Stow City Council addresses police dispatch and taxpayer concerns

By Kellie Nock & Sam Karam

In the beige council hall on the first floor of the Stow City Hall, a city council meeting began. There are two each month and this one took place on Feb. 22, 2018. President of Council, and Ward I council chair Matt Riehl lead the meeting.

Photo of Matt Riehl
Matt Riehl, Council President and Ward I chair. Photo Courtesy of Patch.com

 

After the formalities of the meeting, such as reviewing the budget and motioning for funds for various projects, a concerned resident took the podium asking why the city continues to pay its assistant prosecutor, who is accused of fraud and misusing money of multiple veterans while at the Veteran’s Association.

Mr. Brian, a resident concerned about Assistant Prosecutor Ms. Walsh, brought the issue up with the council and asked if the council had known about this and had anything to say.  Brian was also concerned that his taxpayer money was being used to pay Ms. Walsh.

“We don’t take action without evidence,” Law Director Amber Zibritosky said.  “If and when evidence were to suggest these allegations would be true that individual wouldn’t be paid with Stow tax dollars.”

That was all the council said about this topic.

Photo of Amber Zibritosky
Amber Zibritosky, Law Director. Photo courtesy of Amber Zibritosky’s Facebook page.

At the beginning of the meeting, Director of Budget John Earle reviewed the city’s finances.

Stow’s debt was at an all time high at $33,565,000 in 2008, Earle said, but since then the city’s debt has decreased. The 2018 debt is estimated to be $15,490,000. They expect no new debt in 2018.

Earle went on to report that the Stow water system is very sound financially and the
Fox Den Golf Course is operating with a surplus.

Possibly Stow’s best year in economic development effort was 2017 and there is “excellent potential for 2018 and beyond,” according to Earle. Financial status remains sound overall, Earle said. The financial status of the city is not in jeopardy for any reason.

After finances, the meeting moved onto the Road and Safety Committee. Mike Rasor is chairman of this committee, which has plans to regularly honor employees who work in safety departments on a monthly basis. The first ceremony took place at this meeting, honoring firefighters who performed CPR on someone, and saved their life.  

Photo of Mike Roser
Stow Councilman Mike Rasor. Photo from the Akron Beacon Journal’s website.

“A lot of what we do is routine as a city, and we’re very proud to be affiliated with those who go beyond the call of duty and save somebody’s life,” Rasor said.

On the lookout for a new fire safety officer, Sara Kline, mayor of Stow, asked for a motion to start searching for one. Council took an executive break to decide on a salary for this position, then reconvened and approved Kline’s request.

Mayor Sara Kline also motioned for “Motorola legislation”, providing new radios to the police department. Stow police has a dispatch station, and representatives stressed the need for radios to take 9-1-1 calls.

The current radios are 10 years old, which means that each system is right at the end of its life cycle.

The legislation would provide the department with six new radio systems.

Photo of Sara Kline
Mayor Sara Kline. Photo Courtesy of City of Stow’s website.

Councilmember Bob Adaska voted not to suspend rules because this is over $600,000 and all council members should be there. Ward II council member James Costello, and Ward III Brian Lowdermilk were absent. Kline pushed further, saying it was a matter of public safety, and that they can’t put this off any longer.

If passed, Police Captain Paul Amonett said, radios will be implemented within 90 days of the vote.

The vote did not pass at this meeting, and was once again postponed to their next meeting, March 8th.

Next meeting is Mar. 8, 2018.