Jan. 16 village council meeting
The dress code for Village Hall seemed to be dark blue for the Richfield Village Council meeting, with the police and fire department members in attendance. Mayor Michael Wheeler swore in two police officers promoted to shift sergeant and an officer who is joining the force.
Sgt. Michael Testa
Sgt. Bart Randolph
Officer Cynthia Kilgore were all sworn in. Photos by S. Serdinak
The shift sergeant positions were open because of retirements. An independent company evaluated the testing used to fill the vacancies. Michael Testa and Thomas (Bart) Randolph earned the highest marks.
Testa earned a criminal justice degree from the University of Cincinnati and has been on the village force since 2018. He is also an active member of the Summit Metro Crash Response Team.
Randolph earned a business management degree from Walsh University and attended the police academy at the University of Akron. He has been on the village force since 2018 and helped manage Christmas with a Cop, the car seat program other community service projects.
Cynthia Kilgore was sworn in as Richfield’s newest officer. She fills the vacancy created when Shane Williamson left the department in October 2023 to return to the Summit County sheriff’s department.
Kilgore is from Texas and speaks fluent Spanish. She attended Tri-C police academy and is certified to be a police officer in Ohio. An outside firm assessed her application.
Kilgore is the third woman in the Richfield department.
Council suspended readings and passed a resolution to extend the agreement with Roetzel & Andress law firm for two years. According to the agreement, the village will pay the firm $6,000 per month for routine services. In addition, Benjamin Chojnacki will become law director at a monthly salary of $3,900 in 2024 and $4,000 in 2025. William Hanna will be senior legal counsel at a monthly salary of $1,050 per month in 2024 and $1,100 in 2025.
For litigation, Roetzel & Andress will charge $240 per hour in 2024 and $245 in 2025 for an associate attorney and $275 per hour in 2024 and $285 in 2025 for partners.
Tim Baker, information technology coordinator, recommended that the village purchase new laptop computers for each member of council to replace the seven-year old iPads currently in use.
Baker said the laptops should be dedicated to village use, and Chojnacki confirmed that elected officials should keep village documents on a computer separate from their personal computers.
Baker has increased the bandwidth of the Town Hall offices, the Senior Center and the village service building to 200 megs.
Finance Director Sandy Turk reported that 2023 income tax collections were down 2.5% from 2022, and income tax refunds increased by about 10%. “We have to be vigilant at adhering to the budget this year or identifying new revenue sources should needs arise outside of the approved budget,” she wrote in her report.
Council approved ordering a new Hustler mower from Baker Vehicle System for the service department at a cost of $15,418. The purchase was included in the 2024 budget.
The sanitary sewer line in the Glencairn Forest development is jeopardized because a stream bed has moved. Two companies are studying the area to suggest solutions, according to Wheeler. He hopes to have cost estimates for the next council meeting.
The sewer line is owned and maintained by the village but is within the township. Wheeler said the line has had three manhole risers exposed by erosion. The stream has changed direction a couple of times. “There is nothing left in the stream bed,’’ he said. “The water will start eating at the banks.”
Council President Ralph Waszak added that a potential breach in the system could result in effluent escaping.
Public hearing set
Council set Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. for a public hearing regarding text amendments to the zoning code. The amendments in Resolution 101-2023 relate to the width and number of driveways permitted in non-residential and residential zones. The width requirement for non-residential properties would be increased to minimize traffic congestion and avoid interference with pedestrian access at intersections.
The amendments also cover the posting of temporary signs, the illumination of permanent signs and the size of window signs.
Discussion on the possible closing of Grant Street between the Richfield Brewing Company and Masonic Hall will be postponed until more information is gathered, according to Waszak. ∞