March 2, 2020 - Meeting Minutes

MARCH 2, 2020
7:00 P.M.
Brewster Village Council met in regular session with Mayor Chuck Hawk presiding.
Council Members bowed their heads for the invocation provided by Clerk-Treasurer
Kris King followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Charles Hawk, Mayor
Dale Fox, Council Member                           Andrew Hess, Council Member                 
Thomas Hilliard, Council Member             Brett Long, Council Member                                      
Sydney Radich, Council Member                               Mike Schwab, Council Member
John Anthony, Solicitor                                  Kris King, Clerk-Treasurer
Michael L Miller, Village Administrator
Mayor Chuck Hawk asked if there were any additions or deletions to the February 18, 2020 Council meeting minutes.
COUNCIL MEMBER HILLIARD MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER FOX and motion carried to accept the minutes as presented.  The vote: All yes.
COUNCIL MEMBER SCHWAB MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER LONG and motion carried to accept the bills in the amount of $769,964.61.  The vote: All yes.
Ray Heitger was in attendance.
CONSIDERATION OF ORDINANCES:  Titles of each read by Solicitor John Anthony
ORDINANCE 13-2020: An Ordinance Authorizing an Application for Safe Routes to School Funding was given third reading.
COUNCIL MEMBER FOX MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER SCHWAB and motion carried to pass the legislation as read.  The vote: All yes.
ORDINANCE 14-2020: An Ordinance Establishing Permanent Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2020 was given third reading.
Second Reading: An Ordinance Expressing the Intent of the Brewster Village Council to Sell Property on the Internet.
Second Reading: An Ordinance Authorizing an Agreement with the Brewster-Sugarcreek Historical Society for an Emergency Shelter. 
ORDINANCE 15-2020:  An Ordinance Authorizing the Village Administrator to Prepare Specifications and Advertise for Bids for the 2020 Paving Program and Declaring an Emergency was given first reading.
VA Miller stated that the pavement ratings are back and the village has about $150,000 to spend on streets in 2020.  There will be work completed on Chestnut, Muskingum, Grant, 2nd Street, and Walhonding.  If we are able to get Municipal Road Funds (MRF), 6th St SE and Chessie Place may also get some attention.  East Main is still getting paved with OPWC funds.
COUNCIL MEMBER FOX MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER SCHWAB and motion carried to suspend the rule requiring three separate readings and bring the legislation forward for passage.  The vote: All yes.
COUNCIL MEMBER FOX MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER RADICH and motion carried to pass the legislation as read.  The vote: All yes.
Intro from the Mayor: First Reading: A Resolution Establishing a Water Debt Fund for the Payment of Loans in the Village of Brewster.
First Reading: A Resolution Establishing an Electric Debt Fund for the Payment of Loans in the Brewster Electric Utility.
First Reading: A Resolution Establishing a Repayment Schedule for the $70,000 Advance to the Fire Equipment Fund from the General Fund.
First Reading: An Ordinance Reestablishing Quarterly Transfers from the General Fund.
ORDINANCE 16-2020: A Resolution to Accept the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Declaring an Emergency was given first reading.
Solicitor Anthony explained the need for this to be under emergency.  He stated that this was how we settle the litigation against the pharmaceutical companies.  There was a Canton Repository article that presents a hypothetical based upon a settlement of one billion dollars, but the issues are more complicated.  This has to do with the opioid litigation currently pending in the USDC northern district of Ohio.  Cases are actually on appeal, so it is not clear what the path forward is at this point.  However, the Atty General (AG), state auditor, and Governor are attempting to consolidate the parties to reach a settlement and manage it.  The MOU sets out the plan.  The AG and auditor called a meeting in Columbus of parties and others interested.  This is where they came up with the MOU they sent to everyone.  The scare is that Cuyahoga and Summit have obtained huge judgments and the State of New York is scheduled for trial in May and Solicitor Anthony believes they are expecting a huge verdict.  This may lead to multiple filings of bankruptcies of the pharmaceutical manufacturers. One - Perdue has already filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Wait too long the well runs dry.  The State is a party to the case and wishes to be lead on this case. They advised at the Columbus meeting that they have the authority to take over the litigation and exclude local entities and make the distributions if any, through legislation.  They are asking for approval to allow this group to direct and settle the litigation.  Distribution of funds to local entities will be as established in the MOU.  They need to act now because the case is set for trial soon and there is a fear that the companies will file bankruptcy and there won’t be anything left for funds to pay the judgments.  The MOU proposes 30% to go to local governments along with an escrow fund covering 55% to be used by local governments to apply for abatement remedies in their municipality.  Localities may receive restitution for past monies paid by fire and police in what amounts to past abatement expenditures (Narcan, etc.).  The fear is the well may go dry sooner rather than later.
COUNCIL MEMBER SCHWAB MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER RADICH and motion carried to suspend the rule requiring three separate readings and bring the legislation forward for passage.  The vote: All yes.
COUNCIL MEMBER SCHWAB MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER RADICH and motion carried to pass the legislation as read.
Council Member Hilliard stated he would like to see the paving project plans completed earlier next year so the bidding ordinance does not have to be passed under emergency.
Third Reading: An Ordinance Authorizing a Contract for the Sale of the Village’s Existing 69 KV Transmission Facilities and the Establishment of a Second 69 KV Interconnection was given third reading.
A. FIRE DEPARTMENT:  Chief Chris Colucy (excused)
  1. February calls = 54, Year-to-date calls = 120
  2. Council Member fOX was at an accident were the fireman were directing traffic and had a hard time seeing the hands of the flagger.  He wondered if there brighter gloves they could be wearing or if they could use flashlights for better visibility.
B. POLICE DEPARTMENT: Chief Creter (excused)
  1. Nothing to report.
  1. Solicitor Anthony, VA Miller, Council Member Schwab, and Mayor Hawk worked together on the JEDD agreement.  He emailed council a draft.  They will meet again this evening to continue to hammer out the details.
  2. Solicitor Anthony approved the Fire Department contracts for the Fire Building Expansion.  It appears we are going to have to do some searching for the deed.
  3. Council Member Schwab attended the Law Seminar and the 5G right-of-ways were discussed.  The FCC is coming down with new laws that will trump all the work we did several years ago.  We can pass legislation that would require the communication companies to use existing poles but there are minimal rules we can enforce.
  1. The 2020 Governmental Law Seminar will be held Saturday, February 29th at 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM at Sippo Lake.  Solicitor Anthony stated there will be some nice topics and a good nuisance abatement session.
  2. The Ohio Municipal League for newly elected council members seminar will be Saturday, April 4th in Independence, Ohio.
  3. Harr-Reese Post #160 is asking for support to send a young man to Boys’ State this year.  A sponsorship is $325.
  4. Stark County General Health District’s Annual District meeting will be held Thursday, March 5, 2020.
Administrator’s report for period 2/19/2020 thru 3/2/2020:
  • 2020 Paving Project. I have forwarded the Final Pavement Condition Ratings (PCRs) that were completed by OHM Engineering. It includes estimated costs for the streets I am recommending be included in the 2020 Brewster Paving Project. After meeting with Clerk-Treasurer King, the budget for 2020 is $150,000. The following streets add up to $142,796.


