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Fairlawn Council honors, pays tribute to two members

12/19/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

During the Dec. 16 Fairlawn City Council meeting, city officials took the opportunity to say goodbye to one long-standing member of Council, while also paying honor to a former Council member and finance director who died this past summer.

Friends and family members of Jerry Apple, who died July 26 at age 69, attended the meeting to hear the reading of a resolution “expressing the sorrow and sympathy of the administration and the Council of the city of Fairlawn” regarding his passing.

Apple was elected to Fairlawn City Council in 1995 and later served as the city’s finance director, a position he held until this year.

During the meeting, Apple’s career with the city was honored by those who worked alongside him, including Mayor William Roth, Council President Russ Sharnsky (at large), Council Vice President Bryan Nace (Ward 3), Councilwoman Susan Sullivan (Ward 5) and Jim Swartz, a former member of Council.

“He was always a pleasure to work with, and he never drew attention to himself,” Roth said. “He was an individual I do miss. He was a great friend and a treasure to know.”

Among the family at the meeting was Apple’s son, Mike Apple.

“He loved this place. He loved all of you,” he said. “This is a true honor for him and for my family. I appreciate the fact that you guys thought enough to do something for him.”

The Dec. 16 meeting also marked Ward 1 Councilman James Butler’s final meeting as a member of Fairlawn City Council. Like Apple, Butler was elected in 1995.

“My next-door neighbor, Larry ‘Buzz’ Pelland, was the finance director, and he convinced Jerry Apple and me to run for Council to fill two vacancies,” he said. “Jerry lived across the street, and we both ran unopposed that first year for a two-year term. I had no intention of running for office before Pelland asked me and Jerry to fill those vacancies. … Jerry was elected to Council at large and I was elected to Ward 1.”

Butler said he chose not to run for re-election this year due to health issues.

“I have problems with my heart and cancer. You name it and I’ve got it,” he said. “I figured there are times when I would not be able to show up for a Council meeting, and there are a lot of younger men who could take my place — like my neighbor, Rick [Herbert]. He volunteered to succeed me, and I think the city’s in good hands when it comes to Ward 1.”

As for his future plans, Butler said he is “just going to be retired.”

“I’m going to lick my wounds — all the problems I have — and I’m going to join a health club to try to restore my health,” he said. “I’m 81 years old, and somebody who is 81 should turn it over to someone who is much younger.”

Also at the meeting, a resolution acknowledging an economic development project of the Giant Eagle supermarket at 3750 W. Market Street passed by a 6-1 vote.

According to Fairlawn Law Director Ed Riegler, that Giant Eagle location currently holds C2 and C2X liquor permits, and the company is looking for D1 and D2 permits, which would allow Giant Eagle to expand its beer and wine department into “a wine-tasting, beer-tasting, food-preparing type of atmosphere.” Before transferring the permits, the Ohio Division of Liquor Control is requiring the city of Fairlawn to acknowledge in writing the liquor permit transfer would constitute an “economic development project.”

Councilwoman Barbara Potts (Ward 2), who cast the dissenting vote, said she did not feel the project fit those parameters.

“To get this liquor license, it’s supposed to be for economic development, and mainly it’s just for their bottom line,” she said. “If they hire somebody — and they said maybe they would hire five people — it would be under 30 hours. So that’s part time, with no benefits. It will be minimum wage, and they’d have to be over 21, because they would be serving beer and wine. The purpose for this kind of liquor license is for economic development, and what they’re planning to do, I don’t see as an economic development for Fairlawn.”

Roth said the expansion of Giant Eagle’s beer and wine department is part of the store’s overall economic development plan.

“Giant Eagle is investing over half a million dollars in new infrastructure in their store,” he said. “This is part of their remodel, and they’re investing in the property itself. So it’s part of their business growth, and Giant Eagle has invested very heavily in our community.”

A resolution authorizing the mayor to prepare and complete plans, specifications, cost estimates and obtain bids for the 2014 street repair program also was approved by a 6-1 vote.

“The estimated road repair for next year is about $1.47 million,” the mayor said.

Councilwoman Kathleen Baum (Ward 6) said she voted against the measure because it did not include any work on Stratford Road.

“It’s the worst street in the entire city, and it needs to be repaired,” she said. “It’s been put on the backburner again. I was promised that it would be one of the top five, and it did not turn out to be on the list. … There are streets that are being remilled or repaved or something that are not in as bad of condition as Stratford is.”

Roth said the streets that will be repaired in 2014 were selected by a process that includes an inspection by the city engineer, the service director and himself.

“It all depends on age, condition of the infrastructure and several other issues,” he said. “We have the entire city to do, and the work is spread throughout the different wards. We normally budget about a million and a half [dollars] for the road program. This was fully discussed at last week’s [Council] committee meeting.”

According to the mayor, Stratford Road is scheduled to be done in 2015, provided “the money holds up.”

“We’re actually completing a program that’s been going on for quite a while,” he said. “And in 2015, we plan to do Stratford.”

Council unanimously passed an ordinance amending and/or supplementing a section of the city’s codified ordinances titled “sale of surplus city property.”

“This will allow the service director to sell the three police vehicles that have been replaced with new ones. These vehicles will be sold with their police package, and as a result we need to amend the section allowing these vehicles to be sold to the general public, but to a specific general public,” Riegler explained. “That would be either to another political subdivision or to a hospital that has a police department that has been sanctioned by the state of Ohio.”

Deputy Service Director Ernie Staten said the vehicles will be advertised in the West Side Leader for two consecutive weeks and on the city’s website at www.cityoffairlawn.com.

Council also unanimously approved the following:

  • resolutions confirming the following three-year re-appointments from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2016: Mary Gardner and Thomas Luck, Archives and Artifacts Historical Commission; and Robert Donatelli, Tax Review Board;
  • resolutions confirming the following five-year re-appointments from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2018: Todd Stock, Board of Zoning and Building Appeals; Anthony Livick, Environmental Services Commission; Keri-Ann Kalavity, Parks and Recreation Board; Sharon Brustoski, Real Property Maintenance Board; and Jan Cook, Planning Commission; and
  • a resolution confirming the reappointment of Jeffrey Dawson to the Civil Service Commission for a six-year term from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2019.

“The quality of life in Fairlawn is greatly enhanced by individuals like these stepping forward and serving,” Roth said. “We appreciate what they do.”

The next Council meeting is set to take place Jan. 6 at 6:30 p.m. at Fairlawn City Hall, 3487 S. Smith Road.

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