The Perry Township Board of Trustees meets in Regular Meeting format on the first and third Tuesday of every month at 7:00 PM.
The meetings are held at the Township Hall located at
3111 Hilton Street NW
in Massillon. Regular Meetings include reports by Department Heads, the Law Director, and the Township Administrator. The public is welcome to offer comments during the Public Speaks portion of the agenda on township related matters.
Perry Township Board of Trustees
February 17, 2015 7:00 pm
Call to Order/ Pledge of Allegiance:
Additions/Deletions to Agenda:
Public Hearings/Invited Guests:
Jim Delucas and Jim Zuccaro ~ OTARMA Calendar Presentation
Trustee Chessler stated that Mr. Jim Delucas and Mr. Jim Zuccaro are here with us this evening from OTARMA, that is the Ohio Township Association Risk Management Authority. Trustee Chessler stated that in 2014 Perry Township submitted a photograph to OTARMA that won some recognition. Trustee Chessler asked Mr. Delucas and Mr. Zuccaro to please take the floor to explain why they were here this evening and explain their presentation.
Mr. Delucas stated that he was here this evening regarding a picture that was taken here in Perry Township back in May. Mr. Delucas explained that OTARMA is an insurance program that represents 1,000 out of 1,308 Townships in the State of Ohio that are used for their property casualty exposures. Mr. Delucas added that our Perry Township Administrator, Joyce Fetzer is on the Board of Directors for OTARMA. Mr. Delucas explained that each year OTARMA presents calendars to other members as well as Townships that are not members of OTARMA. Mr. Delucas added that this past year, the OTARMA Board of Directors gave new direction for the calendar material and requested Townships in Ohio to submit photographs to be a part of the 2015 calendar. There were 138 pictures submitted of which 12 were picked. Mr. Delucas stated that he would like to present the 2015 OTARMA calendar and highlight the July calendar photograph submitted by Perry Township taken at the Township’s Flags of Freedom ceremony back in May 2014. Mr. Delucas read a brief note of appreciation from the OTARMA Board of Directors to the Board of Trustees for their ongoing commitment to the OTARMA program and highlighted upon the fact that our Township’s photo was selected to appear in the 2015 OTARMA calendar.
Mr. Delucas stated that he wanted to present a digital photo frame of the submitted calendar photograph along with additional calendars. Mr. Delucas thanked the Board for the opportunity to make this presentation in person and thanked the Marucci family for their beautiful picture and added that he loved the scene, loved this country and it added that it couldn’t be any better.
Trustee Chessler stated that on behalf of the Board, it was unanimously decided that it would only be right to pass this digital photo to the family whose young son was the part of the calendar photograph, and directed this to Bernie Marucci and young son, Antonio and presented them with the photo frame to enjoy.
Mr. Marucci thanked the Board very much and added that his wife was unable to be here tonight but again stated that they very much appreciated being here this evening.
Public Speaks on items up for Board Approval:
Trustee Chessler stated that normally we do not have many people address the Board at this point, but added that based on the discussion at the last meeting, there may be several in the audience that would like to address the Board regarding the dispatching issue. Trustee Chessler stated that he asks for those who are interested in speaking to please sign up, adding that this is not an exhaustive list nor is anyone precluded from speaking if there is something that comes; explaining that we would like to keep this discussion as orderly and as civil as the last one. Trustee Chessler stated that he would go down the list and addressed Tim Blythe as the first speaker on the list.
Timothy Blythe, 2956 Bridgeton St. NW, Massillon 44646 – Mr. Blythe stated that at the last meeting he shared that he was against the idea of moving the dispatch center to a different location. Mr. Blythe stated that over the last two and a half to three weeks, he feels that there has been some mixed messages. Mr. Blythe stated that at the first meeting in which dispatching was discussed, it was emphasized that it was a safety issue; that we had to move to a different location because of safety. Mr. Blythe stated that there were several things that concerned him about safety and referred to a previous incident wherein a police officer was beaten. Mr. Blythe questioned that if there was a true concern in regard to safety, what was done at that time to prevent an incident like that from happening again. Mr. Blythe stated then we read in the newspaper that the dispatching issue is a money-saving issue. Mr. Blythe added that obviously it will be cheaper to consolidate but added that we just passed a levy that gives us additional funding and added that he is concerned that though we can all agree that there were no promises made, it was construed that we would maintain the services that we had and provide additional services. Mr. Blythe stated that at the very least, feels that you guys have been somewhat misleading about that.
Mr. Blythe also stated that earlier last week, he called Mr. Laubacher to share his concerns and relayed that he felt it was a mistake to outsource the dispatch. Mr. Blythe stated that Mr. Laubacher shared with him that one of the reasons was because the dispatchers were abusing the sick time policy. Mr. Blythe stated that came as a surprise to him and added that he doesn’t know of anyone that has been reprimanded in any way or has been fired that would cause him to believe that it is not being abused or if it is being abused, it is not being managed properly. Mr. Blythe stated that this becomes a management problem, not an issue wherein you would completely remove the dispatching services from the township.
