Herald Staff Writer
During the committee work session ahead of the latest Barberton City Council meeting, at-large Councilwoman Carla Debevec tried to resurrect her languishing legislation aimed at requiring bids for many professional services.
Ohio law does not require professional services, like engineers and attorneys, to go through the formal bidding process. Debevec, citing roughly $2 million per year for such contracts, wanted to rein in the practice, originally suggesting $10,000 as the trigger. Facing pushback the previous week, she revisited it at the Nov. 19 meeting with a suggested $50,000 figure, reflecting the bid trigger for other contracts in state law.
Councilman Thomas “Bebe” Heitic pointed out that this number that hadn’t been updated since the 1970s would be about $265,000 in contemporary money.
Ultimately, the biggest objection came from Finance Committee chair Carol Frey.
“Why should we do if if we’re not required to?” Frey asked.
For a second time, the matter was not brought out of committee.
In regular session, council voted to approve Councilman Justin Greer’s ordinance shifting the trigger for declaring a property a nuisance from a calendar year to an actual year. Greer explained that this actually reverts the nuisance ordinance to what it had been until 2006.
“It was changed to a calendar year because the police department’s software at the time could only search by calendar year,” Greer said. “This is no longer the case.”
Council also approved a resolution backing House Bill 408 in Columbus, trying to clamp down on the epidemic of catalytic converter thefts. The bill would ban the sale of stolen catalytic converters.
The decommissioning of two of Norton’s old sewage package plants each got an ordinance approved that night. One, scrapping the Brentwood Estates plant, appropriated $100,000. However, Barberton is only the passthrough. $50,000 each came from Summit County and the city of Norton. The second pays $6,911.26 to Ohio Edison for work at the Frashure Park plant.
Council voted to allow the Service Department to scrap three vehicles and three pieces of equipment that are beyond repair.
Council approved the newest contract with the International Association of Firefighters and passed a resolution honoring the 2022 Barberton Magics football team for its season.
Getting a first reading and going for a second was an ordinance asking the Barberton Community Foundation for up to $75,000 toward the city’s planned skate park. Heitic’s plan for this is a permanent fund at the Foundation to be charged with donations that will pay for insurance and maintenance.
“If we don’t get enough to keep up with it, we’ll just close it until we do,” Heitic said.
An ordinance updating the city’s fee structure and another extending the moratorium on certain businesses got a second reading and went for a third.