PCR Rating








Pavement change


Include in 2020 regardless of outside funding. We have a 2020 MRF Request for $18,000





North terminus

Include in 2020.






Include in 2020.



2nd East


East terminus

Include in 2020.




South terminus

North terminus

Include in 2020.

I also looked at the next four or five lowest rated streets, in the event we have more budget than projected costs. I have added a “bubble Street, 6th Street SE from Wabash to Cleveland at an estimated cost $21,745, in the event that we receive MRF Funds for Chestnut we could include 6th and stay within budget. I am also looking at Chessie Place (the alley behind the post Office between Wabash and McKinley), which we can add as did the alley behind Friends Church last year if the prices are favorable, as an additional bubble street. We will still need to observe while paving is underway to see if there are any other considerations, such as lack of base and/or grinding out fabric, future projects/construction that will affect the cost.
I have updated the bid specifications from 2019 Paving Program, so once Council has finalized the streets and authorized bidding I can make the final changes to the advertisement and get it in the newspaper. The estimates are rough. OHM will be proofing an engineer’s estimate, which is required for bidding. We will still need to observe while underway to see if there are any other considerations, such as lack of base and/or grinding out fabric, future projects/construction.
Legislation to authorize the Administrator to advertise and receive bids for the 2020 Brewster Paving Project as outlined above has been prepared for the March 2nd, 2020 Council Meeting.
I am also requesting that Council pass the legislation as soon as possible on an emergency basis. The reason for the emergency is that if we wait for the full three (3) readings, followed by the four weeks to advertise, we would be opening bids in early May and awarding in late May or early June. Proceeding with bidding as an emergency would allow bids to be opened at the end of March and award April 6th, cutting approximately month and a half off the award date. Waiting will possibly result in the prices for paving to go up, with other entities awarding contracts and “reducing supply”, thereby increasing costs, such as happened in 2019 with the East Main Street Project where the bids exceeded the engineer’s estimate by nearly 50%.
  • AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) – Bidding and Bid Specifications. Work has wrapped up on preparing bid specifications for the Brewster AMI Project. Following Solicitor John Anthony reviewing the bid specifications, we are ready to bid. Once we get the Engineer’s Estimate and get the prevailing wages pulled, we will be ready to advertise. AMI would be a system of smart electric and water meters installed at the customer’s location, with an accompanying communications network (smart grid) constructed Village-wide, and a data management system that would enable two-way communication between the Utility Office and the customer’s meters. This would enhance our services available and streamline meter reading/billing.
  • Potential Transmission Project – Sale of 69kV Assets. Work is concentrated on the details regarding verification of both ownership and the transfer of easements (in the proper order), and identifying which need approval to transfer, and/or if we can find alternatives to full transfer (i.e. right of use agreements).
Solicitor Anthony has reviewed the documents submitted for the proposed purchase of Village 69kV assets by AMP Transmission.
Once those are finalized, and the documents are completed, Council can then authorize their execution on behalf of the Village.
  • Electric – Substation Upgrade/Expansion. Construction work continues on the Substation Upgrade and Expansion Project.The transformer has beendelivered, set in place, and tested. It is ready to be energized. The addition to the control center has also been delivered and is being tied in to our existing control center and equipment, as well as the new equipment. The change order work to install the access road and the drainage has begun as well.
  • Fire Station Addition – Loan.We supplied Commercial & Savings Bank with all required documentation, and following Solicitor John Anthony reviewing the loan documents and making some minor changes, and the loan was closed on Wednesday February 26th.
  • Fire Station Addition - Construction. Following Solicitor John Anthony reviewing of the contract documents and making some minor changes, theArchitect finalized the contracts for the Base Bid (3 bays, showers, and turn-out gear room) plus Alternate 2 (finishing the second floor of the addition – offices and day room) and Alternate 3 (complete roof, rather than tie new shingles into old shingles) and has distributed them to the awarded low bidders for signature. Once they are signed, the Village will also execute them.
