Macedonia Council continues free programs for seniors

KEN LAHMERS
Correspondent
Cheryl Kuczma adds more cookies to the serving table during a holiday party at the Macedonia Senior Center. While the senior center remains closed, the city has decided to extend some extra services to its elderly population.

MACEDONIA – Local senior citizens who meet eligibility guidelines again will have an opportunity to get free trash collection, gutter cleaning and snowplowing in the coming months.

At its Aug. 13 meeting, City Council approved legislation which will fund the three programs. Because senior citizen center activities have been curtailed by the coronavirus crisis, Mayor Nick Molnar said some of the money directed toward those will go instead to funding the free programs.

In the last year, Molnar said about $12,000 was targeted for trash pickup, about $2,800 for gutter cleaning and about $5,300 for snow removal. The legislation authorizes $15,000 to be set aside this year for trash pickup.

The three programs are open to residents 65 and older and/or who are disabled. Their income level must not exceed 100% of the most recent HUD very low-income limit for the Akron area.

Other criteria are that all applicants must provide proof of age and/or disability and income, and must abide by all other regulations adopted by the city administration.

Valley View Property Management will provide the gutter cleaning service at a cost of $70 per home. In an average year, about 40 homeowners take advantage of a one-time cleaning. Stewart Landscaping will provide the snowplowing service at a cost not to exceed $12.50 per push.

Eligible residents can get forms to sign up for the programs at the City Center at 9691 Valley View Road.

In other business, nobody spoke at a second public hearing related to a plan of governance for the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council’s natural gas aggregation program. The city is a member of NOPEC.

NOPEC spokesman Charles Ramer explained the plan of governance will cut the time for residents to enroll in the gas aggregation program through an opt-in procedure much like what is offered for the electricity aggregation program.

The new procedure would apply to new residents or those who have left the aggregation program and want to get back in. Ramer said the new process should improve the city’s gas aggregation enrollment numbers.

Each year, NOPEC awards energy grants to its 237 member communities, with the amount each community gets determined by how many are enrolled in the aggregation programs. In the last three years, Macedonia has received grants totaling $45,604, $45,000 and $41,376, respectively.

Finance Director John Veres outlined several appropriations amendments, which were approved by council.

Included were $175,000 added to the $400,000 already appropriated for conversion of 800mhz radios for the police and fire departments, a $115,000 transfer from the general fund to capital improvements, $17,000 added to the Ledgeview Road project, $90,000 for the Valley View Road project and $25,000 for the Shepard Road project.

According to Veres, the Ledgeview, Valley View and Shepard roads projects are covered by grants from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.

Molnar reported the new Route 8 access road to the Crossings at Golden Link project is going smoothly and should be completed soon, and he said the owner of the vacant Steak-N-Shake building on Route 82 has found an interested possible tenant.

Council President Jan Tulley announced discussions of the 2021 budget will start soon.

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