Matt Gatchell, 629 Kolpwood Ave. NW, Massillon – Mr. Gatchell stated that Mr. Blythe knocked off the first six to eight points of his list and added that he also wanted to make note in regard to the mismanagement of the department. Mr. Gatchell stated that he felt there was no loyalty to the employees or to the public with regard to the levy being passed in that we were lead to believe that we would see an increase in services and at least a maintain of the services that we had. Mr. Gatchell stated that he for one voted for the levy this past year and as Tim said, thinks that we were mislead into believing and the first thing that the Police Chief does is want to remove services. Mr. Gatchell stated that we went through this in September 2010; the same Police Chief contacted the Board and asked to have the dispatch moved out of the Township. Mr. Gatchell stated that at that time the Township saw fit to form a communications committee and gave a brief summarization of the details regarding that 2010 communications committee.
Additionally, Mr. Gatchell stated that he thinks it is time for these Trustees that we just elected, that are voices of our people, to act tonight as elected officials and not act like politicians that you would rather be.
Paul Hervey, 229 Albany Dr. NW – Mr. Hervey stated that all he knows from what he read in the paper is that this is something that can save the Township $100,000 out of a 3 million dollar budget. Mr. Hervey stated that he doesn’t know if that is true; does not know the logistic issues or any employee related issues regarding dispatching, but added that as a citizen, he would like the Trustees to think about things seriously when they can save $100,000. Mr. Hervey stated that we can’t all have everything; there is $100,000 that could be spent on other things in this Township or $100,000 that we don’t have to spend. Mr. Hervey stated that if this is a consolidation of services that makes sense, and added that he doesn’t know that, but added that is what we elect the Trustees for; if this is a consolidation that makes sense in terms of the services we get, the protection we get in exchange of the money, then we need to do it. Mr. Hervey stated that he wants the Board to know that people are concerned about the budget issue too.
John Wellman, 622 Genoa Rd. SW – Officer Wellman stated that he is speaking on behalf of the patrolmen and the detectives union and read a letter that was drafted: “Perry Township Police Patrol Officers and Detectives Union would like to make it known that we support the Perry Township Police Dispatchers and that we are opposed to the outsourcing of our dispatch center or services”. Officer Wellman stated that secondly, their FOP representative, Lucy DeNardo wanted to attend tonight’s meeting, but was unable to do so because of a prior commitment. Officer Wellman further added that Ms. DeNardo did want it to be known that she also opposes this move and stated that she would be contacting the Board for further information.
Becky Anania, 4061 Knolls Ave. SW, Massillon – Mrs. Anania stated that everyone has made all the points that she wanted to make but added that as a citizen of Perry Township, she does not want to see this happen, referring to the outsourcing of the dispatch center. Mrs. Anania stated that she would like to see the dispatch stay just the way it is and added that she asks the Board to please support our officers and honor them and their wishes.
Steve Slone, 313 Gregwood SW, Beach City, OH – Officer Slone stated that he would like the Board to think of one major thing, if not a couple, the dispatchers that are present do a lot than they even get credit for. Officer Slone briefly explained how the dispatchers enter information into the data base for the officers saving them valuable time, as well as assisting with the search process for female suspects and assisting them with restroom procedures/samples. Officer Slone stated that this eliminates any possible issues and added that this is a huge asset to the police officers, something that they will lose if the dispatch is outsourced.
Debbie Ponieski, 5268 14th St. SW, Canton – Ms. Ponieski stated that she had several things she would like to say: Not everyone abuses their sick leave and added that is why she has almost 1,600 hours that she will potentially lose, making the point that she did not want to be grouped in as abusing sick leave. Ms. Ponieski stated that in regard to saving money, is there still or has there been in the budget for the past year and this year, money set aside for a sixth dispatcher. Fiscal Officer Schlegel stated that there is money in the budget now, correct. Ms. Ponieski inquired if there was still money in the budget for the deputy chief position. Fiscal Officer Schlegel stated that he did not believe that this was put in the budget. Ms. Ponieski stated that this was touched upon at last night’s dispatch meeting with the Chief; when we leave and after hours, after 4:00 pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays, who will let people in for the use of the Community Room, who will give out the key for Township Hall meetings, who will take the prescription drug drop off, who will watch the camera and lobby for the people who are doing domestic exchanges, who will be there when someone comes to the station at 11:00 pm needing to see an officer, who will be there two or three times a week when someone stops by for directions; are we hiring someone to fill that position, and if so, why is that money going to that and not staying with the dispatch budget.
Miranda Goldsmith, 3844 Clark St. SW, Massillon 44646 – Ms. Goldsmith stated that she loves Perry Township, she was born and raised here and has faith in Perry Police knowing that when she would call, she would have someone from her own Township answering her call and have faith in the police officers to arrive. Ms. Goldsmith stated that once you start outsourcing one job, there are more jobs to follow and added that it is being said that we are going to save money, but we are still going to be spending money and sending it to the Red Center. Ms. Goldsmith added that it makes her more concerned knowing that these men and women are going to be out on these streets and the calls are going to be dispatched to people that don’t even know our Township. Ms. Goldsmith stated that even if our dispatchers do go to this other center, who is to say that they are going to receive that call. Ms. Goldsmith inquired if time checks had been done to see how long it is going to take for that dispatch center to send over to dispatch one of our officers. Ms. Goldsmith briefly expressed her opinion regarding saving money and her opinion concerning outsourcing a whole department just because there are issues with sick pay. Ms. Goldsmith also inquired if we would be charged with each individual phone call made to the dispatch at the Red Center for one of our officers.