As I previously indicated, the Architect has filed for the Village’s building permit(s). We are or have addressed the following items as requested by the Stark County Building Department:
  • Replatting the two (2) Village owned lots (Village Hall and the VFW Building) into one (1) – the survey is completed and the replat should be submitted by the end of the week of February 24th to the 28th.
  • Fire Doors between the old bays and new bays – have been added (will require change order)
  • A Fire Hood on the second floor day room – a fire suppression hood has been added (will require change order).
I will continue to keep Council informed.
  • Street Department – Storm Drainage. Work was completed on the replacement of the storm line at Wabash and 2nd on the north/south pipe. We plane to get as many sections of pipe out of the structure at the northwest corner of Wabash and 2nd west on 2nd I the next few weeks. 
  • Brine Application to Village Streets. The brine truck has been completed, and is ready for service. We tested it February 25th with water. We took it out February 26th/27th. The colder temperature reduced its effectiveness, and it is a bit slower than applying salt. We are looking at  additives that will make the brine more effective at lower temperatures.
To recount why we are incorporating brine, there have been a growing number of entities in our area that use brine as part of their efforts to address snow and ice on roads. Brine is in some instances is MORE effective than salt, because salt must dissolve into solution to melt snow or ice, while brine begins to work essentially instantaneously because there is no delay for transition from solid to liquid phase. ODOT has been using brine for years on expressways, especially bridges, both as a pre-storm treatment and during certain types of storms.
  • EMS Billing Computer. On Friday February 21st, the EMS Billing Computer “froze up” (had a solid blue screen) four (4) times. It was determined due to the criticality of the data and that rather than potentially losing our billing ability that we needed to immediately replace it. Seifert (our IT provider) had a computer available (and a monitor, as the existing EMS Billing Computer was an all-in-one model). That was completed on FridayFebruary 21st. What we were also informed of when Seifert installed the new computer was that it was not tied into our server, and therefore was not “backing up” data. In addition, the way it was connected to the internet was not secure. As the EMS Billing information is governed by HIPPA, we also are having Seifert reconfigure how the EMS Billing Computer ties into the internet and its data load to our server. Their data will be backed up with the rest of our data on the server. Their data will also be encrypted so only EMS/Fire can access it. That installation was completed yesterday afternoon. Both are being paid for with EMS Funds.
  • Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) – Residential. It is that time of year for the CRA Housing Council to meet so that the Village’s annual report can be submitted to the State of Ohio.
One of the requirements for residential tax abatements granted in a CRA is that housing council be appointed. The CRA Housing Council’s is tasked with making an annual inspection of the properties within the community reinvestment area for which an exemption has been granted. We have two (2) properties that an exemption has been granted for:
  • 771 McKinley Ave SW, and
  • 305 2nd St SE.
The annual inspection is to ascertain that the improvements for which the abatement has been granted have been constructed (they have) and are still in use (haven’t burned down etc.)
Ohio Revised Code establishes that the CRA Housing Council is comprised of seven (7) total members. Our CRA Housing Council is comprised of:
  • two members appointed by the Mayor – the Mayor and another appointment (Jim Spivey’s 3-year terms effective January 1, 2017 expired December 31, 2019)
  • two members appointed by Council – (Andrew Hess’s and Chuck Hawk’s 2-year terms effective January 1, 2018 expired December 31, 2019)
  • one member appointed by the Planning Commission – (Ray Heitger’s 3-year term effective January 1, 2017 expired December 31, 2019)
  • two members appointed by a majority of the foregoing members, who shall be residents of the political subdivision – (Jerry Layne’s 3-year term effective January 1, 2017 expired December 31, 2019) PLUS one vacancy
We will need to schedule a meeting of the Brewster CRA Housing Council scheduled for Monday March 16th, 2020 before Council meeting. The agenda will be for the Housing Council to verify the properties have been inspected and that the abatement should continue or be terminated.
  • Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) – Brewster Dairy. The process for submitting the Village’s annual report for commercial abatements (Brewster Dairy only active commercial abatement) is different than that for residential CRA abatements.
