At the Vermilion City Council Meeting on Monday, January 6, 2020, Mayor Forthofer provided reports on the Mapleview Ditch, Dead Cell Zone Progress, the City's IT, Fire House 1, Defense Soap, Joint Health Care Committee, Labor Negotiations, and Tom Pesek.

Mapleview Ditch

December 10th, the mayor attended the final Mapleview Ditch hearing in the Lorain County Commissioners' Chambers. At that meeting, the Commissioners unanimously accepted the County Engineers recommendation for the Mapleview Ditch project to relieve flooding. The cost of the project is $89,000, paid from the county storm water fund and $10,000 paid by Brownhelm Township. Commissioners said resident assessments are yet to be determined.

The mayor spoke before the commissioners regarding a fair assessment to Vermilion property owners. Purchase of a 5.5-acre piece of property to the south of the ditch is also planned as an easement to facilitate work on the ditch. However, a law suit was recently filed by the property owners.

“A spring project start seems optimistic to me in light of litigation and loose ends,” stated the mayor.

Dead Cell Zone Progress

Representatives from Verizon met with the city's IT manager Richard Pozywak and the mayor at the site of VFD Station 2 on December 27th. Verizon plans to locate a mini cell on the site to boost cell reception in the VOL area. Once placed, the mini cell will provide improved reception for only a 12 mile radius.

“This placement of mini cells and others will chip away at the dead zone until Plan A can be achieved in 2020,” stated the mayor. “Plan A now seems likely. Plan A is placement of a full-strength cell on the monotower at Overlook and Liberty.”

“Both the mini and full-size cell placements are in the hands of Verizon's real-estate department and our friends in the legal community,” said the mayor.

The City's IT

The mayor stated the City is gratified to see the LifeCare IT support personnel digging into the City's IT infrastructure and identifying vulnerabilities and urgent needs.

“The lead IT manager, Richard Pozywak, is also instrumental in working with Verizon for better reception, not only for the public but our service departments,” said the mayor. “I believe the LifeCare arrangement is the right course to eventually running the City and its critical functions on a solid IT infrastructure.”

Fire House 1

Thomas and Marker, general contractor for the building of Fire House 1, completed the bidding process for contractors on December 31.

“They will be reviewing and weighing results the following week and will meet with the Fire House Committee thereafter,” said Mayor Forthofer.

A spring ground breaking is planned. 

Defense Soap

“Defense Soap is coming along nicely,” said the mayor. “I did a walk though of their building today. They've had a quarter million dollars of concrete poured. Their landscaping plans are very attractive. The whole site should be a show place on Liberty when finished.”

Defense Soap is planning a grand opening in February. 

Joint Health Care Committee

Joint Health Care Committee, a committee of members of the administration and unions, met on December 17, 2019 regarding an issue concerning the application of health care coverage for employees hired mid year. The Finance Director was able to research the situation and provide the unions with a favorable resolution, according to Mayor Forthofer.

Labor Negotiations

“Continue Bargaining has been a big part of our days in the Administration over the past months,” stated the mayor. “Before Council tonight is the agreement reached between the Administration and the Fraternal Order of Police. This agreement was ratified by the F.O.P. December 30th. After Council's review, I ask that the rules be suspended, and the agreement voted on tonight.”

Tom Pesek

“Finally, I want to observe the December passing of Tom Pesek,” said Mayor Forthofer. “Tom was a current member of the Contractor Registration Board. His contribution of time and experience to the betterment of the community is very much appreciated. Our condolences are extended to his widow Nancy and family.”

The First Reading of Ordinance 2020-1: An Ordinance Authorizing The Mayor To Enter Into An Agreement With The Fraternal Order Of Police And Declaring An Emergency, was approved by City Council. Council adopted the ordinance by emergency.