Hiram Twp. – At a recent trustee meeting, it was noted that Hiram Fire Department has received a $2,500 donation from America’s Farmers Grow Communities, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund and directed by Trustee Jack Groselle. The donation will provide funds to purchase protective equipment for firefighters. “As a past Hiram firefighter, Hiram Township resident and farmer, I selected our Fire Department for this donation because I understand that they are an important and needed part of our community,” stated Jack Groselle. “This generous donation will allow the fire department to purchase needed protective items and equipment that otherwise would likely have not been possible,” added Hiram Fire Chief Bill Byers. In similar news, Assistant Fire Chief Brandon Baynes asked for Trustee authorization to continue the Preventative Maintenance Program on the Public Warning Sirens in the township. This request was unanimously approved.

Moving on, Kathy Schulda presented an update on the local tax being paid to Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA) for township employees’ time worked in the Village of Hiram. Kathy has provided a list of the 2015 hours worked by elected officials in the Township Hall, which is located within Hiram Village. Ms. Schulda also drafted a statement for each official to sign and submit to the Village Fiscal Officer. Ms. Schulda requested that Township Fiscal Officer Diane Rodhe continue submitting the 2016 minutes to the Village of Hiram Clerk as verification of time spent in the Township Hall, as well.

On another note, Ms. Schulda verified that township mileage is 19.943 miles; Trustees signed the Certified Road Mileage document, which will be sent to the Portage County Engineer. In other news, Ms. Schulda reported that no progress has been made on recouping citation revenue back to the township. She found that the Portage County Clerk of Courts has discretion as to whether or not the funds can be forwarded to the township via the Village of Hiram Police Department. Ms. Schulda will contact the Clerk of Courts to request that the funds be forwarded to the township, and report any new developments at an upcoming meeting.

Later, Zoning Inspector Rich Gano presented a concern regarding the financing of replacement structures in the event of a loss, which he defined as 50% or greater amount of damage to a structure. An amendment from November 7, 1996 could prevent a resident from obtaining financing based on the replacement requirements. Rich provided a suggested amendment for the “replacement/rebuilding” portion of the amendment. Suggested wording could state, “Nonconforming structures destroyed beyond the control of the owner shall be repaired, removed, or replaced. If replaced, it shall be replaced by a structure of an equal or better condition than the original nonconforming structure or comply with current zoning resolution. A zoning meeting will be scheduled for further discussion.

In his Road Report, Tom Matota shared that he has received a state bid quote for a New Holland tractor in the amount of $54,000. The tractor will be used for roadside mowing; in addition, the new tractor would also require the purchase of a new mower with a twenty-one foot reach. The entire unit will cost roughly $100,000. Mr. Matota shared that the current tractor and mower, which will be sold once a new tractor is purchased, is worth $12,000 to $14,000.

Lastly, Mr. Matota presented the trustees with a resignation letter from Don Bello, effective February 29, due to Mr. Bello’s retirement. After some discussion, it was agreed to advertise for two permanent part-time employees. Ads to that effect were placed in local papers; interested parties should call the Township Garage at (330) 569-3123 weekdays between the hours of 7 and 8 am.

The next Township Trustees meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 1st at 7 pm in the Township Hall.