The Tax Incentive Review Council (TIRC) is established by Ohio Revised Code 5709.85 and Brewster’s enabling legislation to be made up of:
  • Three representatives appointed by the Board of County Commissioners
  • Two appointed by the Mayor with the concurrence of Council
  • The County Auditor (or their designee)
  • A representative from the affected Board of Education in the CRA (Fairless)
The TIRC meeting is set for March 16th at 11:00 am at Stark County Auditor’s Board of Revision Hearing Room.
  • Efficiency Smart – LED Light Bulbs. There are still standard and dimmable specialty LED lightbulbs available for a limited time for $0.99 each at Belloni Foods. Discount pricing courtesy of Efficiency Smart and Brewster Municipal Electric. Questions? Call Efficiency Smart at 877-889-3777 or visit for more information.
  • Efficiency Smart – “Electric Bill Advice” Program. Efficiency Smart is launching a new “Electric Bill Advice” Program. Through this program, customers can contact customer support, answer some questions about their home, and receive energy saving tips and advice based on their answers. We will be adding an announcement on/with the bills as follows:
Does your electric bill seem higher than typical? Efficiency Smart’s free Electric Bill Advice program can help you understand the electric use in your home and provide suggestions that can help decrease high bills. Call Efficiency Smart at 877-889-3777 or visit and select “Electric Bill Advice” for more information.
  • Efficiency Smart – Online Home Energy Assessment Program. Efficiency Smart is now offering a free Online Home Energy Assessment Program can help residents discover how much energy and money they can save. They can simply go online and answer a few questions about their home to receive energy saving opportunities and potential savings. They should visit  and select “Online Home Energy Assessment” to get started.
  • Efficiency Smart – Rebates on Heat Pumps. Residents can learn about new rebates on air source and cold climate heat pumps.
There is a$100 Rebate on select air source heat pumps. Air source heat pumps work by absorbing heat from the outside air and transferring it into your home. Modern heat pumps can reduce electricity use for heating by approximately 50% compared to electric resistance heating such as furnaces and baseboard heaters.
There is a $750 rebate on select cold climate heat pumps. Cold climate heat pumps are designed specifically for very cold climates and can efficiently extract heat from air with temperatures far below 0°F. These heat pumps provide a very efficient way to heat homes, lower electric bills and improve comfort.
Residents can learn about new rebates on air source and cold climate heat pumps by visiting or calling Efficiency Smart at 877-889-3777 for more information.
  • 7th Street – Repair at Levee Gate. The US Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a contract to make repairs to the sill on levee gate to Brannon Contracting & Maintenance, Inc. of Duncan Falls, Ohio. The preconstruction meeting with the Corps and their contractor is tentatively scheduled for March 16th by phone conference, to discuss traffic control and work limits.
Ventrac Purchase Supplement - Trade-in of Current & Purchase of New. Last meeting, I gave Council a preliminary heads up about a potential purchase of a Ventrac mower and trade-in of our 2012 Ventrac. We were exploring options.
Since last meeting, we have done quite a bit of additional investigation, and Council has asked a number of questions.
First, I will start with what funds will pay for the Ventrac IF PURCHASED. Based on the recent purchase of the zero-turn mower, which does the majority of the mowing in the parks, the current and new/replacement Ventrac will see much less use in the parks. The payment IF THE PURCHASE IS MADE will be from the following funds:
  • Wastewater Treatment                                 5%  (need Ventrac for slopes & easements)
  • Parks                                                                   10% (some slopes still need the Ventrac)
  • Electric                                                               10% (some easements and solar field use)
  • State Highway                                                 10% (used for Route 93 right-of-way mowing)
  • Street Equipment                                           30%
  • Street C, M, & Repair                                    30%
Next, for reference I looked back at the last time the Village traded in our Steiner (similar to a Ventrac). It was done in May of 2015. At that time the entire cost was paid out of the Park Budget (without Council motion or an ordinance). It was paid entirely out of Park Funds because all the mowing in the parks at that time was done with the Ventracs. (Note: Our purchase of the zero turn was nearly 1/3 the cost of the Ventrac, so the Parks Budget takes less of a hit.) The cost breakdown between 2015 and this year’s proposed purchase is:




