Some members of City Council have concerns following last year’s chip and seal program throughout New Franklin.
During the Jan. 16 council meeting, council approved to obtain the 422 paving chip and seal program services under the Summit County Engineer’s bid.
Mayor Paul Adamson said this doesn’t commit the city to any amount, it just includes it in the county’s bid. He said the city is looking to spend about what it did last year, which was about $273,000.
Councilman Jim Cotts said he has concerns following the work done last year and wasn’t happy with the amount of chips on the side of the road.
“I felt then and feel now we are not getting a quality product,” Cotts said. “If they (the chips) are not on the road, what good are they?”
He said he believes the city wasted money last year.
“It is a complete waste of money,” Cotts said.
Adamson said it is unclear if the county will use the same contractor again this year as it depends on who the bid is awarded to. He said New Franklin cannot afford to not do anything with the roads for a year.
Councilwoman Andrea Norris agrees with Cotts that the chip and seal was too thin of a layer and that someone needs to call the contractor out on it.
Adamson said he would pass on council’s concerns to the county.
Resident Jeff Partsch said chip and seal is just a temporary fix and said eventually roads are going to need paved. He said he remembers the city stating chip and seal was only something it would do short term because of finances and eventually the city would return to paving.
In other business Jan. 16, council:
– Heard a presentation from Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) Community Outreach Manager Tony Ramos about a do not knock program. He said they can provide this program to the city at no cost if council approves it. Residents can go online or call to be added to the list. The list applies to all for-profit soliciting, non-profit is not included. When someone comes to the city to get a permit to solicit, the do not knock list will be given to them. Those who sign up also get two window clings, which show they are on the list. So far NOPEC has 12 communities involved in the program and is expected to provide sample legislation to City Council.
– Approved for the city to enter into an agreement with inSITE Advisory Group LLC to serve as planning consultant for New Franklin. Adamson said the city has been working with the group since 2014. He said the company has done a nice job for the city.
– Approved to modify and adopt compensation rates for probationary part-time firefighters/paramedics. Adamson said the city continues to have a hard time retaining part-time firefighters and paramedics. He said much of the reason is because of the pay scale. When someone is brought in, they come in at a training rate and then a probationary rate for a year. Currently, the probationary rate is $12 per hour. Most areas average is much higher rate and the increase will pay firefighters $13.50 per hour during the probationary rate and firefighters/paramedics $14.50 per hour. Councilman Andrew Fetternman said he believes it could still be too low to attract people. Cotts noted how critical firefighters are and how much people count on them in times of need. Adamson said he believes this increase will help the city be more competitive with other areas.
– Approved a credit card policy for the city. The state adopted new law and the city was required to pass this. Adamson said the new policy is very consistent to what is already in place.
– Discussed changing the zoning classification of eight parcels of property from B-1 (light commercial) to B-2 (heavy commercial). The parcels are located near Center Road and Manchester Road as plans call for a motorcycle rehab facility. A public hearing will take place during the Feb. 20 council meeting.
– Heard from Adamson about short-term rentals. He said he is hopeful Green, New Franklin and Coventry Township could all get together and put something together to address the issue.
The next New Franklin Council meeting is set to begin immediately following the committee meetings, which are scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 6 at New Franklin City Hall.
This story was also published in The Suburbanite. www.thesuburbanite.com