HARTVILLE Village employees returned to regular hours on May 11 and in-person board of zoning appeals and planning commission meetings resumed begining on May 12.

This following a village council approved motion at council’s May 5 regular meeting. The move coincides with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s lifting of stay-at-home rules for certain business, effective May 1.

In order to increase social distancing, BZA and planning meetings were canceled at the start of the Ohio stay-at-home order, due to the COVID-19 virus.

Likewise, administration, street department, and waste water treatment plant employees have been working staggered schedules, with staffs split between those working the first half of a given week and the remainder working the second half of the week, since the Governor’s order.

“We have done well with nobody getting sick and with the new rules, we are keeping everybody safe,” Mayor Cynthia Billings said. “But we are starting to do more work (like) yard work and (road) patching.”

Councilwoman Bev Green asked if the return to normal work hours would still comply with the rules of DeWine’s stay-at-home order.

Billings replied that, due to the duties of Street Department and waste water treatment plant employees, “staying at home didn’t affect their jobs.” She added that all suggested safety measures, such as continued social distancing and wearing masks, will be adhered to.

The May 12 planning commission meeting will be the first held in person at village hall since the stay-at-home order was put in place. However, in-person meetings for the foreseeable future must be limited to no more than 10 people inside village hall at one time.

Village Solicitor Ron Starkey said he could foresee a process where residents who wish to speak at a given meeting could wait inside their vehicles until summoned to come inside, one at a time.

Other actions

• Councilwoman and parks and recreation committee chair, Elizabeth Williams, announced the cancellation of the village’s annual Memorial Day ceremony due to safety concerns related to COVID-19. Placing of wreaths at veterans’ gravesites and other ceremonial decorations are still being planned.

• Council approved the village’s 2020 mosquito spraying contract with the Stark County Health Department, at a cost of $42 per mile sprayed. Billings said this is an increase of $6.72 per mile over the 2019 spraying contract.

• A transfer of $50,000 from the general fund to the streets construction, maintenance and repair fund for normal operations costs through June was approved.