Ventrac 4500Z




$ 3,402.10


Ventrac 4500Z Net Cost






HM602-60 mowing deck 2015

MS600 Mower Deck 2020





Hydraulic Flip-up







$ 6,500.00


$ 4,237.75






$ 16,267.90

$ 20,000.00

We are getting the price this time with a discount based on the Village being a member of Sourcewell Cooperative Purchasing.
Street Superintendent Rick Patterson works very hard to get every last ounce of use out of equipment – welding, fabricating, and fixing equipment until it doesn’t work. Sometimes, that leaves us in a lurch when the equipment just can’t be fixed or is down for an extended time to get fixed, at the time it is needed the most. We were faced with a dilemma last summer when the Ventrac we are looking to trade-in was down, and the zero turn at Water had issues, when we were faced with the potential of mowing the Parks, right-of ways, easements, and other Village property with just one Ventrac. As I stated last summer in my VA Report at the time:
Zero Turn Mower Purchase. As the grass mowing season began, we had a couple of mower issues. One of the issues was a wheel falling off one (1) of the two (2) Ventrac mowers and taking it out of service for a brief period ($643 repair). The second is with the zero-turn mower used primarily by the Water and Wastewater Departments, has a (currently) small hydraulic leak, but still works, but the possibility that it could need to be taken out of service for an unknown time exists.
To put our “existing” mower fleet into perspective, we had (prior to new purchase):
  • A John Deere zero turn mower (non-commercial), approximately 5 years old, used primarily by the Water and Wastewater Departments
  • A Ventrac mower, approximately 10 years old with approximately 3000 hours, that is used primarily by Street Department to mow the parks.
  • A Ventrac mower, approximately 4 years old, which is used by both the Street Department and is expected to be used more by the Electric Department with the addition of the new heavy-duty deck.
The Ventracs serve multiple uses. One of the uses is on slopes and right of ways with few or no obstructions, where they excel. Another has been cutting grass in the parks – level surfaces with obstructions such as trees, equipment, and fences, where the Ventracs are harder to maneuver. We continue to add trees in the parks. Ten (10) more this year. An additional 31 going back the past two (2) years. Those trees, while fitting with being a Tree City and provide more shade for residents to enjoy the parks, also make it slower/harder for the Ventracs to get the grass cut as the Ventracs don’t have the same ability to maneuver as a zero-turn mower. In addition to Bimeler Park (8.8 acres), Sabo (3.42 acres), Whiting (3/4 acre), and Fields 5 & 6 (3.33 acres) we are picking up additional areas to mow, such as the area outside the fence at the solar field.
So, while the one Ventrac was out of service, the zero-turn mower that the Water Department uses to mow inside their fence (as well as Wastewater) was used on Fields #5 & #6. It worked much better/faster.
Also taken into consideration is that the Village is down to one (1) seasonal employee plus the two (2) full time, doing the work of two (2) seasonal employees plus the two (2) full time that was done last year. No one qualified applied for the seasonal, other than a student, who won’t be available until June. So, if we are going to get grass cut, and flowers planted, and mulch down while doing extensive preparation our Paving, 7th Street Project, East Main Street Project, NatureWorks Project, which includes installation of approximately 15 catch basins and corresponding storm line, plus keeping up with patching and assisting with water line installation (we have 3X the paving of last year), we need to become faster and more efficient with cutting grass. We already had received complaints about mowing, which I didn’t want to continue. The zero-turn mower does that.
So, after consulting with the Departments, and then consulting with the Mayor and Clerk-Treasurer (to make sure Council had appropriated sufficient funds), multiple prices were obtained on a commercial zero turn mower. I determined to purchase a Ferris IS2100Z 26 HP Zero Turn Mower with a 61” mowing deck at a cost of $7,995 (State price). This addition should not only allow us to get grass cutting completed faster, but also extend the life of our Ventracs.   
With that said, we are in a better position now with the addition of the new Zero Turn Mower for the Parks. Last year when we added the new zero turn mower, we had another zero turn in the Water/Wastewater Departments, which at the time was having some issues. So, our thinking at the time was to have two (2) zero turns, so that if either were to go down we had another that could do both Water Department mowing and Parks. That same thought process applies to the Ventrac. We have had two (2) Ventracs so that if the Electric Department needs one (1) for easements or the solar field at the same time the Street Department needs one (1) for slopes in the Parks or right-of-ways or the Wastewater Department needs one (1) for its slopes they can do so at the same time – and if one (1) of the two (2) go down we can find a way to operate with the one (1) while the other is getting repaired. Last summer the older Ventrac was down for repair approximately four (4) times – once when a wheel fell off and three (3) times for hydraulic issues. 
