Improved Internet service coming to New Franklin City Hall
NEW FRANKLIN — After a month of reviewing a costly proposal seeking to improve City Hall’s Internet service, New Franklin Council voted unanimously April 18 to approve a five-year agreement with Time Warner Cable.
The agreement will replace an existing 1.5 megabyte (MB) copper line that serves City Hall and the nearby fire station with a new fiber optic line that will increase capacity to 10 MB, according to Time Warner representatives attending the meeting.
Time Warner officials at the meeting recommended that level of capacity as the minimum, adding new technology is continuously placing increasing demands on such infrastructure.
The new fiber optic line will not only be faster and more reliable than the city’s current coaxial line, but it also will be less costly and more quickly repaired (four hours as compared to one day), according to Time Warner representatives.
Under the new agreement, the city’s Internet cable costs will be $675 per month, a decrease from the $830 a month that was first proposed. Council members reduced the cost by moving from a three-year to a five-year contract.
Company officials explained part of that monthly cost was determined by factoring in the $13,000 installation fee associated with bringing a fiber optic cable to City Hall.
Fire Chief Perry Surgeon explained during the past several Council meetings that improved Internet service has been needed for some time, and the current system “goes down often.”
“We are doing more and more on the Internet and cannot afford to be down,” he added. “We need the reliability of fiber optics.”
Council members have been talking to Time Warner company representatives as well as several information technology specialists in the past few weeks to determine if the proposal would meet the city’s needs and to compare the costs to other possibilities.
The new line will be installed in late July or early August, according to Time Warner Cable officials.
Mayor Al Bollas withdrew associated legislation to acquire video streaming software after it was determined it was not needed to stream taped city meetings on the city’s website.
In other business, Council agreed to take more time to review a request from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office for the city to contribute up to $10,000 toward marine patrol of the Portage Lakes.
According to Bollas, the Sheriff’s Office patrols the lakes from mid-April to mid-October, and last year’s budget was $65,000 to $68,000, which was used for personnel, training, fuel and maintenance of the watercraft.
The request from the Sheriff’s Office indicates the budget for lake patrol was cut to $40,000, which includes a grant of $30,700 and $9,300 coming from the Summit County Executive’s Office. The request also states that patrol will be reduced to cover the period from Memorial Day through Labor Day and asks for a contribution from the city to help cover that cost.
A portion of the Portage Lakes also is located in Coventry and Green, but Bollas noted those communities contract with the Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement on the lakes.
Bollas stated the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Watercraft Division also does some patrol, but he stated the agency has experienced some cuts, and as a result, the city’s police department has “picked up the slack” to respond to incidents at Portage Lakes State Park.
New Franklin Councilman Paul Adamson (Ward 1) said he does not believe there is a discipline problem in the area lakes.
“I rarely see people that are out of line,” he added. “I have no sense that there is not enough patrol.”
Councilman Joe Parsons (at large) said he would like to look at other options before making a decision.
Law Director Tom Musarra suggested a request should be made to the Sheriff’s Office asking for a written contract that would include details of how the $10,000 would be used.
Also at the meeting, Council members and Bollas agreed to sign and send a letter to Sheriff Drew Alexander, as well as County Executive Russ Pry; Summit County Councilman Tim Crawford (D-District 7); County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh; and Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board Executive Director Gerald Craig regarding a newly adopted practice at the Summit County Jail requiring all law enforcement officers to not bring mentally ill suspects there until they are stabilized, which New Franklin officials said will significantly increase their costs to oversee prisoners.
“We feel that the revised policy shifts the burden of recognizing and treating the mental health issues of prisoners from the professionals at your jail facility to local law enforcement officers who do not have the resources or the necessary skill sets to distinguish between serious mental health issues and minor mental health issues,” the letter states.
Also at the meeting, Council members approved the following:
• a payment of $900 for postage to Summit County Probate Court Judge Todd McKenney for the deed notification program, which Bollas called a “well-received and worthy program”;
• a payment of $2,370 at a rate of $30 per hour to Joni Murgatroyd for her work on the city’s finances, which is continuing;
• a five-year renewal agreement with Barberton Municipal Court for video arraignment services in the amount of $750 per year for the arraignment of prisoners from the Summit County Jail; and
• rate increases from $25 to $35 per hour, along with an increase in the minimum two-hour required rental time to three hours on Mondays through Thursdays at the Franklin Park Civic Center, also known as the Tudor House.
Council also approved the mayor’s appointment of Ron Harris to the Tudor House Advisory Committee.
In addition, Bollas announced city officials would begin creating a plan for the $186,800 grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, requiring a $50,000 match from the city, for an Innovative Stormwater Demonstration Project to be constructed in front of City Hall.
The project will create a 15,000-square-foot bio-swale, a half-acre treatment wetland and bank erosion that impacts the Portage Lakes, according to Bollas.
“It will give us 29 additional parking spots on a porous lot that will help with flooding problems all the way down to the Catalina Drive ditch, and part of the funds can be used to demolish an old home on the site,” he added.
Council adjourned into executive session to discuss personnel matters.
The next regular Council meeting will take place May 2, with committee meetings starting at 6 p.m. and the regular meeting beginning at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 5611 Manchester Road.
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Calendar of Events
- Spring Nature Hikes - 5/22/2013
- Summit Children’s Choir - 5/22/2013
- “Calamity Jane” - 5/23/2013
- Book Sale and Bizarre Bazaar - 5/25/2013
- Art Sale - 5/25/2013