Here are my notes from last night’s council meetings:
Mower Shop – You may know the Mower Shop as being across the street from Sheetz on Hudson Drive. The business will be moving, as council approved a zoning certificate for its occupancy on the former site of Amber Gardens on Hudson Drive, which was becoming dilapidated. It’s good to have an occupant there, and the business will hopefully benefit from increased visibility to customers.
Leisure Time – As you likely are aware, Leisure Time has closed, after 56 years of operation. Last night, we honored the Baker family for their commitment to the community. The family, in turn, donated equipment from the facility’s “sprayground” to the city. I propose that this equipment be implemented at a renovated SKIP playground, if logistically feasible.
Overtime – Council had a long discussion about overtime expenditures, prompted by requests from three departments (police, fire and service) for increases in their overtime allocation. To understand the overtime issue, you must first review the annual budget, where each department gives a conservative estimate of how much overtime will be used throughout the year, generally not making room for contingencies, such as employee retirements, weather events, and the like. Around this time each year, the administration requests a true-up of the actual figures, beyond what was budgeted. This year, police asked for $75,000 in additional overtime, fire requested $100,000, and service requested $40,000.
Council asked some difficult questions of the departments, but eventually approved the extra funding. Why? Fire and police were hurt by injuries and retirements, but additional employees are on the way, so the problem should be alleviated. Service, meanwhile, was hit by a lot of huge snowstorms. The weather is an uncontrollable variable. The finance department projected that we are not yet at the point where hiring an additional employee in any of these departments will result in reduced overall labor costs.
North River Road – By a 4-3 vote, council approved moving the boundary on North River Road to complete the agreement made between the mayors of Stow and Munroe Falls. Let me tell you: This is EXHIBIT A of government incompetence. I have never been more aggravated about government performance than I have been about North River Road being closed for more than 100 days because of complete nonsense. Last night, our fire chief and police chief testified as to the safety problems with having that roads closed–stating that the closure added between 5 and 15 minutes of response time for emergencies.
I eventually stepped into the fray and negotiated the deal to fix the road and move the boundary line. In doing so, I gave my word to Munroe Falls’ council that I would vote “yes” to change the boundary. So I kept my word, held my nose, and voted in favor.
So what’s the positive take-away here? “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” At the present time, I cannot fathom our communities sharing emergencies services, where we couldn’t even coordinate on fixing a road. Pathetic.
Next meeting – City council will meet next on October 9.
Here are my notes from last night’s committee and council meetings:
NEW HOTEL – The Planning Committee and council approved the construction of a new hotel on Steels Corners, between the road and the courthouse. Although I question whether the market is there, the renderings look attractive. Council revised the legislation to require a sidewalk with access to Steels Corners Road.
PIT BULL ORDINANCE – I proposed legislation to modernize Stow’s vicious dog ordinance. Namely, under my proposal, Stow will no longer discriminate against pit bulls or any other certain breed. Veterinarians and experts are nearly unanimous that breed-specific laws serve no purpose. In 2012, the Ohio General Assembly eliminated breed-specific discriminatory provisions. The law department made some additional revisions to ensure due process is given to people charged under the ordinance. The proposals passed unanimously.
WELL-WATER METERS – Councilman Adaska proposed legislation to allow the city to install meters on any of the 606 Stow properties that use well water if the owners of those properties request it. Why would they? Because, without a meter, well-supplied residents pay a flat fee for sewer rates. A meter will allow them to pay a sewer rate that is tied to water consumption. This also passed unanimously.
TORNADO – As you know, a tornado touched down in Stow on Wednesday evening. One house sustained severe damage but, thankfully, no one was injured. City personnel were on site until late that night assisting the residents whose house was damaged. The city also sent out its CodeRED emergency notifications to any resident who has signed up for them. (Click here to sign up for CodeRED.)
Council will meet next on September 25.