SOUTH RUSSELL — After initially proposing to hire the Chagrin Valley Fire Department to perform fire marshal services for the village, Mayor William Koons instead recommended contracting with Bainbridge resident Sean Davis for $23 an hour.
“Sean knows the fire code, teaches the code at Auburn Career Center,” Mayor Koons explained at the Monday Village Council meeting. “He had a very good interview. He handles himself well and I’m proud to say he’s a former student of mine.”
Mayor Koons said he initially suggested the Chagrin department because some fire marshals have the tendency to become lax about their responsibilities after spending a few months in the position. He added that the CVFD likely would cost more than five times the $5,000 the village usually budgets for fire marshal services.
Council unanimously approved the creation of the fire marshal position.
South Russell Police Chief Michael Rizzo said other new hires may be coming down the pipeline as he has three part-time officers in the process of potentially being sworn in this month after the department receives the results of required psychological evaluations.
Council accepted the resignations of Lt. Michael Fabian and Corp. Michael Cardaman, two seven-year village police officers.
“Mike (Fabian) and I go back to our Berkshire days, he was a student of mine,” Councilman Gerald Canton recalled. “I am very proud of the man he has become and I want to wish him nothing but the best.”
Mark Porter also offered some words of support. “I hope the corporal’s example and service go on as he did here.”
Corp. Cardaman and Lt. Fabian were both sworn into the South Russell police force in 2013.
Council also voted to approve an ordinance amending pay ranges for village employees as a result of the new Building Department Administrative Assistant/Board Clerk/Assistant Zoning Inspector position that has been offered to Nancy Grattino, South Russell’s current administrative assistant and board clerk.
The mayor said some residents have had water enter their homes at least three times this year due to recent flooding caused by large storms, the latest of which occurred on Labor Day.
Village resident Eric Johnson and several others who live within the Preserve of Chagrin Homeowners Association reported particularly bad flooding in their 72-home area when the meeting opened up for public comment.
“We experienced pretty drastic flooding on Labor Day and I think we have a number of homeowners who would like the chance to speak to voice their concerns,” Mr. Johnson told council. “We have to get to the bottom of it. It’s becoming out of control.”
Council member Dennis Galicki suggested that Mr. Johnson and other homeowners check with a contractor to see if their houses had ever been connected to the village’s storm sewer system. He said that his had not been, which has caused flooding issues for him in the past.
Mayor Koons said he should know more to help Preserve of Chagrin residents at the next meeting on Sept. 28. Village Engineer Eric Haibach said employees from the county might be out in the affected areas around Alderwood Trail to perform smoke or dye testing on the storm sewers. He described them both as tests to see if water is flowing out of manholes properly using either smoke or dye as a visual aid.
Mayor Koons said he met with the 11 owners of the Chagrin Lakes Pond to see what the village could do to repair their dam. This comes after a bid to complete the project came in for $400,000.
Mr. Haibach said he’s also going to submit a pre-application for a $98,000 grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission to be used in paving Bel Meadow Lane off of Bell Street. The total project, he added, will cost $196,000 including engineering, and paving will involve base repair, chipping and sealing, adjusting all of the residential driveway and adding a two-inch overlay.
The village engineer also told council that he plans to submit an OPWC pre-application for a separate grant to replace the traffic signal at the corner of Bell Road and Chillicothe Road.
“There are issues with the pole boxes, issues with underground connections, issues with loop detectors,” he explained. “I’m looking at cost to replace that entire system with new technology. I’m at $292,000, and I think I have a real good shot at getting 50 percent funding for that.”
Councilwoman Cindy Nairn said that the Properties Committee discussed installing a botanical sound buffer for the front of the village’s cemetery. She plans to get cost estimates from nearby nurseries for trees that would help block the sound from Chillicothe Road.
“It’s a beautiful cemetery and Route 306 is very loud,” she told council. “I attended a military funeral at our cemetery in 2017 and you couldn’t hear the army bugle.”
In other village news, Chagrin Falls CrossFit will be moving from Unit H of 524 East Washington Street in Chagrin Falls to Suite D of 477 Industrial Parkway in South Russell after the Village Planning Commission approved the new tenant application last week.
“They’re both technically in South Russell,” Village Solicitor Bridey Matheney explained after the planning meeting.
Since Monday’s council meeting was running long, the trustees decided to begin their next meeting, currently scheduled on the village’s website calendar to take place at 5205 Chillicothe Road at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 28, with an executive session.