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Richfield Village Council OKs new public safety hires

4/25/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Richfield Village Council approved hiring three new dispatchers and one new firemedic during the April 16 meeting.

Mayor Bobbie Beshara said Police Chief Keith Morgan requested the new dispatchers. He said in his report that night to Council that his department was understaffed in the communications area.

Hired as part-time dispatchers were Tracie Tsai, Rene Heiser and Arlene Fassinger. Morgan said all three had successfully completed psychological evaluations and were in the last phase of the hiring process, which includes alcohol and drug testing.

Also, Fire Chief Jason Mihalek said his department has added part-time firemedic Dan Dopslaf to its roster.

Morgan also told Council that his department’s new police cars are being outfitted by the service department.

In her report, Service Director Melanie Baker told Council work is expected to begin in May on paving Brecksville Road from state Route 303 to Townsend Road.

She added the department used 1,700 tons of salt for roads during the winter, an increase from 1,200 the year before.

Baker also told Council the Cemetery Board met March 27 and is recommending Council move forward on purchasing land adjacent to Fairview Cemetery for expansion.

Planning and Zoning Director Brian Frantz told Council he has submitted an application with the Northeast Ohio Four County Regional Development and Planning Organization (NEFCO) for additional brownfield funding for the Soni property. He added that if the village receives funding, a matching grant is not required.

Finance Director Sandy Turk addressed Council and said income tax collections were up 0.4 percent in March from the previous March. She added that year-to-date collections are up 2.7 percent.

Turk also explained the resolution before Council that opposes passage of Ohio House Bill 5 dealing with municipal tax reform. Turk said the bill included unfunded mandates, imposes unnecessary administrative burdens and encroaches on local control.

During the meeting, Council unanimously adopted the resolution against the bill.

During her report, Recreation Director Ruth Jocek encouraged Council and residents to take part in Community Project Pride April 27 from 9 a.m. to noon. The cleanup project day also will include free shredding and a collection of computer parts, phones and copiers for recycling.

She also explained that a resolution before Council that authorizes the village to apply for a NatureWorks grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources would be used for a new playground on Town Hall property. The grant, if awarded, would pay 75 percent of the cost of a proposed $60,000 playground, she said. The Richfield Kiwanis would pay the matching amount if the grant were awarded, she added. Council adopted the resolution that evening.

Jocek also said the village farmers’ market will begin for the season June 19 and will feature six new vendors.

Also adopted were:

  • a resolution authorizing a contract with the Ohio Department of Transportation for the spot paving of Interstate 77, state Route 303 and state Route 176 within the village;
  • a resolution authorizing an agreement with Arcadis GPS for professional engineering services in connection with the design of sanitary sewers to service the Briarwood area;
  • a resolution authorizing an application to the Summit/Akron Solid Waste Management Authority for a community access recycling grant; and
  • a resolution authorizing acceptance of an urban tree canopy assessment grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry and appropriating funds for the assessment. Council members Barbara Lanford and Hank Novak voted against the resolution.

Richfield Council will next meet for a work session April 30 at 7 p.m. The next regular meeting will be May 7 at 8 p.m., with caucus set to begin at 7:30 p.m., in Town Hall at 4410 W. Streetsboro Road.

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