Village continues to struggle with budget concerns
By Kim Gravis
Peninsula Village Council met Sept. 10 in an emotionally charged session, as Council and the mayor continue to struggle with money woes.
Clerk-Treasurer Pamela Burda asked Council to suspend the rules to appropriate payment on certain invoices that need to be paid, including the health district fund, police radio repair and repair of a traffic light at state Route 303 and Riverview Road.
Council did approve the August financial statement and then reviewed a spreadsheet for September that the clerk-treasurer had prepared. As of Sept. 30, the village will have $17,000 in solvency. However, Council could not make quarterly payroll this month, which includes the salaries of Council members, the mayor, the zoning inspector and the clerk-treasurer.
Council agreed to hold salary disbursement until next month.
Mayor Michael Kaplan suggested that perhaps other items should be considered to be cut from the budget. He suggested foregoing the magistrate for the mayor’s court and dissolving the court altogether. The cleaning service for Town Hall also was discontinued last month.
Burda informed Council and the mayor that every bit of funding is accounted for, and there is no extra revenue for repairs or to fund road repairs.
Council continued discussion and decided to appoint a subcommittee to oversee the budget. Council members Robert Hunker, Doug Anderson and Jay Pedone will serve on the committee.
Police Chief Kevin McCue informed Council that although he has four cruisers in his fleet, he has two cars with mechanical problems and no money to repair them. The fleet is approaching 90,000 miles per car. He said he is frustrated in completing contractual obligations with lack of usable equipment and manpower. He added he is down one full-time officer and is filling in with part-time officers, who are overworked.
Council approved a repair job for the one cruiser at approximately $219 for electrical repairs.
Also during the meeting, Roger Robinson, head of the Road Service Department, informed Council that grants are being made available from the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) for road upgrades for 2008. However, these projects require a 10 percent commitment in funding from the village. These grants can be accepted and kept on file for five years, but the village does not have a forecast of where the funding will come from to meet the obligation for the grants.
Council did approve the application for the grants and asked the newly formed finance committee to consider the funding match needed.
As part of the mayor’s report, discussion took place regarding the village-owned Player’s Barn on state Route 303. Several members of the citizens committee were present, including Wendy Anderson, who said the committee was put on hold since the CVNP had made an offer for a “land swap” in June.
Council member Grover Miller made a motion that Council contact the CVNP and discuss their offer further.
Audience members, including retired Council member Lily Fleder, would like to see the barn restored. Initially, John Debo, superintendent of the CVNP, contacted the village and spoke to the mayor regarding taking over the barn and property in order for the village to obtain land elsewhere for the relocation of the Road Service Department. The subject was left with Council pursuing conversation with Debo.
In other business:
Council discussed the zoning ordinance for the village. Miller requested a motion for the R-1 (Residential) district to be changed from 4-acre to 2-acre allotments. Miller wanted a public hearing to take place at Council’s next meeting.
However, village attorney Edward Muse reminded Miller of the protocol of the Ohio Revised Code. This type of zoning change must be heard by the Planning Commission, and Council must wait for its recommendation before acting on it.
Miller said he thought the Commission was not acting in a timely manner regarding the matter.
Muse informed him the board only received the request last month; the members have a time frame of not less than 30 days to a reasonable amount of time to make a decision. He advised Council that the motion Miller made was not within the correct statues of the law.
Council still had zoning issues from last month to act on, but the issues were not reviewed. Under zoning matters, the police chief also brought up the parade and assemblages legislation that was being considered by Council. On Sept. 9, the village was faced with a bicycle race in the middle of several church services with no advance notice, he said. Due to lack of manpower in the police department, traffic was difficult to manage. The initial legislation will be brought back to Council next month.
Council discussed the ornamental wrought iron fence that was to be placed on the area of state Route 303 by the bridge.
Hunker introduced a resolution to follow up on the progress of the fence. Council approved the resolution, and the mayor signed the invoice for its payment, which was privately funded.
The Cemetery Board hired a sexton and two assistants to monitor the two cemeteries located in the village and Boston Township.
Council heard from Yolanda Walker, executive director of the Summit/Akron Solid Waste Management Authority. Walker asked for a resolution of support, which Council passed.
Hunker brought up having a shredding session made available to the community. Hunker added he would report back to Council on the subject.
The next Peninsula Village Council meeting is set for Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. on the second floor of village Town Hall, at the corner of state Route 303 and Akron-Peninsula Road.