NORTHFIELD – Although Mayor Jesse Nehez and village council reps expressed several concerns about entering into a contract to provide police protection to Northfield Center Township, council made no decision at its Feb. 26 meeting whether to submit a proposal to township officials.

In January, township trustees sent requests for proposals to five government entities – Northfield, Macedonia, Boston Heights, Sagamore Hills and the Summit County Sheriff’s Department – to provide policing service starting in 2021. The sheriff’s department currently provides that service.

Nehez said he is strongly against considering providing the service, saying village residents are his top priority. "We don’t want to lose the [policing] service we provide," he said. "Although we’re always glad to help our neighbors, our first responsibility is to our residents."

Township officials are seeking to obtain policing services for an estimated $720,548 for the first year of a new contract, but they are willing to negotiate a higher figure. Most of the council reps said it would be difficult to provide the service for that amount, and they said they need much more information before deciding to submit a proposal.

Some of the council reps, including Renell Noack and Keith Czerr, are willing to provide a proposal, but only after the village comes up with an amount that would be acceptable. No special meeting was scheduled to further discuss the issue. The township’s deadline for submission of any proposals is April 24.

Township Trustee Russ Mazzola told village officials the township spent $872,000 on police protection in 2019, and the amount for the last year of the sheriff’s department current contract is $899,000.

In other action, the council awarded a contract to HMH Restoration Ltd. For the Village Hall east wall/stairs area project. The cost will be $35,295, plus any village permits that are required. The firm recently completed the south wall lintel removal and infill project.

Council also OK’d amendments to an ordinance pertaining to holidays for full-time employees. The changes remove a clause that required workers to have at least six months of full-time service before getting holiday pay. The employees must work on the day before and after the holiday unless they provide a valid reason why they can’t.

Law Director Brad Bryan reported bids were opened Feb. 23 for the fire station expansion project, and contract legislation is expected to appear on Council’s March 11 agenda. Bryan said the village has 30 days from the time bids were opened to award the contract.

Finance Director Jennifer Potvin reported she is working on finalizing the 2020 permanent appropriations. Meetings are planned with the police, fire and service departments to shore up the figures, and legislation likely will be on council’s March 11 agenda.

Once the appropriations are approved and the council knows how much money is available, council reps plan to discuss purchasing playground equipment for local parks.

The village has an opportunity to buy used equipment from a Parma school which is being razed, but Service Director-Building Superintendent Jason Walters said he favors buying new equipment if the budget will allow it. He said buying the used items would require the extra cost of moving them, and it might be more feasible to buy new.

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