KEY ACTION Mayor Richard Harbaugh’s tie-breaking vote resulted in passage of an ordinance allowing off-premise signs in the city.
DISCUSSION After a public hearing on an amendment to the city’s zoning code, council members were evenly split over an ordinance that lifts the ban on off-premise signs.
Robert “Skip” Blowers was the only one to comment at the hearing. Blowers wants to put an off-premise sign at Elm Ridge Avenue and Locust Street to advertise his and other businesses that are located on Elm Ridge and are easily missed by customers, because there is no sign to direct them off Locust.
With passage of the ordinance, off-premise signs will require a conditional-use permit approved by both the city’s planning commission and City Council. Voting in favor of the ordinance were council members Nellie Cihon, Scott Svab and Danny Losch. Opposed were Sue Mayberry, Linda Zahirsky and Paul Bagocius. Bagocius said he would have voted in favor if Blowers’ sign was only for directional purposes and would not include scrolling information advertising events at the Elm Ridge Avenue businesses.
• Agreed to move forward on buying tornado sirens to serve both the city and Lawrence Township. Total cost of the five sirens provided by Federal Signal is $140,000. Plans are to apply for a grant that would cover half the cost and then split the balance with the Lawrence Township trustees. Based on population served, the city’s share would be $28,000, and the township’s $42,000.
• Agreed to hold a Civil Service test to hire an entry level police officer.
• Heard that Ohio Edison hires Nelson Tree Service to trim trees around their power lines. Property owners are notified two to three weeks in advance of the trimming. Ohio Edison arranges meetings with property owners when extreme tree trimming is required and offers the option to remove the entire tree. If a property owner is dissatisfied with the trimming, Nelson will remove the tree at Ohio Edison’s expense.
Council has discussed this issue because city residents have expressed concerns over extreme tree trimming in other communities.
• After a public hearing at which no resident spoke, approved an ordinance that will allow privacy fencing in the city.
• Approved pay rates for fire department personnel. Probationary employees will earn the current minimum wage, and the fire inspector will be paid $12.61 an hour or his current rate based upon EMT certification level, whichever is greater.
• Agreed to pay R&M Home Improvement to do repairs to the St. Helena II canal boat at a cost of$6,200.
• Bought a 2013 Ford Expedition police cruiser from State Wide Ford for $28,046. Equipment will be installed at an additional cost of $11,350.
• Agreed to hire Big Tom’s Roofing to re-roof the Northwest Stark Senior Citizens’ Center for $24,187. The cost will be covered by a grant.
Page 2 of 2 - • Adjourned to executive session to discuss the employment of a public employee. Council conducted an interview of a candidate for financial director, but took no action after the executive session.
UP NEXT Meets at 7 p.m. June 4 at city hall.