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Storm water assessments move forward

9/29/2011 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

DOWNTOWN AKRON — A Summit County Council committee moved Sept. 26 to recommend Council adopt legislation allowing an assessment on some local homeowners for storm water maintenance.

The Public Works Committee took legislation regarding nine neighborhoods off time and recommended Council adopt the resolutions at its next meeting.

In the West Side Leader’s coverage area, affected neighborhoods are Copley Commerce Center, Heritage Woods Phase IV and Wedgewood Phase V in Copley and Glencairn Forest Phases V and VI in Richfield.

Property owners would be assessed semi-annually anywhere from a low of $26 to a high of $548 in those areas, according to the legislation.

The committee conducted a public hearing the week before, at which some residents of Heritage Woods raised questions about the assessment.

Also Monday, the Personnel Committee placed on time an ordinance that amends the county’s personnel policies. According to Leonard Foster, director of Human Resources, the county’s policies have been re-evaluated during the past year by Deputy Director Christine Higham.

The committee received copies of all the proposed changes and were asked to read over them. During the next committee meeting, Council will hear more details about what has been proposed, Higham said.

The committee also recommended Council adopt a resolution to allow the Summit County Engineer’s Office to advertise externally for a bridge engineer for the office.

According to Heidi Swindell, of the Engineer’s Office, the department has been without a bridge engineer for some time. Outside consultants and current staff have been used when needed, but hiring someone is necessary, she added.

Councilwoman Ilene Shapiro (D-at large) said as part of the county’s hiring freeze, when a new hire is approved, the person must be hired at the minimum of the salary range. She asked Swindell about that, since the legislation stated the person could be hired at a rate up to the midpoint of the salary range.

Swindell said the department was unaware of the minimum, but also added that a bridge engineer is difficult to hire at the minimum salary since the private sector pays much higher. She added the office would like to have some flexibility in the salary for the purposes of negotiating with candidates.

Prior to committee meetings, Council heard briefly from Sarah Tower, executive director of Stewart’s Caring Place, a free cancer resource center in Fairlawn. Shapiro said she invited Tower to address Council.

Tower told Council the center offers more than 100 services to those fighting cancer and their family members.

“We could not do it without all of you,” she said.

Councilman Nick Kostandaras (D-District 1), who said he is a cancer survivor, praised the center for its work.

“I’m glad to hear there is a service for those afflicted by this God-awful disease,” he said.

Summit County Council will meet Oct. 3 at 5 p.m. for caucus and 5:05 p.m. for the regular meeting in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, 175 S. Main St.

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