Trustee Haines said the answer to that is no and explained that the fee is paid by a flat fee for every township resident. Trustee Haines explained that for every township resident, and there are approximately 28,000 residents in Perry Township, there is a flat fee of $10.29 per resident. Trustee Haines stated that this is the fee that the Red Center charges every agency that they dispatch for; that dollar figure may go down with us coming on because there will be more people in there and that dollar figure may drop. Trustee Haines stated that they don’t know that, but who they dispatch for now is paying this fee of $10.29 per resident and added that it is not based on the amount of calls contrary to how the fire department is billed.
Ms. Goldsmith stated that we are Perry Township for a reason; we are family oriented and we love to raise our kids to be Perryites and we like to keep our family within our community. Ms. Goldsmith added that saving money sometimes isn’t the best and relayed that she doesn’t know the numbers behind the decision but added that keeping things within Perry is what makes Perry very unique.
Officer Slone inquired if this was a flat fee. Trustee Haines indicated that was correct. Officer Slone stated that this may be heresay, but he heard that Massillon’s bill just went up $50,000. Trustee Haines stated that he cannot answer for Massillon but indicated that Massillon’s contract is the same as ours and they are paying $10.29 for every resident in Massillon. Trustee Haines also stated that he cannot imagine that Massillon having an influx of residents to that amount and added that he cannot answer to what their bill is but knows that every agency that is part of that pays the same. Trustee Haines also stated that village such as Wilmont, the amount of residents they have are a fraction of what Jackson Township or Massillon has so they pay based on how many residents they have; that is also how many calls they have so it is all based on scale.
Trustee Haines stated to go back to one comment regarding dispatch; all 911 calls for Stark County go to Stark County Sheriff’s Office to Stark Com and from there it is coming to Perry Dispatch or to the Red Center or Cen Com, all come out of Stark Com. Trustee Haines stated they have to forward that call to Perry Dispatch or Red Center; that maintains the same; there is still one call that has to happen, a transfer.
Mr. Blythe inquired where do we fall in the priority list and added that obviously we are not the largest entity in that group so when the phone starts ringing, somebody takes priority over us, where do we fall in the foodchain.
Trustee Haines stated that right now the Red Center has three dispatch councils and they are all sitting back to back; actually a total of five; three police and two fire. Trustee Haines stated that the three police are manned 24/7; for fire, one council is monitored twenty four and the other is monitored sixteen hours a day. Trustee Haines explained that one of those councils are set up for Jackson, one for Massillon and one they call the county which is all the other small entities. Trustee Haines stated that they are all sitting back to back so if the county is not busy and Jackson is getting three calls at a time, they turn around to that person. Trustee Haines stated that what they were told is if Perry would join with them, they will put a fourth council in there and that fourth council will basically be for Perry Township.
Trustee Haines also indicated that Perry has met with the Red Center and one of the things we stated that we were concerned about is our five (5) dispatchers’ jobs. Trustee Haines stated that the Red Center has given us a letter of intent to give all of our dispatchers first opportunity for an interview before they would interview anybody else. Trustee Haines briefly indicated that four of the fourteen dispatchers at the Red Center live in Perry Township and if our five dispatchers would join them, that would be a numerous amount that would be very familiar with Perry Township. Trustee Haines also indicated that if our dispatchers would join the Red Center, initially they would be dispatching for Perry but would ultimately be cross trained on fire and all other agencies as well.
Mr. Blythe verified that the Red Center has promised that they would look at the Perry Township dispatchers first. Trustee Haines indicated to take care of what is being said and restated that the Red Center gave a letter of intent to give the Perry Township dispatchers the first opportunity to interview with them.
Mr. Blythe inquired if the Trustees would take the next step and indicate that if Perry would join the Red Center, we would want those dispatchers to be guaranteed to come on board; if they don’t make it through the 90 day period, that would be an entirely different issue, but at least the necessary measures were taken to ensure that their jobs were protected until they would get through the probationary period.
Trustee Haines stated that we cannot tell a company to hire somebody and added that he spoke very highly and direct with them that this is what we wanted, but ultimately they cannot tell them how to run their agency. Trustee Haines stated that the Red Center was present when they met with the dispatchers last night; the dispatchers heard it from the Executive Director of the Red Center and in the presence of the Logic Board, that they would get the first chance.
Trustee Chessler stated that they could not be guaranteed jobs but just short of that, the commitment is made and they realize that our dispatchers have the skill set that they are looking for. Trustee Chessler added that the Red Center will need additional people and our dispatchers have the skill set coming in; without making a guarantee, which they cannot do, they have committed directly to those people that would be affected by this that they have the opportunity if they choose to do the same job at a different location. Trustee Chessler added that there would be further discussions and dialogue as to what the specific benefits would be, and additionally stated that as far as continued employment, we had made that a big part of the discussion and added that the closest thing we could get to a guarantee is what we have looked at.
