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Akron Council also opposes adding juvenile judge

5/9/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Stephanie Kist

Council also approves street projects for 2013

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Akron City Council approved a resolution May 6 stating its opposition to a provision in the pending state budget that would add an additional judge to the Summit County Juvenile Court.

Council voted unanimously, with the exception of Councilman Ken Jones (D-Ward 1), an employee of the court, who abstained, to approve the resolution. Summit County Council approved a similar resolution last week, and Summit County Juvenile Court Judge Linda Teodosio has testified before the state Senate in opposition to the amendment to House Bill 59 that would add the judge [see related item below for more on that]. The bill has been adopted by the state House of Representatives with the amendment, which was added by Reps. Anthony DiVitis (R-District 36) and Marilyn Slaby (R-District 38), according to City Council’s resolution.

Teodosio spoke before Council, saying that adding a judge is not in the court’s best interest at this time.

She shared statistics with Council that show new filings have decreased by 42 percent since 2007 and the court’s caseload has diminished by 53 percent since 1990. She said cases are decided in a timely and efficient fashion.

“It just doesn’t make sense to add a second judge,” she said.

Adding a judge, Teodosio said, would cost between $300,000 and $400,000 per year, redirecting funds from services provided to Summit County children.

“It almost feels like an unfunded mandate,” she said.

Councilman Jeff Fusco (D-at large), who sponsored the resolution, said adding a judge didn’t pass the “reasonableness test.”

“We need to send a message to Columbus,” he said.

In other business, Council approved the 2013 Unimproved Street Resurfacing Program at a cost of $1.05 million, the 2013 Arterial Collector Program at a cost of $531,991 and the 2013 Residential Resurfacing Program at a cost of almost $1.9 million.

Generally speaking, unimproved streets are those without curbs and sidewalks; residential streets are improved; and arterial collectors are main thoroughfares.

In the West Side Leader’s coverage area, the following streets are included in the Unimproved Street Resurfacing Program: Juneau Avenue; Lawton, Little and Slosson streets; Mentor and Tinkham roads; Upper Merriman Drive; and alternates Bastogne, Dickemerry, Hessel and Nokomis drives and Somerset Road.

The following streets are included in the Residential Resurfacing Program: Brookshire and Warrington roads; Courtland, Delaware and Jefferson avenues; Gavington Place; Good Park Boulevard; Kingsbridge Court; Stonegate and Work drives; and alternates Barcelona, Bryden, Madrid and Thorndale drives; Cadillac and Frederick boulevards; and Storer Avenue.

None of the streets in the Arterial Collector Program are in the West Side Leader’s coverage area.

Council also approved legislation that will allow for property owners on the streets that will be resurfaced or treated to be assessed a portion of the cost of the project.

In other legislative action, Council:

  • approved a $4.7 million project to implement energy-efficient improvements to city facilities and a related piece of legislation authorizing the application for an Air Quality Control Loan from the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority to help fund the improvements;
  • approved a $3.5 million contract with Oriana House Inc. for confinement, rehabilitation services and alternative sentencing options for offenders convicted of Akron code violations. This is the same amount as last year’s contract;
  • approved a resolution congratulating LeBron James on being named the NBA’s most valuable player for the fourth time; and
  • set May 20 as the date for a public hearing on Akron Public Schools’ request for a conditional-use permit for the construction of the Firestone/Litchfield Community Learning Center at 333 Rampart Ave.

The next Council meeting is scheduled for May 13 at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers on the third floor of the Akron Municipal Building, 166 S. High St. in Downtown Akron. Committee meetings are set to begin at 2 p.m. that afternoon, also in Council Chambers.

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