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County Council committees back at work

8/14/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Ariel Hakim

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summit County Council returned Aug. 11 for committee meetings following a month-long break, with most committees considering a number of pieces of legislation.

The evening began with a second and final public hearing on the vacation of portions of Reserve and Fineview avenues in Copley, both “paper streets,” or unimproved right-of-ways.

At the first public hearing, Ralph Palmisano, attorney for property owner Paul Thomarios, noted the vacations would allow Thomarios to expand his business, potentially adding 25 to 30 new jobs in the community.

While no proponents nor opponents from the public spoke on the subject Monday, Joe Paradise, of the Summit County Engineer’s Office, noted his office concurs in general with the vacations and noted additional adjacent lands on Fineview Avenue for proposed vacation.

The Planning and Economic Development Committee later in the evening recommended Council adopt legislation approving the vacations as originally proposed.

Jason Dodson, chief of staff for the Summit County Executive’s Office, said the proposed legislation may be amended to include the additional lands prior to Council’s regular meeting next week and put it on second reading.

In other business, the Planning and Economic Development Committee recommended Council approve an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for removing the Interstate 77/Interstate 76 bridges over Spicer and Johnston streets in Downtown Akron.

Dodson said ODOT wants to make a mound where the bridges currently stand, which will be less expensive for the state to maintain.

The project involves creating cul-de-sac or dead ends for South, Spicer and Johnston streets, Dodson said.

The Rules Committee considered a single piece of legislation Monday, to amend Section 1345.02 of the county’s codified ordinances to provide a wider definition of “substantial damage” sustained from flooding. Dodson noted the change may open the door to more federal flood damage relief for homeowners.

The Public Safety Committee recommended Council adopt a purchase order for mandated sex offender notification cards from Watch Systems LLC for $40,000.

Bill Holland, of the Sheriff’s Office, said the contract represents a $15,000 increase from last year’s contract for the same service. Holland noted almost 1,200 sex offenders are currently living in Summit County, and that population moves frequently, which requires the mailings.

Also for the Sheriff’s Office, the committee recommended Council approve the purchase of two 2014 Ford Edges and two 2015 Ford Escapes for $89,700 from Montrose Ford for the Summit County Drug Unit.

Additionally, the committee recommended Council adopt legislation to go out for bid to purchase a Portable Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer for use by the Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Team for up to $153,800.

Summit County Emergency Management Agency Director Valerie DeRose said the device, which can detect  weapons of mass destruction, is to be purchased with a Homeland Security grant awarded last fall.

The Health and Human Services Committee considered several one-year service contracts for the Department of Job and Family Services to take effect Oct. 1, which were recommended for approval by the full Council. Those included:

  • United Way of Summit County, for Bridges Out of Poverty community education services, for $148,000;
  • Battered Women’s Shelter of Summit and Medina Counties, Child Guidance and Family Solutions and Community Legal Aid Services, for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) supportive service contracts, for $425,800;
  • Battered Women’s Shelter of Summit and Medina Counties, for homeless prevention services at various shelters, for $175,000; and
  • Asian Services In Action Inc., for onsite employment services for refugee clients, for $41,400.

The Public Works Committee that evening discussed and recommended Council adopt legislation to abandon an aging wastewater treatment plant in Reminderville and to connect to Twinsburg’s sanitary sewer system for treatment and disposal of wastewater. According to the legislation, the county would purchase capacity of 650,000 gallons per day from Twinsburg’s treatment plant for $1.9 million. The agreement does not require the facility to increase its capacity, which is now 5.8 million gallons per day, according to county officials.

That committee also recommended Council adopt a resolution to have the county enter an agreement to divide responsibility with the City of Fairlawn for maintaining roads and traffic signals on roads for which the county and the city share jurisdiction.

The agreement, which already has been approved by Fairlawn City Council, according to Heidi Swindell, of the County Engineer’s Office, divvies up responsibility for general maintenance, snow and ice control and traffic signals among the shared roads.

Among the items considered by the Finance Committee and recommended for approval by Council was a service contract with Official Payments for bankcard processing services for the Fiscal Office, Animal Control, Building Standards and Public Health for a five-year term. Dennis Menendez, of the Fiscal Office, said the agreement represents no cost to the county, as fees are charged to consumers based on the form of payment.

Council will next meet Aug. 18 at 4:30 p.m. for caucus, followed by a regular meeting in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, 175 S. Main St. in Downtown Akron.

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