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Lakemore administrator touts improvements

Carolynn Mostyn
Suburbanite correspondent

LAKEMORE  Village Administrator Tracy Fast presented a report updating council on positive improvements during the Jan. 4 council meeting.

Village of Lakemore

Fast said grant funds have been used toward paving multiple village roads, replacing water lines, improving storm water system on Lakeview Street, inspecting the sanitary and storm sewer systems, replacing all the guard rails and they have begun replacing street signs.

Fast said the Department of Public Services has been working on reditching throughout the village and is working toward reaching the goal of digging existing ditches deeper and wider in an attempt to keep the storm water from going into Springfield Lake. New ditches will be added, and engineers are working to create retention areas. She said storm water has many nutrients that do fuel algae.

Storm water work will begin soon and, once the weather breaks, paving will begin of Sanitarium Road. Engineers are beginning to look at more roads to be paved, including Flickinger.

Mayor Richard Cole said good things are happening and he thanked council and the residents. He said the village received an unexpected grant in the amount of $45,000. The grant is earmarked for work on the bathrooms and concession stand at the park.

In other business, council:

• Approved a resolution that allows for the mayor and the village administrator to apply for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to improve the storm sewers on First and Second streets. The mayor is authorized to advertise for bids, accept bids and approve contracts for this project. The resolution was declared to be an emergency and council members dispensed with the three reads as the application is due Jan. 21.

• Approved a resolution accepting the resignation of Richard Morrison from the Lakemore Police Department.

First reads or resolutions and ordinances slated to be approved at the Feb. 1 meeting included:

• A resolution confirming the mayor’s appointments of Anne Snyder, Laura Cochran, two members from the fire department and Clarence Bittner as board members of the Volunteer Fire Fighters’ Dependents Fund for 2021.

• An ordinance to amend the pay scale for the Lakemore Fire Department. The ordinance increases the pay scale of the assistant fire chief, captain, lieutenant and firemedics throughout the years of 2021, 2022 and 2023.

• An ordinance creating step raises for the Lakemore Police Department, including for new or part-time patrolmen hired after Jan. 1, 2021; step 2 during year two for part-time, step 3 for those three year part time patrolmen, step 4 for those part-time patrolmen who have completed the previous three steps. Step five of the pay schedule for year five and all future years, part-time patrolman, part-time officers, full-time officers, and administrative staff will be determined annually by the financial status of the village.

• An ordinance for a pay scale for the Department of Public Services (DOPS). Steps as for the foreman, full-time water operator, full-time laborer, part-time laborer and the full-time assistant to the village administrator were laid out in the legislation. Each of those employees will earn a two percent increase for the first pay earned in 2022 and 2023.

• An ordinance to amend previous policies and procedures manual by creating the position of part-time assistant to the village fiscal officer.

Other business:

• President Pro-tempore for 2021 Laura Cochran spoke about 2020 and all though there were negative things happening with COVID-19, she brought up the positive things that happened.

• The fire department had 150 calls more than the year before and added officers, three new paramedics and obtained grants. The department completed fire inspections on all Lakemore businesses.

• Crime was reported to be down in 2020 and major improvements were made on the police dog kennel including drainage. Portage Lakes Career Center students built a shed to house the dog supplies. Cochran said the village is happy to be working with Springfield Township on the dog program and have returned many dogs to their owners. In the police department, it has had five new hires and a promotion to rank of captain.

• Cochran said the village had a record-breaking year at Fill A Cruiser and although the Share a Christmas program was different this year, volunteers were able to make the holiday day brighter for local families.

Announcements:

• The food pantry continues to operate and please continue to bring your cardboard to the bins behind the Lakemore United Methodist Church.

• Cole said this is the centennial year of the village and officials are beginning to plan some festivities but are not sure what, at this time, they can be due to COVID-19.

“We are hoping we have plenty of celebrations,” he said.

• Children are back in school both virtually and in the buildings and the free lunches are available at the high school from 11 a.m. to noon.

• Council thanked cable channel 1023 for their hard work throughout the year. They record all of the meetings and they are available on Spectrum channel 1023 for the public to view.

• Cochran said Cole just finished his first year as mayor and that it has been a challenging year but, he has made improvements to the village.

"It takes a village," Cole said. "We have had a lot of hurdles. Thank you (council members) for doing the right things.”

• Cole announced he gave out seven spirit awards for Christmas decorations this year and plans to continue the awards throughout the year for a variety of things.

• Cochran and councilman Jon Strittmatter were nominated as president pro tempore but Strittmatter declined due to his work schedule he could not put the time in to full fill the position properly.

• Council went into executive session pending eminent court actions as they relate to certain property.  No action was taken after the session.

The next regular council meeting will be held virtually at 7 p.m., Jan. 19, virtually.