Government services continue in Falls, Silver Lake after county moves to purple status

Village hall closed to public due to rising COVID-19 numbers

Phil Keren
Kent Weeklies
Silver Lake Mayor Bernie Hovey gives his State of the Village address in 2019. Hovey said village hall is currently closed to the public after Summit County was moved into the Level 4 (or purple) designation on the state's COVID-19 map.

CUYAHOGA FALLS, SILVER LAKE — Summit County's recent placement into the purple designation on the state's COVID-19 map has prompted some changes for local government buildings, but services are still being provided

The most significant change is that Silver Lake Village Hall, 2961 Kent Road, is currently closed to the public, according to Silver Lake Mayor Bernie Hovey.

Hovey said village hall will "will remain [closed] as long as Summit County is in Level 4 [purple]." He added that only certain employees and others he "may deem essential," are allowed to enter village hall while the county is in the purple status.

"Some of my office staff is working from home on a rotating basis," stated Hovey. "There will also be at least one member in the office available to answer phone calls, and to receive deliveries at the door."

Hovey said residents can still call village hall at 330-923-5233 during the business hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday to ask questions and share suggestions.

Q & A for residents on Silver Lake Village Hall operations

1. Since public access is not allowed at village hall now, if a resident needs to speak with a village of Silver Lake employee, what should they do?

Call village hall at 330-923-5233 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. A message can be left for the employee if they are not in the building.

2. Can residents still drop off their utility bill payment in the drop box in the village hall parking lot?

Yes, residents can use the drop box in the village hall parking lot and they can also leave their utility bill payment in a box in the foyer of village hall.

3. If a resident wants to pay a utility bill online, how do they do that?

Residents can continue to pay utility bills through an automatic payment schedule if they have set up that process. To set up a direct payment plan, residents can visit https://villageofsilverlake.com/resident-info/utilities/.

4. If a resident wants to apply for a building permit how do they do that while village hall is closed to the public?

Residents must call village hall at 330-923-5233, and ask for either Suzanne Lipan or Marsha Schultz between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. One of those employees will then instruct residents on what they need to do to obtain a building permit. The permits cannot be applied for online.

5. Are village meetings happening in-person or virtually?

While village council members met in village hall on Monday, members of the public were only allowed to participate in the meeting through the virtual platform on Zoom. They were not allowed to come to the meeting in person. Hovey said the meetings of other boards or commissions will either be canceled or will take place via Zoom "unless I can be convinced that the meeting is essential."

For more information, call village hall at 330-923-5233 or visit www.villageofsilverlake.com to find the Zoom link for an upcoming council meeting. Council meetings typically happen on the first and third Mondays of the month at 7 p.m.

Cuyahoga Falls City Hall is located at 2310 Second St.

City of Cuyahoga Falls not changing anything due to purple status

Summit County's move to purple did not change any of the operations for government buildings in Cuyahoga Falls, according to city spokesperson Kelli Crawford-Smith.

"All city services are still being provided to residents and businesses," said Crawford-Smith.

Some employees are working in city hall, 2310 Second St., during normal business hours from 8 a.m, to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The building is not open for walk-up business, but Crawford-Smith emphasized all departments and employees are available via phone and email during regular business hours. If a resident needs to meet with a city employee, they should call or email ahead to make an appointment and then a city worker will allow them to enter the building when they arrive for their appointment.

Crawford-Smith said there are typically 83 employees in city hall, but during the pandemic employees are working in the building "on a staggered basis to limit the number of employees in the departments at any given time."  If a worker is not in city hall, he or she is working remotely.

Crawford-Smith said the hours and operating protocols of the Natatorium, Downview Sports Center and Quirk Cultural Center were not changed due to the county being placed in the purple COVID-19 category. She emphasized, however, that the facilities "meet and exceed all health requirements" from both the state and Summit County Public Health.

The Natatorium continues to be open Monday through Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Quirk is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m., while Downview is open every day (weather permitting) from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Q & A for residents on Cuyahoga Falls City Hall operations

1. If a resident wants to speak with a city staff member, can they just go to city hall?

Since city hall is not open for walk-up business, residents should make an appointment with city employees for in-person meetings in the building. They can also meet with employees via phone or Zoom.

2. How can a resident schedule an appointment with a city hall employee?

Residents should call city hall at 330-971-8000 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and ask for the specific employee or the department where that employee works. They can also contact a specific department directly. Contact information can be found by visiting https://www.cityofcf.com/contact. A city employee would then allow them to enter the building when they arrive for their appointment.

3. If residents need to pay a bill or apply for a permit, can they still go to city hall and do that? 

Residents can drop off bill payments at drop boxes located outside of the utility billing entrance and at the police department entrance at city hall. Appointments can be made by calling 330-971-8000 to obtain permits and applications.

4. If residents want to pay a bill online, how do they do that? 

Residents and businesses can pay bills by visiting https://www.cityofcf.com/online-services.

5. If residents want to apply for a permit, how do they do that? 

They should visit https://www.cityofcf.com/permits-applications-forms

6. Are city council and other government boards and commissions having meetings in-person or virtually?

All of these meetings are taking place in a virtual format. Gov. Mike DeWine recently signed Ohio House Bill 404, which will allow government meetings to continue occurring virtually until July 1, 2021. For information on how to watch the city council meeting, visit https://www.cityofcf.com/city-council.

Council meetings take place nearly every Monday at 6:30 p.m.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at pkeren@thebeaconjournal.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.