for the Liberty Street-Silica Road drainage and curbing project. Investigation and planning has been started to correct problems of flooding on Windham Street. We have conducted meetings with the Portage County Park District with the goal of developing a more accessible entrance to the Headwaters Trail on Windham Street.
The Chamber of Commerce, which consists of over 140 members, remains strong. We are thankful for their involvement in the Community as they have for many years provided the village with an extensive calendar of events such as Community Garage Sale, St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, five Car Cruise Nights, Peach Social, Business Showcase, Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and many others. Over the years the Chamber has purchased the street banners, concrete park benches, hanging flower baskets, Christmas decorations and much more. The Chamber provides three scholarships for our J. A. Garfield Students and its members are very involved in the Garrettsville Summerfest Festival.
In spite of the rain the 11th annual Summerfest Festival was held in late June. Actress Monica Potter served as the Grand Marshal in 2015. The Summerfest Festival has grown every year, becoming like a large reunion that brings families and friends back together for the festivities. Thank you to Aaron King and his committee for all the volunteer hours that they put into organizing the festival and keeping up its traditions while coming up with new ideas and creating an event that brings thousands of people to our Village and revenue to our many businesses.
The Village’s many services continue as they have in the past, consisting of Fall leaf pickup and vacuuming, tree limb pickup the 1st Monday of the summer months, the tree removal program on tree lawns, sidewalk snow plowing, Christmas tree pick up, Spring and Fall clean up and collection of recycling at the maintenance building. As we progress through 2016 we will continue to offer these services, and as the budget allows, we will continue to replace sidewalks and repair roads with grinding, patching and chip & seal, as well as other improvements throughout the Village as they are needed.
I would like once again to say thank you to our Police department, Fire department, Community EMS, our Street Department, Water department, Planning Commission and the Village offices. These are the people that are the core of the operations of the Village and they deserve many thanks for keeping us safe and in good running order.
I would also like to say thank you to the Village Council for all their efforts in attempting to keep the Village running on an even keel financially. Although some decisions made throughout the year have not been easy for everyone, we all know that above all the Council’s top priority is keeping the Village safe and prosperous.
In closing, I also want to thank you, the citizens, business owners and community members of our Village for continuing to make Garrettsville a strong, vibrant and exciting place to call home. Our future is bright and we will continue to do what it takes to make our historic Garrettsville a great place to have a business, to get a great education, to build or buy a home, to visit, and most of all to be a Village resident.
As always, if you have any ideas, questions or comments, feel free to call me at 330-687-9637 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor Rick Patrick