NEW FRANKLIN The city of New Franklin will be considering adopting T-21 in the city, which would prohibit tobacco sales to anyone under 21.
During the May 2 council meeting, council heard a presentation from Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda who said the goal is to get the youth not to smoke and eliminate that peer group. She said vaping is also included in T-21 because it is not FDA approved.
"We don’t know what is in those vaping liquids," Skoda said.
Recently, the city of Akron approved the change joining other cities such as Columbus and Cleveland. Skoda said there have been some rumors depending on who becomes the next governor, it could be on the ballot as a statewide issue.
Skoda said she would love for New Franklin to consider adopting T-21. She said the change, if approved in New Franklin, would add no burden to the police. She also said while T-21 states it is illegal for a vendor to sell tobacco to anyone under 21, it doesn’t take away the right of someone under 21 using tobacco.
There aren’t too many vendors that sell tobacco in New Franklin, as Skoda said about 50 percent of the county vendors are in the city of Akron. She said Summit County Council is also working to develop something on T-21, which would be for the townships in the county.
Vendors are given warnings before being fined, Skoda said, but the goal isn’t to fine them.
"Our goal is to work with them to be in compliance," Skoda said.
She said there has been support for T-21 from some of the big box stores, along with the military.
Councilman Jim Cotts said he finds it odd that those under 21 can’t buy it, but can smoke it.
Skoda said 2 percent of tobacco sales account for those under 21, but those sales produce 90 percent of new smokers. She also said those who have not used tobacco by age 21 are unlikely to ever start.
Mayor Paul Adamson said he will be talking with council to see if they would be interested in passing something related to T-21.
In other business May 2, council:
- Discussed establishing permit fees for athletic fields in the city. Adamson said the city has been discussing for a number of years how much to charge. He said the charges were drawn up by the Parks Commission. He also said he is proud of the fields the city has and how nicely maintained they are. The city has a part-time employee who takes care of them. Cotts raised the question of charging the school district to use the fields. Adamson said from his understanding the schools have no problem with the prices.
- Discussed the list of roads to be included in the Summit County Engineer’s paving chip and seal program for this year. Councilman Andrew Fetterman said several streets on the list are near his home and aren’t in that bad of shape. He would like to see some other roads done instead. Adamson said he will talk with the Road Department about making changes. Cotts also said he noticed some of the roads that were just done last year have lost a lot of gravel already. He wants to make sure the city is getting a good service for the price being charged. The city is also looking into the list of roads that will receive striping from the county.
- Discussed an agreement for the purchase and installation of a fire alarm system for the City Administration Building. Adamson said the building doesn’t have one and needs one. He said the city talked with a couple providers and plans to look into the cost and if there would be any monthly fee to maintain it.
- Heard from business owner Wendy Wightman, from Wightman’s Landscaping, about lowering the speed limit on Manchester Road. She said the company often has trucks backing in and cars are going around them as the trucks are trying to back in. She also has concerns with how fast cars are traveling and would like to see changes made. Adamson said he would look into the issue and would like to talk with other business owners along Manchester Road. He said maybe some sort of signage could also be put up.
- Heard from Adamson who said he is working on several things including exploring upgrading the dispatch building. The state has new requirements and the city will have to make changes to remain a primary dispatch center. He said he is also looking at launching a Facebook page for the city and upgrades are planned for the city website.
The next New Franklin Council meeting is set to begin immediately following the committee meetings, which are scheduled for 6 p.m. May 16 at New Franklin City Hall.