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.
Here are my notes from last night’s meetings:
Pay raise - Council discussed raising the compensation for a City Hall position, from a pay grade 8 to pay grade 10. The job was judged, in an objective manner, to be an 8 under our current pay-grade matrix. For reasons that I do not believe are compelling, the administration asked to raise the pay about 20%. I voted no, and so did Matt Riehl. The rest of council voted “yes,” so the legislation passed. … Until this council passes a balanced budget (hasn’t happened in 7 years), council should be very careful about giving raises or making unnecessary expenditures. This was a mistake, not only for this job, but because it opens to door to many other raises.
North River Road - I think we finally resolved the North River Road fiasco. For four months, the road has been closed just west of Roses Run Country Club. The south side of the road collapsed in big May storm. The road stayed closed as the administrations of Stow and Munroe Falls disagreed about the proper remedy. Stow’s engineers believe the current size of the culvert pipe underneath the road is sufficient, and some cement should bolster the south side of the road to prevent erosion. Munroe Falls demanded a larger culvert, which would have cost several hundred thousand dollars. For four months, we had a stalemate. I felt I had to step in. So I proposed a solution that the cities adopted last night: Stow will assume control of both sides of the road, and Munroe Falls will pay for the repairs recommended by our engineers. Both councils will need to approve transfer of the road, but the deal required repairs to begin immediately (i.e. today or Monday). The road should be reopened within a week.
Storm Water Fee Increase - We briefly discussed a proposal by John Pribonic to raise the storm water fee by $2. The increase will raise an extra $275K per year. … Ten years ago, council originally approved the $3/month fee, which raises $800K annually. The fee has not been adjusted for inflation or increases in construction costs. A tax increase should only be considered when there is a compelling need. We definitely have a compelling need. However, I have some concerns as to whether the current funds are being used effectively. I also wonder aloud whether Stow’s voters should weigh in. Lastly, I think the fee should eventually be phased out, once we have built all of the storm-water infrastructure that the fee was intended to fund. We will discuss this measure more in September.
Stow will hold Summer Sunset Blast on August 29-30, with the fireworks being shot off at 9 p.m. Saturday. This is a great event for families and our community.
Council will meet next on Sept. 11 at 5:30 p.m. Before the meetings, there will be a 9/11 ceremony at 5 p.m. at City Hall.