Last year the same Ventrac was taken out of service for a brief period for a $643 repair (replacing wheel). It was down three (3) more times last summer for various hydraulic issues. It now requires at a minimum $1,400 +/- in parts plus labor to make it serviceable again. The costs to get it running are going up, not down. I have discussed this with Mayor Hawk, who has significant knowledge in mower repair. He stated that at 3000 hours the decision needs to be made to either trade the mower in (“Option A”) or start putting money into it and know you are going to run it until the wheels fall off with no value at the end (“Option B”).
The question has been raised why we didn’t know the Ventrac had issues last Fall. The Ventrac was serviced and OK last Fall, but as it sat over the Winter it developed the hydraulic issue, which we discovered when the hydraulic fluid began leaking onto the floor over the winter, and we discovered the starter issue when we went to start it up. So, I informed Council as soon as I/we knew there were issues and provided preliminary options.
I have also been asked “Why was the maintenance or replacement of this mower not an October 2019 topic?” Again, my answer is that we had no idea in October. It was just recently became an issue while getting equipment ready for Spring. For reference, the last replacement/trade-in in 2015 came up in May.
We have as suggested checked other brands of mowers. There are not any comparable mowers that are safe and/or designed for slope mowing. So, if we are going to replace the old Ventrac, it would/should be with a mower that can mow slopes and right-of-ways. The zero turn we bought last year was exclusively for level mowing in the parks.
I have also been given comparisons between a residential/home mower and a commercial mower. A mower at home is used maybe an hour a week. The 2012 Ventrac was used 77 hours last year because of down time for repairs. It averaged 428 hours a year for the previous 7 years. And if a mower at home doesn’t function it is easier to cope with than the Village having acres of parks, right-of-ways, and property to mow. And when a wheel falls off a home mower it is not the same as one falling off the Ventrac, a four-wheel drive mower, that costs $643 to fix.
It has been suggested that we can take it in to the mower repair shop and have them go over the mower to evaluate its condition. But we know that it needs at a minimum $1,400 in parts plus the labor to install them. We can get a thorough review of the required repairs, but keep in mind the Salesman provided the trade-in value. Once the repair shop sees the mower and sees what it takes to make it sellable, that trade-in value could go down. Mayor Hawk indicated that is what would happen at Doc’s. If the mower shop finds more needed repairs, we now may committed to “Option B” – putting money into it and know you are going to run it until the wheels fall off with no value at the end. Because IF the repair costs are determined to be if significant, and costly repairs are necessary, when we revisit the purchase the trade-in allowance will likely go down and our net cost go up. Also, at this point we are last in a fairly long line.
So, back to the bottom-line issue, we are looking for a mower that is capable of safely mowing banks and right-of-ways, and the only fits have been Ventracs and essentially the same mower, a Steiner. If we wait, the likely scenario in my opinion is:
  • The cost of the Ventrac will almost certainly go up while the value of our trade-in go will go down, so the $20,000 net cost in 2020 will be closer to $25,000 in 2022 without factoring in repair costs.
  • Add to $25,000 in 2022 the cost of the current repairs of $2,000 to $2,500, the gross cost of repairs and purchase go up to $27,000 to $27,500 in 2022
  • We face other unforeseen repairs. The Ventrac is 4-wheel drive for slopes. One (1) wheel already fell off at a repair cost of $643. There are three (3) more. 
  • Based on the Mayor’s experience and expertise in mowing equipment (more than I) at 3000 hours we are facing likely engine repairs/replacement. The engine is due to fail, and it can’t be rebuilt. The cost of an engine is $2,400 plus, plus labor and incidentals (oil etc.) of $225 plus. So, if the engine goes bad, now the gross cost goes up from $27,000 to $27,500 to $29,625 to $30,125. So potentially we will spend (or lose value) to the tune of $10,000 over the next two (2) years by repairing and delaying the purchase.
  • The Mayor, who has more experience than I do in mowing equipment, indicates that 3000 hours is when most commercial mowing companies trade-in their equipment (some do so earlier).
Based on the foregoing, the Mayor and I agree that we will move forward with the purchase of the Ventrac unless Council raises an objection after seeing all of the information.
Administrator’s SUPPLEMENTAL report for period 2/19/2020 thru 3/2/2020:
  • AMP – Hydro Phase I. The issuance of the Combined Hydroelectric Projects Revenue Bonds, Refunding Series 2020A has been completed. The proposed refinancing of the Combined Hydroelectric Projects Revenue Bonds is an opportunity through refinancing in the current market to realize a substantial savings. With the savings realized, a meeting was held Friday February 28th at 2:30 pm to discuss how to use the savings, based on options established in the previous meeting. The two (2) options were:
  • Option 1 – Leave rates unchanged and use savings to pay down the existing line of credit, which was $13.6 million as of 1/31/2020.
  • Option 2 - Use the savings to reduce rates in 2020 by approximately $9.50/MWh
If the savings were used for a rate reduction in 2020 (and again in 2021), the rates would go back up to their current levels in 2022, 2023, and 2024. If savings were used to pay down the existing line of credit, while there is now rate reduction in 2020 there are rate reductions in 2021 and thereafter through 2025 as the annual cost to pay down the existing line of credit of $13.6 million in each year’s rate calculation is eliminated.
The final decision was to leave rates unchanged and use savings to pay down the existing line of credit.
  • OPWC Grant – East Main Street Paving & Rehabilitation Project. The Notice of Commencement was filed on Friday February 28th. A pre-construction meeting is being set up with Northstar.
  • AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) – Bidding and Bid Specifications. The bid specifications are complete and we are about to go out to bid. The bid estimate is $610,000, which includes a 10% contingency.
  • Fire Station Addition – Replat. As I previously indicated, our Architect filed for the Village’s building permit(s) for the Fire Station Addition. One of the issues raised by the Stark County Building Department in the permitting process was that the Village needed to either replat the two (2) Village owned lots (Village Hall and the VFW Building) into one (1) or make major changes to our plans since the current building straddles lot lines. The survey has been completed by Hammontree and we expected that the replat would be submitted by the end of the week of February 24th to the 28th (today). Without the replat, no building permit can be issued (or maybe it could but with major changes and costs because of plan changes).
One of the things normally required on the plat is the volume and page number of the deeds showing ownership. On a previous partial replat filed on behalf of the Village, the engineering firm at that time stated they couldn’t find deeds evidencing the Village ownership of any of the four (4) lots at that time – 25,26,27, & 28. They weren’t entirely wrong. While after some digging (and help from the Stark County Auditor’s Office) I found deeds and abstracts for lots 27 & 28.
After a LOT more digging this morning, I found the ordinance passed on November 13, 1928 where the Village authorized issuance of bonds to purchase the property for $1,900. That information still didn’t help locating a deed in the Recorder’s Office. Then I was able to locate the “deed”. It is a Land Contract purchasing lots 25 & 26 for the same $1,900. It doesn’t show on the document it was ever recorded. An actual transfer of property after the $1,900 was paid apparently wasn’t filed nor can it be located.
So, I filed the replat with the information available, and it has been accepted by the Auditor’s Office. Once it is reviewed, I will take it to the Recorder’s Office and have the replat recorded. That will clear of the last impediment to being issued a building permit by the Stark County Building Department.
In order to resolve the issue long term, we will need to have Solicitor John Anthony file an Action to Quiet Title pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 5303.01 showing we acquired title 91 years ago and get a formal transfer of title recorded.
  • Waiver of Fee – Bimeler Park. The Village has been approached by the Stark-Tuscarawas-Wayne Solid Waste District to reserve/rent Field #1 area on May 2nd for its Earth Day Celebration. It will be a similar set up as last year’s Safe Kids Day, or the Railroad’s Employee Day Event. The event may draw a number of visitors. I have reached out to make sure that the Little League is aware that Field #1 won’t be available that day, and that if the event draws there will be a lot of parking spaces taken up by the Police Station.
I am forwarding the Stark-Tuscarawas-Wayne Solid Waste District request that the Village waive the $170 fee on to Council.
Council Member Hilliard wished to speak on the lawn mower more.  He stated he was pretty sure that it is needed but he would have liked to have been able to see and go over the mower and would still would have liked an estimate to get it fixed.  Council Member Hilliard stated that there needs to be better planning for large purchases.  He stated that the VA is starting to sound like Fire Chief Colucy in that everything is an emergency purchase.  If it actually has 3000 hours then it probably needs replaced.  Mayor Hawk added his mower expertise in the matter and feels since we have the resources right now and we are getting a good trade-in, it is a good purchase for the village.
Mayor Hawk is working with the Boy Scouts to make the village welcome signs an Eagle Project.  There is a scout considering it.
Mayor Hawk is working on appointments for the Community Reinvestment Area.  The positions are as follows:
  • Two appointed by the Mayor: Chuck Hawk and Sydney Radich
  • Two appointed by Council: Jerry Layne and Ken Damewood
  • Two appointed by the Commission: Proposed is Ray Heitger/Open seat
  • One appointed by the Planning Commission: Open seat