Trustee Haines indicated that the Red Center’s dispatchers are under the FOP union also.
Mr. Blythe stated that it took the Board six months to figure out how to shut street lights off, but in three weeks, you have figured out how to get rid of a dispatch center. Mr. Blythe stated that we talk about this 911 outage which is what spurred this whole thing yet back in October there were discussions with the Red Center about quoting the transfer of the dispatching center; that was before even the election happened and that is where this whole misleading idea comes in, we weren’t being told the whole truth.
Trustee Chessler directed to Mr. Blythe that he was characterizing it that way but added that as he has stated previously, the idea of dispatching is something that has come up to the surface at various points over the last 15 – 20 years, four or five times. Trustee Chessler stated that he thinks that Mr. Blythe was mis-characterizing by implying that all of a sudden and out of the blue, we are disbanding the dispatch system. Trustee Chessler stated that it was correct in saying that we looked at outsourcing dispatching back in 2010 and it did not come to fruition then but it did not go away. Trustee Chessler added that technology changes, the opportunities out there have changed and Chief Pomesky wanted to look at this again and the Board agreed that he should do so.
Chief Pomesky stated that he could also address Mr. Blythe’s statement regarding obtaining pricing quotes for dispatching back in October and added that he had done so since there was a strong concern that if our levy did fail, we were going to have to make some very strong adjustments and very quickly. Chief Pomesky stated that one of the things that was identified was by regionalizing that center almost immediate or as fast as we could, it could save and keep additional officers on the street. Chief Pomesky stated that the issue had become that if the levy went down and we retained our dispatch center, we were drastically reducing the amount of officers that we would be able to send to the calls. Chief Pomesky stated that if presented an opportunity into getting some insight on some options should it go the other way, we were developing plans A, B, and C depending on the outcome.
Mr. Blythe stated that would have been great to know because he had asked for those plans, but those plans were never shared and added that this lead to another issue he had regarding additional officers. Mr. Blythe stated that at the last meeting Chief Pomesky indicated that he had a stack of resumes that he was going through and inquired where were they. Mr. Blythe stated that he had asked for them and received three copies of dispatch positions that were over a year old and added how long does it take to go through an application. Also, Mr. Blythe inquired how many officers are we looking for and what are we doing to make the public known that we are looking for officers; we haven’t used the marquee out front, we haven’t used the website, we haven’t used any media sites, we haven’t done any press releases, are we supposed to just assume that people know that Perry Police is looking for some officers and they just show up, how do we do that.
Chief Pomesky stated that one of the great things that we have in Perry Township is a good reputation for being a good employer and added we have not had the need to advertise for officers prior to him applying to be with these agencies. Chief Pomesky stated that he has over 100 resumes in his office and added that as part of the selection committee he has sent out two (2) supervisors to be trained in hiring as well as their union rep, Jason Fisher, in order to form a hiring committee to screen the candidates for employment for Perry Township to get good, solid candidates.
Mr. Blythe inquired why that wasn’t provided to him when he asked for a public records request. Chief Pomesky stated that Mr. Blythe asked for applications and indicated that he had resumes. Mr. Blythe stated that when you turn in resumes, that is an application for employment. Chief Pomesky stated that he does not have a problem disclosing those resumes but indicated that Mr. Blythe had asked for applications.
Melissa Elliott, 109 Crescentview Dr. SW – Ms. Elliott stated that she spoke with Trustee Haines yesterday and indicated that he understands that this is very emotional for all of us. Ms. Elliott explained that she has worked for this Township for 16 years and if she has to go work somewhere else, she understands that, but this will be a new journey in her life. Ms. Elliott stated that her biggest concern is that they, referring to the officers, will be safe out there. Ms. Elliott also briefly stated that she would have liked to have known back in October when they were pushing for and helping to pass the levy that this, referring to outsourcing the dispatch, that this would be something she would have to worry about.
Trustee Laubacher stated during the levy preparation, it was not necessarily planned for dispatch to be outsourced, but added that as Chief had stated, if the levy had not passed, there was question in regard to specifically what would have to be cut. Trustee Laubacher stated that he also wants to be certain that if dispatching is outsourced, we have something in place regarding the public being able to reach out to the police station if and when needed.
Melissa Elliott inquired why wouldn’t we just keep the people that are already there.
Trustee Laubacher gave a brief explanation regarding dispatching calls and an example of when calling the police station, being put on hold because it was indicated that he was not making an emergency call. Trustee Laubacher explained that if he had been making an emergency call, considered the possibility of whether his call would have been able to be attended to. Trustee Laubacher added that he felt this is not something that could be assured.
Mr. Blythe inquired why the Chief would not be able to answer that and added he would think that there would be a report that would show a delay in any 911 emergency service that dispatching was not able to handle.
