Council chambers to get TV monitors, new sound

by Sue Serdinak

March 15 village council meeting

Richfield Village council approved a contract for $45,000 with Baypoint Technology, a Richfield company, to install new audio and video technology in the council meeting room. When the installation is complete, hopefully by mid-April, the room will have four TV monitors and new sound equipment.


The village joined with 20 other communities in the Northern District of Ohio in filing a lawsuit against the Giant Eagle chain for its part in the opioid pandemic in Ohio. Council approved a settlement in which the village will receive $10,588. 

Law Director Alejandros Cortes explained that there are additional defendants in the nationwide lawsuit against purveyors of opioids, and this case is only against Giant Eagle. Money received is to be used to abate and remedy the effects of the epidemic. It has not been determined how the money will be spent in Richfield.

In explaining how funds will be used, Mayor Michael Wheeler said, “It is supposed to help educate people on how dangerous opioids are. … Richfield had an overdose last week.”

Longevity pay

Council approved increasing longevity pay for non-unionized members of the village staff.  In recent negotiations with the police and firefighters’ union, the village agreed to increase the maximum additional compensation for continuous length of service from $2,100 to $2,400 to union members. The ordinance provides the same additional compensation upon retirement to non-union employees.

Council also approved making the additional compensation, effective Jan. 1, 2022, to include people who retired since the beginning of this year.

Police hire

Wheeler swore in Robert Vidika as a part-time police officer. Vidika attended the University of Akron Police Academy and received a criminal justice/psychology degree from Kent State University.

Income tax collections

Finance Director Sandy Turk reported that income tax collections are down about 22% from last year. In addition, the village has sent refunds totaling $70,999 to individuals who worked from home in 2021. 

The village received an extra $761 in American Rescue Plan funds. The money came from a redistribution of funds that were not claimed by other Ohio governments.


Council approved a $300 donation to purchase thermal imaging binoculars in memory of Lt. Joe Davis. Council also approved a donation of $150 from Bath Volunteers for Service for the Project Pride, which removed trash along roads in Bath and Richfield.

Recreation vouchers

The village has subsidized the membership of 38 individuals or families at the Broadview Heights Recreation Center, for a total cost to the village of $8,750 since Dec. 2021.

Bio swale

Councilperson Ralph Waszak reported results of Davey Tree’s analysis of the bio swale in the parking lot at Fellowship Hall and Masonic Temple.

Representatives of the company said the bio swale has deteriorated and should be maintained differently. In addition, the brick pavers are covered with silt and not effective.

Davey Tree will repair the bio swale and instruct the service department on how to maintain it.

Wheeler said that funds from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District could be used for the repairs.

Pension fund

Wheeler said a bill passed in the Ohio House of Representatives that, over a five-year period, would increase the employer contribution to the first responders pension fund to 26.5% of wages. Currently, employers pay 19.5% for police and 24% for fire.

Wheeler added that over five years, the additional cost to the village would be about $480,000.

Audience comments

Resident Pat Healey said she asked for and received from Turk the dollar amount the village has spent on the house the village bought and is renting on Grant Street, south of the library entrance.  Turk told her $18,731 was spent for a new refrigerator, microwave, water system and cleaning of the house.

“I feel like the Lysts have had things given to them, including parking [for the brewery] and new streets built,” she said.

The Lyst family plans to build a brewery on the corner of Grant Street and Broadview Road and is renting the home.

Resident Jerry Tamulewicz claimed village officials were not transparent when selling .66 acres so that the brewery could be constructed on the former Heinle property. 

“The perception is reality,’’ he said. “The village bought that property to do one thing and decided to do something else later. … You should have made this publicly transparent that there was a possibility of doing something else with that parcel rather than building an access road to the library.”

Asked Tamulewicz, “Would the brewery be allowed to be built with only six parking spots? It seems that Richfield has enough liquor establishments.”

Wheeler said the plan for the property includes public parking as promised when the village bought the land.

“We sold .66 acres out of two acres to a business,’’ the mayor said. “We didn’t want the brewery to control the parking.”

Cortes added that the brewery would not be permitted to limit parking to its customers.

Councilperson Rick Hudak said the village controls the entire quadrant, following a long-held plan, adding that parking was created to make it available to the public. ∞