Here are my notes from last night’s meetings of Stow City Council:
Settled lawsuits – The city appropriated almost $500,000 to settle lawsuits with former firefighters. Both of these disputes had been ongoing for many years–even before I joined council 6 years ago. Although costly, it was important for us to extricate ourselves from these ordeals without trials and possible large judgments. It would have been even more important for us to get wise counsel as to our liability before we made the decisions that caused the disputes to escalate. If I had been on council then, I would never have allowed either dispute to reach court.
Police body cameras – Stow received a $7,200 grant for body cams for our police officers to wear. The total cost for our 15 cameras will be $14,000. We will need 6-8 at a time. We have been assured that there is sufficient storage space for the terabytes of data that these videos will create. Officers will begin wearing the cameras early next year.
Annual Fire Department report - Fire Chief Mark Stone presented his department’s 2014 annual report to council. Click the link below to read it. One statistic stood out to me the most: There were 68 fires in Stow last year. Our department’s skill, speed, and care allowed those property owners to preserve 91.83% of their property value. That’s incredible. It illustrates why our ISO rating is at an elite level.
Fox Den bids – The city received a handful of bids to purchase Fox Den Golf Course, both as a golf course and as a housing development. Ryan Homes offered $5.5 million for the property, with the condition that it be rezoned to R-3, which would allow the developer to build 380 homes. Fox Den Fairways, LLC has offered $2 million to keep the property as a golf course. It appears this entity (not yet formed, according to the Ohio Secretary of State) is comprised of former shareholders of Fox Den Fairways, Inc., which sold the course to Stow for $5.5 million in 2005.
In my opinion, both bids are competitive. Council will eventually decide whether either, none, or both deserves to go before the voters. I cringe at the thought of 380 homes at that location, but the money generated would go a long way toward solving our serious financial problems–which have been mostly swept under the rug. Even chopping $2 million off of our debt would be helpful in solving flooding problems and fixing roads.
Detective of the Year – Council congratulated Jeff Swanson for being named Detective of the Year by the Summit County Child Services Board, the Akron Police Department, and Akron Children’s Hospital. He holds a very high conviction rate and does a wonderful job advocating for children and families in our city. Well deserved.
Stow Parade – Be sure to attend the Fourth of July Parade this year. I will have the honor of marching with boxing star, and Stow High grad, Showtime Shawn Porter. He joined us last year, as well, and was very happy to take pictures and sign autographs. By the way, if you missed his fight on Saturday, Shawn won a unanimous decision against Floyd Mayweather’s protege. Could Floyd be Shawn’s next opponent???
Next meeting – Council will meet next on July 9.
As promised, here is the 2014 annual report of the Stow Police Department. Even as someone on the “inside,” I found it quite informative.
2015 Stow Police Annual Report