Chief Pomesky stated that they look at the time that the calls are answered on the phone system but added that it is very difficult to track when it is an emergency or not. Chief Pomesky stated that basically it would boil down to going through every recorded conversation for the department. Chief Pomesky stated that one thing that would help them track this information even better is to have a CAD system inside the department, but added that it is a very expensive piece of software to be able to achieve.
Pete Elliott, 2601 Graydon Ave. SW – Mr. Elliott stated that he was here two weeks ago and made reference to several officers talking about their safety. Mr. Elliott stated that he did not feel anyone paid attention to the safety topic, but felt that all that was being worried about was getting rid of the dispatching jobs and the cost savings. Mr. Elliott inquired where is cost savings when you are trying to protect the officers. Mr. Elliott stated that he does not think it has a thing to do with cost savings, he thinks it is a personal thing.
Trustee Chessler stated that they would refer and continue back to the next Agenda item.
Township Business requiring Board Action: None.
Unfinished Business: None.
Trustee Chessler made a motion to approve bills and payroll in the amount of $155,811.91 for the week ending February 10, 2015 and bills in the amount of $20,618.01 for the week ending February 17, 2015 for a combined total of $176,429.92; Seconded by Trustee Laubacher.
ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes. Mr. Haines, yes. Mr. Laubacher, yes.
Trustee Chessler made a motion to accept the minutes of the January 20, 2015 Regular Meeting; Seconded by Trustee Laubacher.
ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes. Mr. Haines, yes. Mr. Laubacher, yes.
Fire Department: None.
Consider Recommendation for Dispatch Services
Chief Pomesky stated that over the last several weeks, a review of our current dispatch services at the police department has been conducted. Meetings have been held with several dispatch centers in an effort to evaluate the benefits they can offer to progressively serve Perry Township. The issues giving rise to this evaluation are as follows:
- The ability for the dispatch center to handle significant/large incidents while maintaining current services for our community.
- The ability for the dispatch center to focus on our officers when they are engaged in a critical incident.
- The ability to collaborate with agencies we typically mutual aid with to share information promoting both safe and efficient operations for our officers and community.
- Long term collaboration efforts for next generation computer software (CAD,RMS, etc.)
- Long term planning for the next generation radio system.
- The ability to tie this into a fiscally efficient plan.
- The opportunity for our existing dispatchers to be part of a more progressive dispatch center.
Chief Pomesky continued and read detailed specifics and gave further explanation of his evaluation and recommendation in his report to the Board of Trustees regarding the dispatch services. Chief Pomesky stated that based upon the evaluation for current and available dispatch services, his formal recommendation is for the Perry Township Board of Trustees to consider contracting with the RED Center for dispatch services.
Chief Pomesky additionally stated that the expense to Perry Township annually for 2015 by moving operations to the RED Center would be $291,917.00 and added that our price would be prorated to match the date of migration to their dispatch center. Chief Pomesky stated that as the Board is aware, our current projected price for dispatching expenses is $406,236.67 for 2015. This, in turn, is a savings of $114,319.67 annually.
In closing, Chief Pomesky summarized by stating that this move to the RED Center enables us to leverage opportunities collaboratively with software, technology, radios, and future grants to acquire the next generation equipment to serve Perry Township.
Trustee Laubacher inquired of Chief Pomesky that he made mention of the Logic Board being the head of the RED Center and asked who is the Logic Board. Chief Pomesky stated that the Logic Board is formed of each Chief from every department or entity that participates with them. Chief Pomesky stated that the Logic Board governs the center and added that when policy decisions come up for the center, the Chiefs discuss it, vet the processes out, make the decision and then it is implemented by the director of the RED Center. Chief Pomesky briefly explained the RED Center process for dispatching and stated that this is a significant step in the right direction and added that it is progressive and it represents something that we need to fairly look at.
Trustee Laubacher inquired of Chief Pomesky if this Board would also control the rate which we have to pay. Chief Pomesky stated that they do and added that when the rate increases come to fruition and they are discussed, they are voted on by the local Chiefs, that is a fair governance process, so if the rate for dispatch increases, your Chief has had input and a vote on that process. Chief Pomesky additionally stated that this is also an opportunity to keep our Board engaged in it for input as well.
Trustee Haines stated that one of the things that came up during these meetings is the matter regarding all of our Perry schools recently purchasing radios whereby they can communicate directly with our dispatch. Trustee Haines added that those radios are already being used by Jackson schools so all of these newly purchased radios for the Perry local schools will also fall under this program to have direct access to the dispatch center. Trustee Haines stated that every police department has different protocols in how they dispatch as well as how many officers they send to any specific call; all of our protocols will go with us. They will do what we ask them to do as far as protocols.
