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Coventry trustees agree to support school issue

4/18/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

The Coventry Board of Trustees unanimously agreed at the April 11 meeting to endorse Issue No. 5, a combined 5.99-mill levy and bond issue for Coventry Local Schools on the May 7 Primary/Special Election ballot.

Trustee Tom Seese asked his colleagues to join him in publicly supporting the issue that would provide the community with a new high school and improvements to existing school buildings.

“I know my job is only as good as the community I live in,” he said. “The community I live in needs a good school system.”

Seese said the passage of the combined issue would be in the best interest of the entire township and positively impact real estate investments and, most importantly, the children in the community.

“I would like the board to encourage the residents to vote in favor of this issue. This has to be a step in the right direction,” he said. “I know it failed twice.”

The same combined issue failed by 58 percent Feb. 5 and 53 percent this past August, according to the Summit County Board of Elections.

Superintendent Russell Chaboudy said this would be the last time the district asks voters to pass the same combined levy.

To obtain $11 million being offered by the state for the high school construction and additional district renovations, Coventry has until June to approve the ballot measure, he has said.

The 34-year bond issue and levy would cost $15.29 a month for someone younger than 65 who owns a home valued at $100,000, and the cost for someone older than 65 who owns a $100,000 home would be $11.47 per month, district Treasurer Aaron Butts has said.

Seese believes the monthly payment would be money well spent.

“Property values are going down. We are losing kids to other schools now,” he said.

Trustee Gary Zoldesy also expressed support for the ballot issue.

“This is for the kids,” he explained. “The kids have to have this, and I hope the community will understand the importance of this.”

Board Chairman Dave Calderone agreed, stating strong schools make for a strong community.

“Your support means so much to us,” said Coventry High School senior Sierra Miller.

She and her friends said they came to the meeting to show they are standing behind their school district.

“This means everything to us this year. All our programs are on the line. We literally love our school system,” she said. “We care about our education and our community.”

Also during the meeting, the board heard a presentation concerning the rain barrel project through the Summit Soil and Water Conservation District (SSWCD).

Zoldesy is encouraging residents to purchase rain barrels to positively impact the quality of the Portage Lakes.

A rain barrel is a container that collects water from a roof as it flows through a downspout. Because the rain barrel collects and slows down the runoff, it not only conserves water but also helps to filter out pollutants and prevent erosion and flooding, according to SSWCD officials.

Through the presentation, residents learned water collected in a rain barrel could be used to water gardens and generate savings on water and sewer bills.

To draw awareness to the use of rain barrels, the township will auction off one special rain barrel in June, Zoldesy explained.

Community residents will be able to bid on a rain barrel being painted by local artist Dale Warren, whose studio and gallery is located at 856 Portage Lakes Drive. Zoldesy expressed appreciation for Warren’s hard work, as he volunteered to paint scenes from the community on the barrel at no charge to the township.

Warren’s rain barrel will be on display at the board’s regular meeting next month, and the township may hold a rain barrel workshop for Coventry residents in the near future, he said.

Additionally at the meeting, the board took action to progress in the Moving Ohio Forward Grant Demolition program in the township. The program provided Coventry with $15,000 of state funds for the demolition of blighted and abandoned homes in the township, said Zoning Inspector George Beckham. The grant program required Coventry to match the state funds, so the township will be using $30,000 to demolish dilapidated structures in the community, he said.

According to the board’s actions taken, the following properties will be razed and in the following order: 31 Portage Lakes Drive; 462 Dollar Drive; 3621 Manchester Road; 1617 Chaffin Road; 330 Lemar St.; 3363 Cottage Grove Road; 325 Hyacinth Ave.; 428 Killian Road; 281 Hohman St.; 3555 Portage Point Blvd.; and 3271 Rowena St.

Also at the meeting, the board:

  • approved a contract, not to exceed $44,100, with Quality Lawn for 30 mows in the township;
  • allocated $5,000 for the 2013 Juvenile Diversion Program through the Summit County Sheriff’s Office;
  • authorized an application to the Summit/Akron Solid Waste Management Authority for the 2013 Community Recycling Access Grant for $8,741 to promote recycling activity in the township;
  • adopted a position statement and guidelines for political yard signs in the township, which soon would be put on the township website;
  • heard from Jim Zuccaro, from the Ohio Township Association Risk Management Authority, concerning the possibility of increasing the coverage on the Town Hall and the road garage at a cost of about $950 a year; and
  • appointed Holly Miller as first alternate and Jack Cousins as second alternate on the Board of Zoning Appeals.

In other business, the Portage Lakes Advisory Council’s Litter Cleanup Project of Nimisila Reservoir and Recreation Area will take place April 20 from 9 a.m. to noon. Participants should meet at the first parking lot on Christman Road. A pizza lunch will be provided following the cleanup.

The next regular Coventry trustees’ meeting is set for May 9 at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall, 68 Portage Lakes Drive.

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