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New Franklin council debates purchase of additional police body cameras

Carolynn Mostyn
Suburbanite correspondent

NEW FRANKLIN City Council asked for time to consider a resolution authorizing the city to apply for a Bureau of Justice Assistance Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation Policy and Grant for the purchase of six body cameras and travel expenditures for one police officer to attend a national meeting.

The grant is for 50 percent and includes the docking station for charging and the license needed. The cost of the six body cameras is $7,304.28 before the grant.

Sending an officer to the meeting would cost $3,500.

Councilman Jim Cotts said the department has 15 cameras of the same type for its 21 full and parttime officers. He said it would be nice to have a camera assigned to each officer so when there is a situation it is easier to get the video.

“I am always in favor of grants,” Cotts said. “In this case, I don’t know how much I am in favor of it,” Cotts said.

The grant is for 50 percent so that would be $5,406.75 and fee for writing the grant is $850 bringing the total to $6,256.75, a difference of $1,047 from purchasing the cameras without a grant. Cotts said the city would have to pay the salary of the officer going to the meeting as well as the officer replacing him.

Mayor Paul Adamson said that it was explained that the travel is locked into the grant and is relevant.

“We don’t have much of a budget for training,” he said. “This was a way to get some funding for training. I think there would be value to the training.”

Adamson said that it would likely be the captain going to the meeting so the chief would remain in the city.

“I do think we need the cameras and that even if it is a wash, we get the training,” Adamson said.

Finance Director Susan Cooke pointed out that there was a vote to apply for the grant. She said if the city receives the grant, trustees can decide at that time to take it or not.

Ultimately, council decided it would get more information on the training or national meeting as it is stated in the resolution.

Other business:

• Council waived three reads and approved a road project. The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) recommended the city go with Northstar at a cost of $785,859.80 to do the project.

“We are the lead agency and we are partnering with Green and ODOT is providing some of the funding,” Adamson said. “We have worked with Northstar before.”

The original projection for the cost of the project was $1.6 million. The highest bid came in at $1.12 million. The city’s projected share would have been $224,000 but will now be $84,885.

“It is quite a savings,” said Adamson.

• Adamson reported to the council members that the Ohio Public Works will not be funding the Kungle Road Bridge due to budget cuts.

“That has not been confirmed from Columbus,” he said. “We are continuing to investigate some other funding. It is a victim of COVID-19 and budget cuts,” he said.

Announcements:

• Weddings can begin at the Tudor House but strict guidelines must be followed to be compliant.

• Summit County Appraisers will be out looking at new construction or altered properties. This will be an outside evaluation and will be conducted between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.

• The rate of return for the census for Summit County is 69.8 percent. The city of Green is 74.6 percent and New Franklin is 76.8 percent. Questionnaires were dropped off last week for those individuals that have not yet completed the census.

The next regular meeting of the New Franklin City Council and Committees is scheduled for 6 p.m., June 17.