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Granger hires new fiscal officer

6/27/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Donald Baker
Photo: Kathleen Folkerth
Granger Trustees introduced the township’s new fiscal officer during the June 24 meeting.

Donald Baker will be on the job Aug. 1 after the retirement of longtime fiscal officer Barbara Beach.

Baker said he’s been a township resident for nine years and has a background in banking and finance. A former Wadsworth resident, he served for eight years as a member of Wadsworth City Council. He is currently chair of the Medina County Board of Elections.

Trustees said they received eight applications for the position. One candidate withdrew and the other seven were interviewed, and some were interviewed a second time.

“It was a long process,” said Trustee John Ginley.

Because Beach is leaving office in the midst of her term, Baker will have to run for the seat in the Nov. 5 General Election.

Baker said he applied because his experience was in line with the requirements for the position. He said he has worked as a consultant and was part of the management team that sold Charter One Bank.

He and his wife, Carol, are the parents of Nicholas, a senior at Highland High School.

Baker said he would work with Beach before he takes on his duties. Her last day is July 31.

In other business, trustees voted to participate in the Moving Ohio Forward demolition program.

Trustee Richard Pace said there has been some controversy about the fees, about $750, that are charged back to the township for each property demolished.

“The state said that cannot be reimbursed with grant funds,” Pace said, noting that the cost of a demolition project is about $10,000. “It comes with a little more cost than it did before, and there’s the chance it can go up.”

The trustees discussed whether or not the cost should be charged back to the property owner, and Trustee Teri Berry recommended the township consider looking at the issue on a case-by-case basis.

Pace said he and trustees have been looking at what appear to be abandoned properties that could be addressed through the program. He also asked residents to make suggestions.

“If you have an abandoned property and you want it gone, this is a program to help accomplish that,” he said. “It has to be done by the end of the year, so time is short.”

In other business, Medina County Sheriff’s Office Deputy David Pries reported there were 291 reported activities in Granger in May. He said there has been an increase in reckless operation citations because motorists are driving faster.

He also introduced Deputy Todd Heckel, who is now patrolling the township. Heckel said he lived in Granger until he was 8 years old, and his mother is a retired Highland High School teacher. His father was a former trustee, as well.

“This is my absolute favorite place to be,” he said.

Also during the meeting:

  • Service Department Director Mark Novak recommended trustees accept the snowplow bid from No. 1 Landscaping, as it was the lowest and the company did a good job this year, he said. Trustees approved a resolution to hire the company for the coming winter.
  • Novak said the Medina County Engineer’s Office has notified the township that someone is dumping concrete at the dead end of Granger Willows Drive. The office recommended putting a stop to the practice because it could pose a problem for future development of the site. Novak said the township would place a guardrail at the end of the road.
  • Trustees approved the purchase of a new thermal-imaging camera for the Granger Fire Department at a cost of $4,000 with the trade-in of the department’s current camera, which Fire Chief Jim Paulett said needed updating.
  • Trustees approved the 2014 budget after looking it over with Beach, who said it was “very conservative” based on estimates of revenue from the county.
  • Trustees heard from Maria Kipfstuhl, business development manager with the Medina County Economic Development Corporation, who explained that a company is interested in property in the township if there are incentives through the establishment of a community reinvestment area (CRA). The decision on whether or not to create the CRA lies with the Medina County Board of Commissioners, she said. The township would have a say in what the CRA’s boundaries would be, she added. Trustees took information she provided but did not comment on the idea.
  • Zoning Inspector Annie George said there would be no Board of Zoning Appeals meeting in July.

Following the meeting, trustees conducted an executive session to discuss employment.

The next regular Granger Board of Trustees meeting is set for July 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Granger Township Administration Building, 3717 Ridge Road.

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