Trustee Haines referred to Officer Slone’s comment regarding officer safety and stated that per his conversation with Chief Pomesky at the beginning of this process, the first priority is the residents of Perry Township, the second priority is officer safety, and third, many other points regarding pricing. Trustee Haines stated that Officer Slone made a comment at the last meeting regarding complaints against the RED Center at the Massillon Police Department and added that he had reached out to the Massillon mayor and Safety Director as well as the Massillon Chief of Police and couldn’t find anything. Trustee Haines stated that he has done a lot of homework on this system and how it operates and added that there is nothing more important to him than the three mentioned items and in that order. Trustee Haines stated that he did not want to discount officer safety but added that Perry Township is who we are all here to serve. Trustee Haines stated that these are the questions he made sure to inquire about while going through this process. Trustee Haines also stated that this decision is made with a heavy heart because of the connections with our dispatch and the officers. Trustee Haines gave a brief account regarding conversations to try and get our dispatchers to be a part of the RED Center because they do know our officers. Trustee Haines also stated that with having other residents of Perry Township working at the RED Center, felt that this was the one who had the most vested interest in what Perry Township is.
Trustee Chessler stated that he would like to piggy back on several points Trustee Haines had made. Trustee Chessler stated that Trustee Laubacher has been out on the streets with emergency responses for a long time and added that he has had an opportunity to be involved over the last 15 or so years with the Stark Council of Governments and they have been involved with the idea of dispatching and radios and regionalizing and consolidating services. Trustee Chessler also stated that he wanted to thank Trustee Haines for being our Board volunteer to go out this time and gather the information and understand all there is that goes into the dispatching of the safety forces to emergency calls. Trustee Chessler stated that he agrees with Trustee Haines in that our focus has to be on providing the best service to Perry Township residents as well as officer safety and also just as important of not displacing anybody in their employment; and providing the best opportunity we could so that none of the people who are employed by Perry Township and has served us so long and so well would not have an opportunity to continue in that role, albeit at a different location.
Trustee Chessler stated that in hearing all the comments voiced here briefly summarized by stating that a compelling case has been made that this operation would be equally or more efficient to the public that we enhance or provide the best we can for officer safety, cost savings. Trustee Chessler added that cost savings is not the be all and end all but is something that we are charged with that responsibility of being prudent with the tax dollars. Trustee Chessler stated that he thinks this is a move that will further enhance and embrace collaboration with our neighbors. Trustee Chessler briefly explained that being at Stark Com last week and Can Com, the people that sit at those dispatch centers everywhere are very committed people, as are our own dispatchers, it is a difficult job. The connections at the RED Center also have their connections to Perry Township so this is another factor that added to why this seems to be the right move at the right time. Trustee Chessler stated that we did do a study back in 2010 and now we are five years beyond that; the technology, the configuration and the opportunities are all different. Trustee Chessler stated that in another two years, we will be on a whole different ride; there is a new generation of radio communications coming into play and we need to be in the model here that we can adapt and go onto that next configuration.
Trustee Laubacher referred to Officer Slone and stated that if this matter passes tonight, a number of you have brought up a number of different items; regarding searching female suspects and entering data. Trustee Laubacher stated that in talking with Chief Pomesky, it is going to take quite a few months before this comes about, if it does come about and these things are something that we really need to look at and try to help solve these problems; who will be at the police station, how can our residents reach a police officer during off hours, all of these items, we will try and help solve these issues if we do go to the RED Center.
Trustee Haines referred to Chief Pomesky’s reference to the CAD system and added that countywide has taken on the CAD system this year whereby October 2015, there will be a countywide CAD system that Can Com, Stark Com and RED Center will all be using and will be inter-related. Trustee Haines stated that in the next years, there may be a whole other level with dispatch centers that may even force it more into countywide because of the State funding that is going to be behind that; we do not know that now, but countywide dispatching is probably closer now than it has ever been in being able to move forward. Trustee Haines stated that with our dispatchers landing at RED Center and being able to do that, they are going to have a much better grasp on what is going on countywide with being able to use the CAD system. Trustee Haines stated that as we move forward with this, if that happens, the dispatchers will be part of all the training over the next six to eight months with this CAD system until it goes into effect; there is a lot of training and background that will go into this as well.
Trustee Chessler made a motion to authorize the Police Chief, with the assistance and council of the Law Director, to enter into a multi-year agreement with the Logic Board for dispatching and related services by the RED Center and to incorporate this agreement and commitment made by the Logic Board to offer employment to our current employees of Perry Township serving as dispatchers; that this agreement include the terms that have been represented to be $10.29 per resident of Perry Township for a proposed amount of annual expenditure of $291,917.20; Seconded by Trustee Haines.
Trustee Laubacher stated that he would like to make sure that we cover these other issues. Trustee Haines stated that there is a lot to work on over the next six to eight months when this happens.
ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes. Mr. Haines, yes, Mr. Laubacher, yes.
Consider Purchasing Additional Road Deicing Salt
Trustee Chessler stated that this item was added over the weekend due to the weather and urgent circumstances. Trustee Chessler stated that the Road Superintendent is requesting $50,000 be transferred from the Road District Fund to be used for salt purchases if necessary.
Trustee Chessler made a motion, based on the request of the Road Superintendent, that the Board authorize the Fiscal Officer to implement a transfer of $50,000 from the Road District Fund 11-C-2 to be used for salt purchases if necessary; Seconded by Trustee Haines.
ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes. Mr. Haines, yes. Mr. Laubacher, yes.
Consider Approving Stark County Engineer 2014 Highway Mileage
Trustee Chessler stated that the Board received the annual letter from the Stark County Engineer requesting the approval of the Township highway mileage of Township roads currently listed to be 145.160 miles of public roads in Perry Township.
