Girard eyes recreation levy next May
GIRARD –With work being done on improvements on the city building’s 90-year-old gymnasium, and work also being done at the city parks, city officials plan to place a recreation levy on the May 2023 primary ballot.
First Ward Councilman Keith Schubert requested legislation be prepared for the next meeting to begin the process for placing a recreation levy on that ballot.
Mayor Jim Melfi said at Monday’s council meeting there are many projects being done in the parks, and also the city gymnasium is having its first major work done in years.
He said a lot of improvements have been made at Liberty Park and also the gymnasium — paid by funds from the recreation fund.
“These are long-term capital improvement projects. The gymnasium is being painted and work will begin next month on refinishing the floor. When the remodeling work in that gym is done it will last for generations,” he said.
Auditor Julie Coleman said 14 percent from traffic camera speed collections is placed in recreation while 15 percent goes into streets,
Fourth Ward Councilman Thomas Grumley said American Recovery Plan funds can be used for recreational improvement projects, if needed. He said he would like to see a splash pad at Liberty Park.
SMOKING IN PARKS
Council gave second reading on prohibiting smoking in city parks.
Teresa Merrick, a registered nurse with Trumbull Combined Health District, said she works at prevention of tobacco and vaping use by offering grants to communities for signs prohibiting smoking.
Signs provided by the health district can be posted at parks, prohibiting smoking at playground areas and ballfields.
“It is important to prohibit smoking where children play at the parks. Vaping products are
very hazardous to children. Having signs posted will be a reminder to those who smoke,” Merrick said.
She said even when people smoke outside the second-hand smoke can spread.
Plans by the city are to post signs prohibiting smoking in Hartzell, Liberty, Tod and Stambaugh parks.
Enforcement will be “an honor system” where people follow the rules, similar to the face mask requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Officials said park employees will remind people not to smoke.
She said Lordstown village has also approved an ordinance prohibiting smoking at parks.
Council gave a first reading to pay increases for the mayor, auditor and law director effective in January 2024 and the council clerk and sergeant at arms this December.
Being proposed is an increase for the mayor from $52,997 to $58,997 and auditor from $47,251 to $53,251 with benefits; and law director from $42,426 to $48,426 with no benefits or $41,331 with health benefits. All three are elected positions.
The part-time clerk of council would increase from $6,200 to $6,850 and part-time sergeant-at-arms from $30 to $45 per meeting. Because they are appointed positions, their increases would go into effect after final third reading of council.
In other matters, Safety/ Service Director Jerry Lambert said officials are looking at ways to get more people interested in applying for police department positions. Officials plan to meet on what they can do to attract applicants.
“We do notice during the civil service testing that the number of people taking the test for both police and fire has been down. Fewer and fewer are taking the tests.” Melfi said.
While shifts are being covered there are days when staffing is low in the police department due to family leave, sickness, resignation or vacation, officials said.
Currently three officers are in the schools as school resource officers, which takes them off the street patrol until the summer.