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Hiram Village Council Meeting

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Hiram – All council members were present during the February 8th council meeting except Councilperson Donley.  At 7 pm, Mayor Bertrand called the meeting to order.  After a moment of silence and the Pledge of Allegiance, the Mayor asked for approval of the 1/25/11 Special Council Meeting minutes and the motion was passed as were the minutes from the 1/11/11 regular council meeting.
The Mayor then asked if there were any public issues to be addressed.  A concerned citizen spoke up regarding her concern about the local bar at Hiram College.  She had found out from Facebook and other sources that the bar was planning on having exotic dancers, a wet t-shirt contest and that there was underage drinking and fights occurring.  The Mayor asked the police chief to address those concerns as well as the fire chief.
The police have been aware of these allegations and have been doing routine ID checks especially during the peak business times.  It was thought that the dancers and contest had been cancelled.  Two arrests were made from the fight mentioned above and that  situation was controlled.  The fire department has gone there to check for fire code violations and to verify that the establishment is well within its occupancy limits.  During one check, the occupancy limit was exceeded, the place was closed for a few hours and allowed to reopen as long as limits were kept to the standard.  After much discussion, it was determined that the police and fire were employing diligence to keep the area safe and keep underage patrons from drinking.  They will continue their vigilant stops and watches.
The Police Report was submitted to council along with the yearly report.  The report detailed past and on-going police training schedules and requirements.  Sgt. Fletcher retired after 19 years of service as well as many other years of service elsewhere.  He was praised highly for his service and commitment. The police chief reported that arrests were up.  They are increasing the off-duty police rates to be more current.
The Fire/EMS Report was submitted to council.  They answered 42 calls last month with an average response time of six minutes and two seconds.  The new fire truck is in and they proudly showed it off after the meeting.  They are very happy with the craftsmanship.  The fire/EMS crew has worked very hard getting all the equipment installed and it should be in service shortly.
The village administrator’s report was submitted to council.  He reported that the cemetery fund spent a little more than the income to date.  The first check for the NOPEC grant has arrived and it was allocated to replace the furnace which was an unexpected expense but he was glad to have had the funds.  The new furnace is a highly efficient unit.  There are still two more payments coming from that grant.
The Mayor’s report was also submitted to council.  He detailed more about the NOPEC grant and how it is to be used for energy efficiency and energy improvements.  He commented on a Public Works Grant.  He explained that the Village is trying to purchase some Hiram College land  (at no cost to the residents): no word back at this time regarding the purchase.  He met with the President of Hiram College to discuss a contract increase for fire and police over a two year period.  He also mentioned that the trash hauler contract would include the college.
The Fiscal Officer’s Report was submitted to council.  The fiscal officer urged the council to come up with a five-year plan; to set aside funds for improvements, repairs, and to prepare for other future costs.  She asked for a motion to approve the financial report submitted and it was passed.  She then asked for a motion to pay bills and it was also passed.
Ordinances:
2010-24: Trash Hauler – Removed from table.
2011-01: Zoning Permit and Fee Schedule (2nd reading) – There was more discussion regarding the fee schedule.  It was thought by council, that the proposed increase of variance fees to $250 was too high for residents.  It was determined that the fees charged help cover costs associated with inspections for variances.  A motion was introduced to make the fee $50 instead of $250, the motion was passed.
2011-02: An ordinance amending the permanent appropriations in several funds and declaring an emergency.  A chart was distributed that outlined the funds that needed amendments.  The motion was passed.
2011-03: A resolution authorizing the application for and subsequent acceptance of grant funds by the Village of Hiram and declaring an emergency.  There was concern that the rates were not reflected in the resolution.  The verbiage was changed.  The Village Administrator will present the current resolution for second reading at the next meeting.
The meeting then convened into Executive Session.