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County Council OKs transportation district

1/9/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summit County Council approved Jan. 6 the formation of a countywide Transportation Improvement District (TID) that will allow the county to seek funding for projects from the state.

According to Jason Dodson, chief of staff for County Executive Russ Pry, TIDs currently exist in 12 other Ohio counties, including Stark and Medina. TIDs have been an option for counties since 1993, he added.

TIDS are entities created under Ohio Revised Code that can be used as a hub to bring in public and private investment in order to bring new infrastructure projects or infrastructure improvements to the county, Dodson said.

“In Montgomery and Butler counties, the TIDs bring in money for interchanges, to develop land or put a road in an area previously not developed or underdeveloped,” he said.

He added that county officials have said that the TID could be helpful in developing areas of Norton and Barberton that have open land near highways.

Now that Council has approved the TID, board members must be appointed. According to the legislation, the board will consist of five voting members appointed by Pry and confirmed by County Council, one nonvoting member who is appointed by the speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, and one nonvoting member appointed by the president of the Ohio Senate.

Once the board is set, members will meet to consider projects and prioritize them, Dodson said. By September, the board must submit a list of projects to the state. He added that last year the state provided $3.5 million in funding for projects.

Also during Council’s meeting, members adopted on first reading a resolution authorizing an agreement between the county and The University of Akron for a joint Peace Officer Training Academy for this year.

According to Inspector Bill Holland, of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, this is the first time for the combined effort. Because the Sheriff’s Office’s own training academy was seeing a decline in enrollment, Holland said this collaboration would be a good solution. The first class is planned to begin next week with 30 cadets, he added.

Sheriff’s Office personnel will teach the class, which means they also will have firsthand knowledge of some potential new hires, Holland said.

Council also adopted on first reading a resolution authorizing a contract with the Akron Area YMCA to provide instructors through the University Park branch for fitness classes on site at the Ohio Building for county employees. Previously, the county contracted with Akron General Medical Center for the instructors, according to Deb Matz, director of Law, Insurance and Risk Management.

In addition, Council adopted on first reading a resolution allowing an amendment to the collective bargaining agreement among Local No. 2696 and Ohio Council 8 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO and the county for employees of Job and Family Services. The contract will allow employees to receive a 1.5 percent raise for the third year of their contract, which is in effect this year.

Introduced to Council during the meeting was the annual resolution regarding the county’s Capital Improvements Program. The resolution, which must be adopted by Council by Feb. 15, will appropriate $8.3 million for projects this year.

In other business, Council also met for its organizational meeting Jan. 2. Approved unanimously as president for 2014 was Ilene Shapiro (D-at large), of West Akron, while Sandra Kurt (D-at large), of West Akron, was unanimously approved as vice president.

County Council will meet for committee meetings Jan. 13 at 4:30 p.m. in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, 175 S. Main St.

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