Northfield Village discusses parking, water and sewer billing

KEN LAHMERS
Correspondent

NORTHFIELD – Parking concerns at Huntington Park and revisions to the water usage fees and water/sewer billing process were among matters discussed at Village Council’s July 22 meeting.

Mayor Jesse Nehez explained the village has received complaints from Magnolia Avenue residents that cars parked on the street during baseball games make it difficult to exit driveways.

He said when there are large crowds at the park, there are not enough off-street parking spaces, forcing a dozen or more cars to park along Magnolia across from residents’ driveways. He added the village had to postpone adding off-street parking spaces this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Public Service Superintendent Jason Walters said even if extra spaces are added, they may not be enough to accommodate all of the cars. He added sometimes drivers do not park far enough off the street, making it difficult for residents to exit their driveways.

Walters said about the only way to add enough parking would be to eliminate one of the two basketball courts. But Councilman Alan Hipps opposed that, saying he wouldn’t want to take away play space to accommodate parking.

Walters was directed to contact youth baseball league administrators to request that they get the word out to parents to park as close to the curb or on the curb on the park side of Magnolia. Nehez added officials will continue to look into ways to solve the parking dilemma.

Meanwhile, Councilwoman Jenn Domzalski said she would like to see village officials review water/sewer bills from the last cycle in an attempt to come up with revised fees and a new billing process to go into effect by Jan. 1, 2021.

“We need to review and revise how water bills are calculated for commercial entities,” she said. “And I’d like to see the billing brought in-house instead of being outsourced.”

Village Engineer Richard Wasosky said at Council’s July 8 session that revising water usage fees would increase funds available to fix stormwater problems such as have occurred on Route 8 near Handel’s Ice Cream and in the presidential streets neighborhood.

“The village has talked about doing that for years,” he said. “Businesses that use a lot of water such as MGM Northfield Park and restaurants would pay more, while residents and small businesses would pay about the same.”

“We have looked at updating the fees for years, and I have gathered updated information several times, but we always put it off,” said Walters. “We need money to fix our storm sewers; nothing is cheap.”

Nehez agreed the water usage fees must be made fairer for businesses. He suggested the village look into how other communities determine fees.

Council approved placing the administrative office assistant’s position under the additional supervision of the public service superintendent and building-zoning inspector. The position is currently only under the mayor’s supervision.

The approval also includes that pay for the position is determined by the collective bargaining agreement since the position now falls under a union contract.

Council authorized the village to participate in the Ohio Department of Transportation’s annual road salt bidding process. The village’s commitment for 2020-21 is to buy 1,000 tons of salt, and it is obligated to buy 90 percent of that total. Walter said prices of salt for this winter have not yet been determined.

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