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Norton business owner asking for delay of waterline replacement

3/28/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Ariel Hakim

Norton residents overflowed into the lobby from Council Chambers at City Council’s March 25 meeting, waiting to speak to public officials regarding a variety of topics.

Following a nearly hour-long executive session held following Council’s roll call, city officials heard from several residents in the packed house.

Business owner Susan Dayton asked for a delay in a project that would replace a waterline on South Cleveland-Massillon Road. Dayton said as owner and operator of Dayton's Flower & Garden Center, located at 4474 Cleveland-Massillon Road, she represents businesses that would be affected by the work, which she said included Milich’s Village Inn and Norton Muffler & Brake.

She said she just found out the work would be happening when she saw a sign go up and asked the project be delayed until at least August.

“We can’t afford to take another hit,” she said.

There is no way the businesses in that corridor would be able to recoup income losses if the project is to go forward now, she said.

Mayor Mike Zita said last Friday he was at a meeting with Norton and Barberton officials, attended by representatives of the engineering firm and construction company poised to do the work, along with concerned residents. Dayton’s concerns also were heard at that meeting, he said.

The project is a joint one between the two cities that officials had hoped to get under way last fall, he said.

“I don’t know that it’s anybody’s fault it got delayed,” he said.

The project is now expected to start in Norton sometime after April 1, he added.

Zita said the project team is working to see what may be done to help the businesses along that corridor remain as unaffected as possible.

“I don’t believe businesses can take this hit,” said Councilman Bill Mowery (Ward 3). “They’re not asking too much.”

Residents William Paluch and Andrew Lehner all touched on the topic of televised Council meetings, which also garnered comments from Councilman John Conklin (Ward 4). Though Council meetings are now viewable online, those residents said they don’t believe the will of the people is being done, since the meetings are not televised.

To comply with a charter amendment requiring all Council meetings, work sessions and workshops be televised, Council decided Jan. 28 to go with live streaming over the Internet.

Conklin added he thinks the quality of the video available online is “pretty bad.”

“I would like to see if we can improve upon that,” he said.

In other business, the contentious issue of sewers possibly being installed in the city and their cost was discussed.

Resident Tom Kornas asked for a quarterly public meeting to provide more financial information.

Zita agreed to schedule such a meeting at a yet-to-be-determined time.

Also during the meeting:

  • Resident Pat Reese told Council they should publish a formal apology in the papers to Mitch Roman, owner of Romaster, which provides janitorial services for select municipal buildings.
    During Council’s work session March 4, Administrative Officer Rick Ryland noted the city’s dissatisfaction with Romaster, according to minutes from that meeting.
    Roman appeared before Council March 11 and stated he had not been approached by city officials with complaints about his company’s work.
    Councilwoman Charlotte Whipkey (at large) moved to indefinitely table legislation that would award the cleaning contract to a Barberton company. Council unanimously agreed.
    Zita added he met with Roman last week to go over the current contract, including duties and responsibilities.
  • Council approved the purchase of a 2013 Ford F150 pickup truck, not to exceed $27,364, for the Fire Department.
  • Council had a first reading of an ordinance to place a proposed charter amendment on the Aug. 6 Special Election ballot. The Summit County Board of Elections certified the petition was signed by 10 percent of electors of the city, according to city officials.
    The proposed change to Norton’s charter is in regards to sewer and water rate assessments, connection fees and rate limits. It seeks to eliminate fees for construction of sewer or water lines within the city, as well as to have assessments for sewer or water lines paid for by the city. Also, the amendment proposes that Norton residents not “be charged to tie into, connect to or otherwise access sewer or water lines,” within city limits. In addition, the charter amendment would cap residential water and sewer bills at $35 a month, unless increased by a majority vote of Council by not more than 2 percent per year.
  • Following a third reading of a proposed ordinance to amend a section of the city’s codified ordinances, Council approved that legislation, though Whipkey and Mowery voted against it.
    Councilman Scott Pelot (at large) said the legislation is meant to give the city authority to clean up garbage and fine mortgage companies.
  • Zita announced the Ohio Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting April 2 from 5 to 7 p.m. in Council Chambers to discuss the proposed replacement of the Clark Mill and Summit roads bridges over Interstate 76.

Council next plans to meet for a work session April 1 and for its regular meeting April 8, both at 7 p.m., in Council Chambers at the Safety-Administration Building, 4060 Columbia Woods Drive.

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