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Norton residents asking about sewer costs

4/25/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Ariel Hakim

Norton residents should have easy access to numbers that could help them estimate potential costs for installing sewers in the city, argued Councilman Todd Bergstrom (Ward 1) at City Council’s April 22 meeting.

During communications from the public, resident William Paluch claimed people should be aware their property taxes will go up by 200 percent or more by a sewer project, a statement which drew objections from Bergstrom.

“Every assessment is different,” so that kind of blind statement is inaccurate, he said.

Resident Richard Gardner once again approached Council to ask about expected costs proposed to install sewers in the city.

Council President Don Nicolard (Ward 2) answered that the Summit County Engineer’s Office’s estimate is $8.5 million.

“You can ram this thing through — we know that,” said resident Rick Rodgers. A better option, he said, would be to try to garner support from the community by presenting facts and figures.

Bergstrom said he asked several weeks ago about publicizing what Council knows from an engineering perspective, as well as simple figures for the average homeowner that would allow people to “get a pretty good feel” for the potential costs of the project.

Bergstrom addressed Mayor Mike Zita and said he’d like figures for residents to reference to appear on the city’s website within a month.

“Let’s get it out there,” he said. “I’ve been asking for it. Now I’m asking for it on the floor to make sure it happens.”

Also at the meeting, Council adopted an ordinance to submit a proposed charter amendment to the Summit County Board of Elections for it to appear on the Aug. 6 Special Election ballot. Council voted 5-1 to adopt the proposed ordinance, with Nicolard casting the dissenting vote. Councilman Scott Pelot (at large) had an excused absence from the meeting.

The proposed change to Norton’s charter, which originated with a citizen petition, 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.

In other action, the board waived second and third readings and voted unanimously to adopt three pieces of legislation following first readings.

The first will allow the director of finance to execute a letter agreement with the state auditor to provide auditing services to the city.

The second authorizes the mayor to sign a new contract for 2013 with Oriana House, which provides work-release services to the Barberton Municipal Court, which handles Norton cases from time to time, according to the legislation.

The third amends a list of locations for posting city notices, as 3 Son’s Restaurant is no longer in business. That location, for Ward 2, will be replaced by Gionino’s Pizzeria. Other locations for posting city notices remain the same, including Duke & Duchess Gas Station in Ward 1, Norton Branch Library in Ward 3 and Milich’s Village Inn in Ward 4.

Public service announcements from the mayor included:

  • Mayor’s Court hours have changed. The court will now take place Mondays instead of Thursdays, beginning at 4 p.m., Zita said. No Mayor’s Court will be held May 2, he added.
  • A Food Truck Roundup will take place April 26 from 5 to 9 p.m., with several food trucks parking at 4070 Columbia Woods Drive.
  • Norton Cleanup Day for roadside litter pickup will take place April 27 from 8 a.m. to noon. Interested residents should meet at the Safety-Administration Building at 8 a.m. to pick up supplies and for doughnuts, coffee and juice. At 11 a.m., hot dogs, chips and drinks also will be served. To register, call 330-825-7815, ext. 314.

Council next plans to meet for a work session May 6 and for its regular meeting May 13, both at 7 p.m., in Council Chambers at the Safety-Administration Building, 4060 Columbia Woods Drive.

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