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Norton Council creates committee to explore costs for meeting broadcasts

12/13/2012 - West Side Leader
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By John Benson

Norton City Council President Don Nicolard (Ward 2) appointed an ad hoc committee at Council’s Dec. 10 meeting to help facilitate compliance of a recently passed charter amendment requiring all Council meetings, work sessions and workshops to be televised.

“Having reviewed the charter amendment about broadcasting our meetings — I know the administration has done some work and I know Council was relying on administration — tonight I’d like to appoint an ad hoc committee,” said Nicolard.

The five-member committee, including two Council representatives, will investigate all resources available relating to the total expenses, funding sources and options, as well as Federal Communications Commission licensing, equipment purchase, audio-visual staffing and timeline. The group’s final report is to be presented to Council, Mayor Mike Zita and the administration Jan. 7.

“I did send a letter to people who had interest in this,” Nicolard said “I had one person volunteer, Jack Gainer. He’ll chair the committee. I know that Mr. Gainer has done a lot of work already. Also [appointed to committee are residents] Karen Harley and Michelle Baker. All we are missing is two Council people.”

After no one stepped forward to join, Nicolard asked Councilwoman Charlotte Whipkey (at large) if she’d be interested.

“I’m strapped for time, but I will,” she said.

Councilman Bill Mowery (Ward 3) also volunteered for the ad hoc committee.

“These meetings are open to the public, and I can’t thank you enough for coming forward and giving us ideas on how to do this,” said Nicolard.

Added Harley, “We’ll give it our best shot.”

Also during the meeting, resident Richard Gardner asked whether there was any truth to the rumor that Council was going to go to court in regards to the charter amendment requiring televised meetings.

He suggested Council and the administration take a pay cut so the city could afford the expenditure for televising meetings.

When asked if Council had discussed taking the matter to court, Nicolard said, “I can’t say.”

Another resident speaking before Council was Pat Reese, who was upset about the possibility the city might assess residents for its road program.

“What I would like to ask you to keep in mind, between the fire and school levies that passed, I don’t think as a citizen I have to bear the brunt of another tax levy,” Reese said. “I had to redo my figures for next year, and I’d like to see my Council correct its spending budgets. Maybe take money from one department and give it to the road program. It is really important that you listen to us because all of us citizens can’t endure another tax. And I’m not even mentioning sewers.”

Ordinances unanimously passed 6-0, with Council Vice President Todd Bergstrom (Ward 1) having an excused absence, included the following:

• to establish Fund No. 105 for the collection of the proceeds of the fire/EMS levy;

• an annual appropriation for current expenses and other expenditures of the city for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2013;

• the establishment of emergency ambulance service costs;

• to authorize nominal expenditures for refreshments or meals to be served at various events;

• to transfer from the General Fund and the Fire/EMS 2007 Levy Capital Fund for calendar year 2013 into various funds;

• to authorize advances for calendar year 2013 from the General Fund into various funds;

• to authorize and direct the mayor to enter into contracts with the Legal Defenders Office of Summit County;

• to appoint Ruth Stimac to fulfill an unexpired term as a representative on the Norton Parks and Cemetery Board;

• to authorize the mayor and/or administrative officer to execute and deliver a Cost Sharing Agreement with the city of Barberton for the construction of the 31st Street Northwest/South Cleveland-Massillon Road Waterline Replacement Project;

• to accept the bid of Wenger Excavating Inc. in an amount not to exceed $49,729 for the Norton Avenue Project; and

• to authorize the mayor and/or city administrator to advertise for bids for and to execute and deliver a contract for the construction of a sewer line at the city service center.

Also, Council approved 5-0 (with Ward 4 Councilman John Conklin abstaining) a resolution of appreciation for the service of Conklin as a member of the Norton Parks & Cemetery Board.

The next Norton City Council meeting is set for Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at the Safety-Administration Building, 4060 Columbia Woods Drive.

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