The CRA meeting will be on March 16th at 6:45 PM
Meals on Wheels Champion Week is March 16th-20th.  They are asking for volunteers.
Mayor Hawk met with Buzz Belloni on Welty Cemetery proposal.
March 2, 2020:
The February month-to-date and year-to-date financials were distributed into council mailboxes.
Fire Pay = $ 2,055.74 for March 6th.
The 2019-2018 Audit will begin mid-March, early April.
Fairless Student Council is requesting a donation for their Mothers’ Day 5K.
I will be working on the codifications of the ordinances soon.
The Hinkle report and 2019 Financial Report are complete and available for public inspection.
Please review and sign the check register on the table.
COMMITTEES or COUNCIL REPORTS: The Goal of any committee meeting is to discuss an issue or proposal and to provide, by a consensus of the committee members, ONE recommendation to Council
  1. There are no reports.
March 16th: CRA Housing Meeting – 6:45 pm
March 16th: Council Meeting – 7:00 pm
April 6th: Welty Cemetery Meeting – 6:30 pm
COUNCIL MEMBER SCHWAB MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER HILLAIRD and motion carried to donate $100 to the Fairless Student Council’s Mother’s Day 5K.  The vote: All yes.
COUNCIL MEMBER SCHWAB MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER RADICH and motion carried to waive the $170 park fee for Stark-Tuscarawas-Wayne Solid Waste District to reserve/rent Field #1 area on May 2nd for its Earth Day Celebration.  The vote: All yes.
COUNCIL MEMBER HILLIARD MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER RADICH and motion carried to approve the fire pay at $2,055.74 from the Fire Equipment Fund.  The vote: All yes.
COUNCIL MEMBER SCHWAB MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER RADICH and motion carried to give Solicitor Anthony permission for a title search for Lots 25 & 26.  The vote: All yes.
VILLAGE SPEAKS: Communications Received by Council members from Village residents
Council Member Hilliard received a complaint that a fireman had lights on their vehicle but no siren.
COUNCIL MEMBER SCHWAB MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER LONG and motion carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:20 PM. The vote: All yes.
Respectfully submitted,
Kris King, Clerk-Treasurer
Charles Hawk, Mayor