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Lakemore Council expels Strittmatter

10/18/2012 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

LAKEMORE — An elected official’s seat on Lakemore Village Council continued to sit empty Oct. 15, but officials took action so it quickly could be filled by a new community member.

During the Lakemore Council meeting, Council unanimously agreed to expel Councilwoman Lori Strittmatter, who was not present for the vote.

“This is something that no one here on Council is excited about,” said Councilman Wendell Sommers. “Because of some personal situations she is going through, we discussed it and found it best to allow her to handle those things and put someone in the seat able to be at the meetings and give us the full quorum needed.”

Mayor Rick Justice explained Strittmatter had missed the past five regular Council meetings and 13 out of the last 21 village meetings.

“It is simple. We are going by numbers,” he said.

During the past two months, Council did not vote to excuse her absences.

When questioned about her vacancy last month, Strittmatter said she would not comment on the situation.

Strittmatter ran as a write-in candidate in the 2011 November General Election and began her first term on Council in January.

“It is not a happy thing,” Justice said. “She came in with the intention to help Lakemore, and we wish her well. Sometimes we have to make a change.”

The mayor said six dedicated members of Council are needed to help run the village.

He explained Council’s expulsion of Strittmatter is in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code, and her replacement needs to be named soon, by law.

He said Council must appoint someone to her seat within 30 days. If members don’t agree on the replacement, then Justice said he will make the appointment.

He said Strittmatter had continued to receive a paycheck for serving on Council, but she was not paid last month due to her absences.

Also during the meeting, Justice reported the village is continuing to decrease the deficit in the General Fund. He said the deficit was more than $1 million at the start of 2012 and is down to just less than $800,000.

“We are still looking for more cuts and savings,” he said.

Justice said the village has been increasing its revenue through new businesses, including Dollar General and Kellbran Candies.

“We are moving in the right direction,” he said.

He explained the village would be able to save more than $300 a month with a new contract for copier services.

Also during the meeting, Council approved a lease agreement with blue technologies for a Konika copy machine for a monthly charge of $542 for 60 months.

Justice said the village was paying $900 a month through a contract Council just entered into several months ago. He explained the contract, with a different company, ended up being more expensive than they thought.

Sommers voted against the new contract because he said he wanted to research the issue further.

Justice ensured the village would see a significant savings during the contract. He said Lakemore now is being offered a government rate and would not be charged any additional fees, per the contract.

Council additionally agreed to enter into a 12-month contract with DPL Energy Resources Inc. for electric generation supply for the village’s own electric utility accounts. The generation rate during the initial term is about 0.05 cent per kilowatt per hour. Councilman Tom Wolfe said the village would see a 20 percent reduction in cost through the new contract. Justice added Council would be looking into possible village-wide aggregates soon, as well.

Wolfe also reported Council could soon consider new insurance for village employees if better coverage could be located at a better cost.

In other village business:

• The village will hold a costume party for children Oct. 27 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 1400 Main St. That night, trick-or-treat will take place from 5 to 7 p.m.

• The Lakemore Fire Association will hold its annual pancake breakfast, by donation, Oct. 27 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Council will hold a workshop Oct. 24 at 6 p.m. and a regular meeting Nov. 5 at 7 p.m., both at the Municipal Building.

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