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Richfield Village officials discuss township’s office lease

9/12/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Jeff Gorman

Richfield Village Council passed a resolution Sept. 3 that would allow Richfield Township to stay in its current administrative offices, but the township trustees said two days later they were moving ahead with plans to leave.

After the township and village formally separated in 2003, the township leased its current office space, a house located behind the fire station on West Streetsboro Road, from the village. The village leased the building to the township rent free for 10 years. That period has expired, leading Council to pass a resolution allowing a new lease for the building.

Before the vote, Councilman Hank Novak said it was “insulting” to ask the township for a security deposit, but Council voted down his motion to remove that stipulation from the lease.

Councilwoman Barbara Lanford voted against the lease resolution, stating that some of the costs in the lease should be assessed to the township rather than the village.

Roger Swan, a candidate for a Council seat and former village zoning inspector, said both governments should be “ashamed” that this situation wasn’t resolved “two or three years ago.”

Councilman Mike Wheeler responded the township “soundly turned down” the village’s offer to have office space in Town Hall.

“Maybe the township wants its own facility,” he said.

Council President Rick Hudak said the township’s current location “makes a lot of sense.

“It’s not a done deal,” he said. “The mayor will approach the trustees and give them some other ideas.”

However, the idea of the township staying in its current location permanently may be moot. The township trustees said at their meeting two days later, Sept. 5, they planned to move ahead with constructing a new building on the site of the township’s service garage on Boston Mills Road. [See related story on Page 9.]

In other news:

  • Mayor Bobbie Beshara urged residents to support an Ohio Senate bill that would increase the official work week from 30 hours to 40.
    “Right now, we have to keep track of our part-timers and make sure they don’t go over 30 hours per week, or we could have to offer insurance to them,” she said.
    Beshara also said she has talked with Boston Heights Mayor Bill Goncy about the possibility of Richfield providing dispatch services. Boston Heights’ contract with Macedonia is set to run out in December, Beshara said.
    Also, Beshara said the North East Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) is offering a homestead exemption for storm water management fees. Those who are eligible can call the village if they have questions about it, she said.
    “Be prepared for a lot of calls,” Novak said. “It’s very poorly written.”
  • Councilman Ralph Waszak said Summit County officials are considering the creation of a county storm water management district.
    Law director Bill Hanna said that if it becomes a reality, Richfield Village would be able to opt out of the NEORSD and move into the Summit County district.
  • Police Chief Keith Morgan reported that University Hospitals’ Ahuja Medical Center is taking over as the medical adviser to the jail and will provide two meals per day to inmates. The cost of getting the meals from Ahuja will be less than buying food only to have it go bad due to a lack of inmates, Morgan said.
  • Fire Chief Jason Mihalek said hydrant flushing should be finished by Sept. 13.
    He also said residents can volunteer to be on the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) by calling the Richfield Fire Department at 330-659-9400, ext. 304. CERT members will undergo 16 hours of training in how to help the community during a disaster.
  • Service Director Melanie Baker said the work to connect the library parking lot to the Carter-Pedigo Trail should take two weeks.
    She also said new street lights for the Kinross Lakes area have been ordered.
  • Recreation Director Ruth Jocek said her department has received 10 recycling barrels through a grant program. They will be located at ball fields and park entrances, she said.
  • Planning and Zoning Director Brian Frantz said the village has agreed with the owner of the home at 3852 Brecksville Road to demolish the house using funds from the Moving Ohio Forward program.
  • Finance Director Sandy Turk said income tax receipts were up 0.2 percent for the month of August and 5.7 percent for the year, compared to last year’s totals.
  • Council approved an engineering contract with GPD Group for work on the Fox Run culvert pipe repair and replacement program. The cost will not exceed $8,000.
  • Council passed two resolutions for the improvement of the Eastwood House at 4712 W. Streetsboro Road. The village will pay $16,041 to Equity Painting for painting and other improvements, and $14,870 to Precision Environmental for lead-based paint stabilization.
    “I know it’s a lot of money, but it’s the least expensive option to preserve what is there,” said Hudak. “I would like to see us come up with a viable, long-term use for the property.”
    Novak voted against the lead abatement contract because of the lack of plans to use the building.
    “It’s like putting lipstick on a pig,” he said.
  • Wheeler scheduled a meeting of the Insurance Committee for Oct. 1 at 10:30 a.m. in the meeting room near the mayor’s office. Council members discussed the recent trend of companies refusing to cover an employee’s spouse if the spouse can be covered by his or her employer.
  • Waszak said he would like to see the village pass ordinances to protect the night sky from light pollution. He said the Dark Sky Association promotes such legislation.

The next Richfield Village Council meeting is scheduled for Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. at Town Hall, 4410 W. Streetsboro Road.

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