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Mantua Village News

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Mantua – At their last meeting, council unanimously approved Police Chief Harry Buchert’s recommendation of Joe Urso as the new Chief of Police in the village. Urso will replace Buchert upon the latter’s retirement in December of this year. Chief Buchert added, “Joe is a great candidate who will do an excellent job.” The department will look to fill Urso’s sergeant position soon, as well as the position of School Resource Officer after the district’s winter break. Chief Buchert added, “I’m pleased we were able to fill the spot from inside the Department, as well.” In other Police news, Buchert announced the appointment of Auxiliary Officer Javon Jackson.

In his Village Administrator report, Bruce Rininger updated council on the status of emergency storm sewer repairs, sharing, “we’re chasing storm water.” He urged council to review water and sewer billing rates, as “breaks in both lines can (and will) happen at any time.” Village Engineer Brian Rogers concurred, explaining that, “80% of the village’s water lines are 100 years old — 50 years past its prime.” Rininger thanked his team for their efforts over the weekend during the latest breakage; some worked 28 hours straight to return service to residents. He also thanked residents for their patience and understanding during the repair process. Ordinances regarding water and sewer rates are currently under consideration by council.

In his Fire Board report, Councilman John Clark shared that the fire department’s squad 3 is out of service due to repeated repair and service issues. The department is in the process of reviewing new models, and hope to have a new squad in place by August at the latest. In addition, the fire department will be adding one full-time position and multiple part-time positions in the immediate future.

In other news, council discussed proposed ordinance 2017-19, which would provide a lease agreement with the Portage Park District for the portion of the Headwaters Trail west of State Route 44. As part of the proposed agreement, the park district would maintain and manage that portion of the Trail. After some discussion, council agreed to let Councilwoman Paula Tubalkain contact Portage Parks to further define a potential agreement.

In public comment, resident and business owner Hal Stamm publicly opposed Ordinance 2017-21, which relates to site and grading plan regulations that may affect surface water drainage. Stamm stated the proposed ordinance would, “infringe upon the rights of private ownership.” He also voiced concerns about raising water and sewer rates, sharing that “an increase in the cost of living will limit the number of residents who choose to live here.”

Lastly, council approved an event request for the annual Potato Stomp race, which will be held on Saturday, September 9th. More details on the 4 mile and 9 mile race can be found at mantuapotatostomp.com.

This month’s Village Council meeting will take place immediately following a public meeting regarding subdivisions that will take place on Tuesday, July 18th at 6:45 pm. The following month, council’s meeting will be held on August 15th at 7 pm.

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Stacy Turner is a wife, mother, and contributing reporter who has lived in the Mantua/Hiram area for over a dozen years. After enjoying a career in marketing, where she spent her time writing on behalf of other people, she gets a kick out of writing under her own name. Mostly, she enjoys the opportunity to learn more about her community through the stories she covers.