Hiram – Beginning in March, village water rates will reflect a rate increase of 8%, or an estimated $.93 per each unit used per month. Sewer rates remain unchanged; Village Council enacted the water rate increase in their February meeting. Village Administrator James McGee reported receipt of water and sewer line work bids. He’ll be meeting with the Village Engineer to discuss plans for repair and service work.

In his report, Police Chief Ed Samec reported that over 125 pounds of prescription drugs were collected during 2015 in the department’s collection box, which is located outside Village Hall. In 2015, the village Police Department collected over $26,000 in traffic and criminal charges and over $7,000 in parking fines, for a total of over $33,000 in fees added to the village’s general fund. Lastly, 2015 marked the beginning of the Department’s Mounted Patrol Unit.

In his monthly report, Chief Samec shared that his officers filed 233 offense reports during the month of January. He stated that members of his Department participated in several training programs during the month, including Child Abuse and Neglect, Human Trafficking, and Deescalating Mental Health Crisis. In addition, Chief Samec noted that the Department was awarded $1,680 from the State of Ohio for training compliance, which will be allocated towards training costs in 2016. Lastly, the department received a JAG (Justice Assistance Grant) for $3,395, which will be used to purchase a dash camera for the new cruiser which will be in service shortly.

Next, Fire Chief Bill Byers provided his yearly report. Notable accomplishments for 2015 included awards of $20,000 in grants, passage of village and township EMS levies, purchase of a LUCAS® CPR device, and improved ISO ratings. He noted that his department received 40 more calls in 2015 than in the previous year.

Next, Recreation & Park Board member Susan Merrill presented the group’s annual report to council. Ms. Merrill highlighted several key projects the group completed in 2015, including receipt of four grants for a total of $165,918 in grant funds and donations to cover costs associated with development of the new Hiram School Park. In addition, the Park Board formally thanked the Village Administrator and his staff for their work to remove old asphalt and improve drainage at the new park. Ms. Merrill also noted that volunteers installed a split rail fence in November at the new park. At Elmer Jagow Play Park, many improvements were made including repairs to pavilion downspouts and a grill, installation of two new benches, and new basketball hoop chains.  This year, new projects include installation of a gazebo, prairie, and play structures at the new park. At the Play Park, new clay will be added to the ball field, new mulch will be added to the playground, and a new bench will be installed.

In other news, the Engineer’s site plans for Hiram’s Hike & Bike Trail, which includes crossing of College property from Winrock Road to Wakefield Road near the Village water plant were submitted and approved by the County Engineer’s office. Residents may stop by Village Hall to view the 56-page document for specific details.

Don’t forget to make your voice heard — be sure to vote in the Primary Election on Tuesday, March 15th. Hiram’s polling location at the Martin Field House at Hiram College will be open from 6:30 am until 7:30 pm.

The next Village Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 8th at 7 pm. Residents are encouraged to attend.