NORTHFIELD — Village officials faced some criticism from two residents at Council’s April 24 meeting.
Randy Miller said except for a couple of recent projects such as Ledge Road, he "doesn’t see anything getting done" and "it doesn’t appear to me that this village has higher standards."
He criticized the village’s beautification efforts along Route 8, claiming more can be done, and said he believes the parks are not well maintained and need much improvement.
"The parks look no better now than when I was growing up here," he said. "It’s shameful and pathetic. I’m appalled that the mayor drives around the community, but can’t see what’s going on."
He noted the village doesn’t put up lights during the year-end holidays, and doesn’t even put a Christmas tree in the gazebo. "You just give lame excuses for not beautifying the village," he said.
He questioned why there is no curbside recycling and why does the village needs to charge a sewer maintenance fee. "If the village picked up the tab for the sewer maintenance bill, maybe we could have curbside recycling," he said.
He noted with the money coming in from MGM Northfield Park, more could be done to better the village. And he claimed he sees more businesses moving out than moving in.
Meanwhile, Jim Daugherty said he believes the village should be run more like a corporation since it has an annual budget of just under $10 million.
He claimed minutes of Council meetings are not prepared in a timely fashion, and some city offices such as the clerk of courts cannot be reached by phone for hours at a time.
Saying the village earlier this year hired an assistant to help Finance Director / Clerk of Council Tricia Ingrassia, Daugherty said he can’t understand why work in the village office is not getting done.
He added, "I have seen some improvements in the village — roads, parks, flowers — and I think the mayor is doing a good job."
Ingrassia responded the new office assistant started working earlier this year, and after being trained in village procedures "is doing a phenomenal job." She also said Council minutes are being prepared in a timely fashion.
Fire Chief Jason Buss said the fire department has had very positive interactions with the new assistant.
Law Director Brad Bryan said the village faces a lot of challenges when it comes to rights-of-way along Route 8 since public space there is limited and "utilities are crammed in."
"Most of the property along Route 8 is private, and we can’t force businesses to beautify their properties," explained Councilman Alan Hipps. "We have placed flowers in public areas.
"There’s only so much we can do. Help from the private sector is needed. Council approved an overlay zoning district a few months ago in an attempt to improve the Route 8 corridor."
Councilwoman Renell Noack said she is exploring the possibility of the village placing banners at certain spots to recognize local military veterans.
Councilman Nick Magistrelli said although the village has gotten a good amount of money from MGM Northfield Park in the last five years — and has completed a handful of major projects — it still has a lot of infrastructure needs.
"We must be patient; something that’s been going on for 60 years can’t be fixed in just five years. I realize our general infrastructure is a mess., but the mayor and I are working feverishly almost every day to bring about improvements."
As for parks issues, Hipps announced the buildings and grounds committee will schedule a work session to discuss possible future improvements.
Responding to comments from Councilman Keith Czerr about hypodermic needles being found in the parks and children being harassed, Mayor Jesse Nehez said the village is looking into the possibility of installing security cameras there.
Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400, ext. 4189 or email@example.com.