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Richfield trustees considering police, fire levies for future ballot

6/26/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Jeff Gorman

Richfield Township is facing a $143,000 shortfall for its police budget in 2015, the township trustees learned at the June 19 meeting.

Township Administrator Mindy Remec made the announcement after telling the trustees she and Fiscal Officer Laurie Pinney were working on the 2015 budget.

The township has a continuous police levy, Remec said, but it would need to be increased by the voters to cover the shortfall.

She added the township would need to meet an Aug. 6 Summit County Board of Elections deadline to get a police levy on the ballot.

Remec also said the fire/EMS levy will expire at the end of the year and would need to be renewed in November, or May 2015 at the latest, to avoid a shortfall.

Trustee Robert Luther suggested the fire levy go on the November ballot, but Trustee Janet Jankura said the trustees need to think about how many issues will face the voters in November.

The newly formed Joint Recreation District also would need to meet the Aug. 6 deadline if it wants to place a issue on the ballot to fund the purchase of the Crowell/Hilaka Girl Scout Camp.

Jankura and Trustee Jeff Shupe both said the township needed time to examine the issue before deciding what do next.

Also during the meeting, Summit County Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor John Galonski appeared at the meeting to answer some of the township officials’ questions about the Open Meetings Act. He said the “Sunshine Law” is posted on the Ohio Attorney General Office website.

Galonski said with a three-member board like the trustees, a telephone conversation or accidental meeting at the supermarket does not constitute an official meeting.

In such instances, the two trustees are allowed to gather information but not make decisions.

When two trustees attend a meeting of another board or Council, it can be “very dangerous,” according to Galonski.

“If they try to get a commitment from the township, that would be a problem,” he said. “If two of you go somewhere that the business of the township is discussed, it’s a very fine line.”

In other business:

  • Luther said speed bumps have been installed in the parking lot of Rising Valley Park.
    “Some people don’t like it, but it’s better than the road being closed off completely,” he said.
    Luther also said Richfield Village officials have contacted the township about the possibility of collaborating on the paving of Burrwood Drive in the Briarwood area.
  • Trustees agreed to apply for a grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission toward the repair of Hawkins Road.
    Remec said the project will cost $820,000 and the township is seeking a grant to cover 90 percent of the cost.
    “If we don’t get the grant, we can still try for a statewide small government grant,” she said.
    Remec also said she is working with Richfield Village Service Director Melanie Baker for the rollout of the new textile recycling program.
    In addition, Remec reported that Edge Sports Academy has made a $750 donation to Rising Valley Park. She said the soccer club was very complimentary of the work of Parks Superintendent Chris Eastwood.
  • Jankura said she will meet with Richfield Village officials in late June or early July to discuss the proposed annexation of the 125 acres in the Briarwood area.
  • Before the meeting, the trustees conducted a public hearing on the proposed consolidation of the township’s four commercial zones into one zone.
    The new Commercial district includes six parcels of land covering 49 acres, according to Pinney, who is also zoning inspector.
    Four of the parcels are vacant. The others are the Thorson Baker & Associates office building on Streetsboro Road and the gas station on Wheatley Road.
    Hearing no objections, the trustees approved the consolidation. Jankura thanked Pinney and the Zoning Commission for their work on the rezoning.

The trustees canceled their July 3 meeting. Their next meeting will take place July 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the township offices, located behind the fire station on West Streetsboro Road.

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