South Side News & Notes
Coventry moving ahead with larger fire, EMS levy
COVENTRY — Coventry Township is experiencing a significant decrease in revenue to operate its fire department, and township officials decided to seek additional support from residents this November to maintain the current level of safety services.
At a special Coventry Board of Trustees meeting June 24, trustees approved a resolution requesting Summit County Fiscal Officer Kristen Scalise certify the revenue that would be generated from a 4.65-mill fire/EMS levy renewal and an increase of 3.1 mills, said Chairman David Calderone.
He said the board intends to place a 7.75-mill fire and EMS levy before voters on the Nov. 4 General Election ballot, as the current levy is expiring.
If approved, Calderone said the levy would generate about $1.8 million for safety services in the township.
He said fire department revenues have decreased by almost $500,000 in the past five years. The reason for the reductions include the loss of a Federal Emergency Management Agency SAFER Grant, which supported part-time staffing; a reduction in property values; and a significant drop in revenue from the state, Calderone reported.
Due to these losses, the board also agreed not to replace a current full-time vacancy within the department and to cut the funding by 50 percent for part-time staffing, Calderone said. This will allow the department to be staffed with only part-time employees for half of the shifts, he said.
If voters pass the levy, Calderone said the fire department would be “self-sufficient” in its dedicated revenue sources and would not need to utilize revenue from the township’s General Fund.
He said the General Fund dollars, about $200,000, once directed to the fire department would go to the Road Department for the road resurfacing and ditching program.
Calderone added the board has been holding special meetings to continue to develop a comprehensive financial plan for Coventry, with a goal to maintain the services provided.
“We have been evaluating the township’s long-term financial status over its four basic primary areas of services that the township provides: policing, fire and EMS, roads and parks, and general services,” he said.
The board’s next regular meeting is set for July 10 at 7 p.m. at Coventry Town Hall, 68 Portage Lakes Drive.
Trustees host special meeting
SPRINGFIELD — During a special Springfield Board of Trustees meeting June 19, officials focused on storm water management.
In cooperation with Lakemore Village officials, trustees authorized the road superintendent to apply for District 8 Public Works funds to replace the Springfield outlet control device for more effective storm water management of the Springfield Lake watershed.
Springfield Lake is surrounded by the township on one side and the village on the other. The lake is used for recreational purposes, but also to control flooding, according to township officials.
In other business, trustees authorized a “tentative agreement” with the International Association of Fire Fighters Local No. 3040, effective Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2016. No details of the agreement were available at presstime.
Also at the meeting, trustees approved a purchase order from Environmental Design Group for $7,370 in invoices for expenses related to the planning of the Spartan Trail. The item had been tabled at a previous meeting.
Trustees also accepted the resignation of park summer laborer Kenneth Mackey, effective June 20, and hired Tyler Feciuch as his replacement, effective June 23, on a schedule to be determined by the parks director, and not to exceed 40 hours in one week.
Another special trustees’ meeting took place yesterday, June 26, and details from that meeting will be in next week’s edition. The next regular meeting is scheduled for July 10 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, 2459 Canfield Road.
New Summit County deputy director named
SUMMIT COUNTY — Former Barberton Mayor Robert Genet is the new deputy director of the Summit County Department of Community and Economic Development.
Genet replaces Patrick Bravo, who was recently named executive director of the Summit County Land Bank. Genet’s annual salary will be $85,010, and his job began June 23, said county officials.
Genet served as mayor of Barberton from January 2008 through December 2011. Prior to that, he was a member of Barberton City Council, serving as Council president. As a member of the Barberton Community Development Corporation (BCDC) and Barberton Community Foundation, he was actively engaged in advancing economic opportunities for city residents, according to County Executive Russ Pry’s office.
“Bob Genet has a proven track record when it comes to economic and community development,” said Connie Krauss, director of Community and Economic Development.
While mayor of Barberton, Genet also worked on the consolidation of three local health departments to create Summit County Public Health, according to Pry’s office.
“Bob Genet brought divergent parties to the table, and through a measured and patient process, created consensus,” Pry said.
County officials begin sales tax campaign
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Supporters of a 0.25 percent sales and use tax increase to appear on the Nov. 4 General Election ballot kicked off their campaign with a press conference June 24.
Summit County Executive Russ Pry and Summit County Sheriff Steve Barry announced co-chairs of Citizens for a Safe and Successful Summit County, the campaign’s support arm, include Drew Alexander, retired county sheriff; Dan Colantone, president and CEO, Greater Akron Chamber; Bill Considine, CEO and president, Akron Children’s Hospital; Pat Darrow, secretary and treasurer, Teamster Local No. 348; Joe Kanfer, CEO and chairman, GOJO; Kyle Kutuchief, Torchbearers and director of development, ABIA; Tim Ochsenhirt, former managing partner, Roetzel & Andress; Katherine Procop, mayor, City of Twinsburg; Judge Mary Spicer, retired; state Rep. Vernon Sykes (D-District 34); and John Wagner, retired, Tri-County Labor Council and Barberton City Council.
Also, endorsements so far are from Greater Akron Chamber, AFSCME Local No. 1229, Summit County Fire Chiefs’ Association, Summit County Mayors of the Mayors Association of Portage, Stark and Summit Counties, Pry’s office announced.
Funds from the sales tax increase would provide revenue for essential improvements in public safety, necessary repairs to public buildings and an 8,500-seat county arena, according to county officials.
Barry and Alexander said the time has come to provide additional revenue to ensure that the Summit County Jail is safe for deputies, inmates and the community as a whole and that police, fire and first responders throughout Summit County have radio and dispatch systems that are fully functional and reliable.
“Also important is the ability of the arena project to create jobs, attract and retain both young professionals and business to the county and continue a downtown revitalization that sends positive ripples throughout the whole county,” said Pry. “This tax increase will enable us to be a safer, more successful community — a community where young talent will want to stay and where young talent will want to live.”
Police suspect five deaths related to bad heroin
AKRON — At least five people have died in Akron after taking what police believe is a “bad batch” of heroin, Akron Police Department (APD) officials announced last week.
Capt. Michael Shearer, commander of the APD’s Narcotics Unit, said several other people recently were treated in local hospitals after taking heroin but survived.
On June 17, two suspected victims, a 31-year-old Schiller Avenue man and a 58-year-old Florida man, were found dead. Three other heroin-related deaths also were reported in Akron over the last two weeks, according to APD officials.
The APD is working with the Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board (ADM) on dealing with the increase of heroin overdoses and deaths.
It has not yet been determined why the current rash of heroin deaths has taken place, APD officials stated in the release. There may have been a deadly item added to the heroin, or the quality of the heroin may be the cause.
Police are warning drug users not to take heroin procured in the past few weeks.
They also advise if you or someone you know is addicted to opiates or heroin, help is available 24 hours a day by calling the ADM Crisis Center at 330-996-7730.
Ariel Hakim, Stephanie Kist and Maria Lindsay contributed to these reports.
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