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New Franklin planning improvements at City Hall

12/13/2012 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

NEW FRANKLIN — The front of New Franklin City Hall will undergo improvements that will be both aesthetic and practical, thanks to a $186,800 grant received from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency in April.

City officials announced at the Dec. 5 Council meeting they are now hoping to prepare plans to use those funds, along with $50,000 in matching funds from the city, to create a park-like setting on portions of two lots abutting the south-facing portion of City Hall and fronting on Center Road, which city officials purchased earlier this year.

Council decided to take time on the new piece of legislation, which seeks to enter into an agreement with Environmental Design Group for engineering plans to create a retention basin that will improve storm water runoff for south of the area, as well as expand parking in front of City Hall. The total cost of the engineering work is expected to be about $30,000 and is covered by the grant, according to city officials.

Bollas said the grant funds will be available to the city until the end of 2014, and the city will move forward with the project when it financially can do so.

In other business, Council approved with a 5-0 vote legislation that allows the police department to purchase a replacement vehicle at a cost not to exceed $17,500.

Before the vote, Law Director Tom Musarra said with at-large Council members Gust Kalapodis and Joe Parsons absent, all five votes were needed to allow the legislation to pass as an emergency item and the city to move on the purchase immediately. If Council had not voted unanimously to support the legislation, the purchase would have had to wait for 30 days.

Mayor Al Bollas said the vehicle was needed to replace one involved in an accident last month. The insurance company paid $6,200 for that vehicle. Bollas said the vehicle is used by the chief and detectives as an unmarked surveillance vehicle. Bollas asked Council to waive the three readings rule and approve the legislation on first reading, and Council agreed to do so.

Also at the meeting, Bollas announced the Village of Clinton has expressed interest in joining the city’s trash aggregation program with Republic Services. Coventry joined the program in May.

“The more [residents] we have, the better,” said Bollas. “This has really benefited us.”

New Franklin’s trash aggregation program began Jan. 1 and reduced bills for some residents as much as 50 percent, according to Bollas. He also said that while about 300 residents opted out from the program in the beginning, more than 100 have returned to join the program. Bollas said more households in the program could reduce costs for all.

Council will have to vote on legislation that would permit Clinton residents, which number about 500 according to the 2010 Census, to join the city’s trash aggregation program. Clinton residents would likely begin their participation in March, according to Bollas.

Bollas also announced the city Holiday Lights contest has begun. In the contest, police on patrol will take note of homes and businesses decorated for the season and make recommendations on the top 10. The winners will be announced at the Dec. 19 New Franklin Council meeting.

At the next Council meeting, slated for Dec. 19, appointments and re-appointments to a number of the city’s boards and commission will be approved.

Also, city officials are seeking a resident to serve on the Civil Service Commission for a six-year term to expire Dec. 31, 2018. The individual will replace Ken Tallman, who has decided to retire from the position. Anyone interested in serving on the commission is asked to contact city officials at 330-882-4324.

The next regular Council meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 5611 Manchester Road, with a public hearing on a request to rezone two parcels of property on the southeast corner of Manchester and West Turkeyfoot Lake roads from B-2 (Heavy Commercial) to R-2 (Medium Density Residential) to permit the resident’s alpacas to graze on the property. Committee meetings will follow the public hearing, and the regular meeting will start at 7 p.m.

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