At their last meeting, village council heard from Mary Greer, spokesperson from the Concerned Citizens organization, on the topic of injection well integrity.  According to Ms. Greer, residents in Portage County should be educated about the rate of breakdown of the cement casings in injection wells, especially since the county is soon to have 26 wells. Those wells are used to store potentially harmful waste products from injection (fracking) wells not only in Ohio, but from surrounding states, as well. The integrity of the casings is of paramount importance, since the cement-lined wells store the waste deep underground, near aquifers used for human consumption. According to Ms. Greer, “No studies on injection well integrity are yet complete, so we won’t realize their failure until there is nothing we can do about it.” She concluded, “We can’t decide if we want more injection wells unless we understand them.”

In other news, Mayor Linda Clark announced that the EPA has approved a recycle plan. She stated, “In the near future, Portage County Solid Waste will be billing Mantua Village residents for collecting their recycling for the period of July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.” She continued, “As the EPA has put a final plan into place for Portage County, the Village will begin the bidding process for a private provider for Village recycling services.” Once bids have been received, Council will have the opportunity to select the most cost-effective vendor for these services, whether it be Portage County, or a private company. Details will be forthcoming on this matter.

In  legislation, Council voted unanimously to postpone Ordinance 2015-01 indefinitely. This ordinance would have amended the Zoning Map of the Village by changing an area of property on State Route 44 south of the Village from the C-1 Commercial Zoning classification to the R-R Rural Residential classification.

In other Legislation, council approved an ordinance appointing Joe Urso as Interim Police Chief beginning in April. Officer Urso will temporarily fill the position during Police Chief Harry Buchert’s six to eight-week leave of absence for knee surgery and recovery. In similar news, council also approved an ordinance authorizing a chaplain program within the Mantua Village Police Department.

In other news, council discussed the village’s permanent budget for 2015, and announced that a budget workshop would be held prior to the next village council meeting. That meeting is set for Tuesday, April 21st at 6 pm, with the regularly scheduled council meeting to follow at 7 pm.

Moving forward, council discussed Ordinance 2015-14 at length. This ordinance relates to amending the village’s codified ordinances relating to the number of members on the Mantua Historic Landmarks Commission from seven members to five. The new ordinance would also place a residency restriction on members of the Commission, such that only village residents and business owners could be appointed. After much discussion, Council members Giles Seith, Paul Janson, Ben Prescott, and Bill Zoller voiced their opinions that the commission should remain a mix of qualified individuals from both Mantua Village and Township. Mr. Eric Hummel, a current Landmark Commission member, urged Council, saying, “We are in the process of accomplishing a lot of good for the community. Please keep our group in tact, and keep our good work going.”

Eventually, a vote was taken, and the ordinance was voted down by all of council, with the exception Marty Hura.  Since the Commission will remain at seven members, two members, Renee Henry and Carole Pollard, whose appointments had expired, were reinstated to their positions. Both women are Mantua Township residents and will serve three-year terms.

The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the Mantua Village Council will be held on Tuesday, April 21st at 7 pm. Please note that a budget workshop will immediately precede the meeting at 6 pm. As always, residents are encouraged to attend.