Trustee Chessler made a motion that the Board approve the 2014 Township Highway Mileage, execute it and return to the County Engineer; Seconded by Trustee Laubacher.
ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes. Mr. Haines, yes. Mr. Laubacher, yes.
Status Update on Health District Committee
Trustee Chessler stated that Law Director Hall has requested to update the Board on our efforts with regard to our funding of the Stark County Health District.
Law Director Hall stated that it looks like the question will again come before the Stark County Budget Commission the first week of March 2015. Mr. Hall stated that as soon as he receives the meeting date and time from Mr. Oates, he will notify the Board and added that he plans on being there to object to that assessment that places the Township back into the negative realm. Mr. Hall stated that secondly, from talking with Mr. Oates and Fiscal Officer Schlegel, it looks like all the Stark County members of CLOUT, including Jackson Township and Plain Township, will be in the same position. Mr. Hall stated that Fiscal Officer Schlegel has been discussing that with other Fiscal Officers of these Townships and added that today he has circulated to the Board a draft of a request to the Attorney General for an opinion letter on that issue and is waiting for input from the law directors of Plain and Jackson Township so this matter is moving forward.
Trustee Laubacher referred to a meeting several weeks ago that he and Fiscal Officer Schlegel and Law Director Hall had with Ben Sommers, Fiscal Officer from Lake Township had and added that he felt that they had a good plan that they are going forward with. Trustee Laubacher stated that they will keep the Board informed of all the steps they are going through.
Trustee Chessler stated that just so the audience members know, every year the Township is assessed by the Stark County Health Department for the costs incurred for running the health department and those are imposed upon the Townships, Perry, Plain, Jackson and Lake, the four largest Townships. Trustee Chessler explained that because of the loss of revenue in our General Fund, this assessment puts us in the negative balance at times with our funds and feel that it is unfair that this is forced upon us without us having a say so we are challenging the methodology with by which the health department receives its funding. Trustee Chessler stated that what we are doing now is because we have common questions among the Townships, we are asking the State of Ohio Attorney General to render an opinion as to whether or not that current methodology is correct; this would have a binding effect, not as a court decision would, but it would have a binding effect on how those monies are collected; again, we are looking for ways to conserve and protect our General Fund dollars.
Consider Text Amendment PE 01-15
Trustee Chessler stated that Zoning Inspector Weckbacher had submitted, for the Board’s consideration, Perry Case Number 01-15, text amendments, considered by the Stark County Regional Planning Commission on December 23, 2014; they recommended approval with some modifications. Trustee Chessler stated that our Zoning Commission considered these on January 15, 2015 and they recommended approval with some modifications. Trustee Chessler inquired of Zoning Inspector Weckbacher what those modifications were.
Zoning Inspector Weckbacher stated that Regional Planning did not specify which areas that these amendments were for; it is when B2 commercial, B1 Office/Retail/Business and ID Industrial buffer to residential. Mr. Weckbacher stated that there was an issue last year where it was not clearly specified therefore, the Zoning Commission met to make this very specific so it would be clear as to how far they have to have a buffer area; it was submitted to Regional Planning and their recommendation was for approval but with some modifications. Mr. Weckbacher stated that the Zoning Commission met and specificed criteria that Regional Planning had for their modifications such words as in depth to depict how far away from the property line and several other things; those changes were made and forwarded to Law Director Hall for his approval.
Trustee Chessler inquired of Law Director Hall if he had incorporated those modifications. Mr. Hall stated that he would like to suggest to the Board that Zone Commission, Mr. Weckbacher made all the requested amendments. Mr. Hall added that he has reviewed them and it is ready for consideration. Mr. Hall also stated that he joins the Zone Commission and the Zoning Inspector in recommending that this zone change be implemented.
Trustee Laubacher verified that these zone changes were because of the situation down on Navarre Road. Trustee Chessler stated that was correct. Trustee Laubacher verified it will solve this. Zoning Inspector Weckbacher stated that it will not change that because these are new laws that will not affect them; they are grandfathered under the old laws; they will only apply to future applications.
Trustee Chessler stated that we probably have not seen the last situation where a person who is engaging in commercial activity is going to have property that abuts a residential property; since we have updated our code, we should have more tools available to make sure that the interests of the commercial landowner and the residential property owner are balanced. Mr. Weckbacher stated that there should be no question now with these modifications to our zoning.
Trustee Laubacher inquired if these results were okayed by Regional Planning. Trustee Chessler stated that was correct and added that what is before us this evening is the normal zoning case where the Board will affirm the recommendations of the zoning commission.
Trustee Chessler made a motion with regard to Case Number PE 01-15 that the Board of Trustees approve and adopt the recommendations of the Perry Township Zoning Commission, that being an approval of modifications; Seconded by Trustee Laubacher.
ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes. Mr. Haines, yes. Mr. Laubacher, yes.
Consider Deadline for the BZA Alternate Position
Trustee Chessler stated that at the February 3, 2015 meeting, the Board had accepted the resignation of Marc Shefelton and elevated the current alternate member of the Board of Zoning Appeals to sit on that Board of Zoning Appeals and also opened up applications to the Township to apply for the alternate position. Trustee Chessler stated that he neglected to establish an end date for that and added that this is the last regular meeting of this Board for the month of February; if the Board is in agreement, we can close the opportunity to submit letters of interest at the end of February and consider appointment the first meeting of March.
Executive Session(s): None.
Department Matters Not Requiring Board Action:
Fire Department: None.
Police Department: None.
Road Department: None.
Law Director: None.
Public Speaks-Open Forum:
Tim Blythe – stated that what Trustee Laubacher had previously said regarding the dispatch outsource had made a lot of sense in that we have to be pro active about the things that we understand need to be addressed and are now in react mode; the Board has selected to outsource the dispatching and added that he doesn’t know what the hurry was; what was wrong with identifying those issues and coming up with a solution before this was voted on.
Trustee Haines stated that dispatch will not be outsourced until CAD is up and running which the county is saying is in October. Trustee Haines stated that during discussions and including the meeting last night, these issues were discussed. Trustee Haines stated that we know we have to work through these issues and still have ten months until this comes about. Trustee Haines stated that back in January when it was decided to look into the matter of dispatch outsourcing, there was a 30-45 day window put on this to complete the mission of searching. Trustee Haines stated that we have done that, we have researched this, we have talked to our dispatchers, we have done due diligence. Trustee Haines stated there will be a lot of things that will come up in the next six to eight months in this regard; this is a change and we will have to work through those issues. Trustee Haines briefly added that it will be up to Chief Pomesky who will be manning those particulars and added that just as Massillon and Jackson work in the same capacity, they make it work and we will work to see how these issues are dealt with.
Tim Blythe – stated that he hopes that he is wrong but fears that this Board has sabotaged the chance of passing the fire levy this May. Mr. Blythe also inquired that in October when this will all take effect, Chief Pomesky had the audacity to ask for an 18% raise the day after the levy passed, after 15% of his work force and 10% of his budget is gone, obviously his responsibilities are going to be less than what they are now; is there going to be a cut in pay based on the difference in responsibilities.
Trustee Chessler stated that some questions Mr. Blythe asks merit a response but that one does not.
Trustee Laubacher stated that he does not feel that the actions the Board took this evening are going to affect the fire levy. Mr. Blythe stated that he hopes they don’t. Trustee Laubacher stated that he does not feel it will and added that people realize what the fire department is as opposed to the police department. Trustee Laubacher stated that what the Fire Chief has proposed in his request for the money is to be able to provide full time fire employees in two of the stations at night, this is going to benefit all of the people. Trustee Laubacher added that he feels this is what will pass the fire levy, knowing that the residents realize how important it is to be able to get an ambulance to them in a short amount of time.
Trustee Chessler stated many people that have come here and have written on the blogs are saying the promise was made not to cut services. Trustee Chessler stated this is a distorted manipulation of the idea to say that we are cutting services; we provided dispatching before and we are continuing to provide dispatching, we are not cutting any services, we are reconfigurating, and added that he feels it will be done in a better way. Trustee Chessler stated that to say that we broke a promise is just not true. To say there were promises made that we were going to hire a sixth dispatcher; Trustee Chessler added that he was at the levy meetings, the Board meetings when answering questions, developed literature and made representations about what we were going to do and what we weren’t going to do and none of that is there. Trustee Chessler stated that the arguments that are driving this whole opposition to the idea that we have lied to the people, these things just did not happen.
Trustee Chessler added that no promises were made in regard to dispatching; we promised to enhance service, but we all understood that to mean that we are trying to put more officers on the street to do police work.
John Wellman – inquired with the money that is being saved by outsourcing, what is the intention for this money for the police department, is it to hire more officers, cruisers, is there anything planned.
Trustee Chessler stated that we will do what we do every year. Trustee Chessler added that this is a commitment that we have made and at the end of the year, our Police Chief will submit to us a budget and he is going to know how much money he is going to have to work with next year because the Fiscal Officer will tell him. Trustee Chessler added that the Chief will come to the Board and indicate that he proposes to spend the money in what particular way for the next year. Trustee Chessler stated that he expects, since we have passed the levy, and since we are going to be realizing cost savings, Chief Pomesky will be coming to the Board to say ‘here is how I want to change the configuration of personnel’, whether it be with a promotion, hiring new people or support staff. Trustee Chessler stated that we look to the Police Chief at the end of the year to tell us what he is going to do. This is not something we can identify this evening as we will in December.
Dave Kerestes, 3500 Lincolnway E., Apt. 4, Massillon – Mr. Kerestes stated that he wanted to speak this evening about fires as he has had four of them. Mr. Kerestes briefly explained the fires he experienced and made a point of expressing that the Perry dispatchers were doing their due diligence in his particular situation(s).
With nothing further to come before the Board, Trustee Chessler made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:27 pm; Seconded by Trustee Laubacher.
ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes. Mr. Haines, yes. Mr. Laubacher, yes.
Craig Chessler, President Joe Schlegel, Fiscal Officer