A crowd of family, friends and fellow firefighters attended the July 14 Austintown Township meeting to witness the swearing in of firefighter Tom Metzinger. He will now be serving as a lieutenant at Fire Station 3 on Raccoon Road.
Metzinger is a 2006 Ursuline graduate who joined the Austintown fire service in June of 2008. He will replace part-time Lt. John Racco, who moved to station captain when former part-time captain Keith Rosser moved to full-time firefighter at Station 1.
''We had several candidates, and Tom was the shinning choice,'' said Fire Chief Andy Frost. ''We couldn't be more proud of Tom. He has earned and deserves the respect of his fellow firefighters.''
Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Part-time firefighter Tom Metzinger takes the oath of office from Austintown Fiscal Officer Laura Wolfe at the July 14 trustees meeting. Metzinger will take over the duty of lieutenant at Fire Station 3 on Raccoon Road.
Following the swearing in, trustees moved on to regular business and approved a list of 25 nuisance properties, most for high grass. Zoning Inspector Darren Crivelli was asked to explain the process these and previous properties must go through to resolve high grass and nuisance complaints.
''The township has to follow the Ohio Revised Code,'' Crivelli said.
He said it starts when the township receives a complaint, usually from a resident who called it in at 330-799-3241. Crivelli will then drive by the property to validate the report and add the property to the nuisance list. Once that is done, the list is brought before trustees for a vote. Once trustees accept the list, the property owner will then receive a letter from the township asking for the problem to be resolved. It can involve high grass, junk and debris, or even a junk vehicle.
The letter normally gives the property owner seven days to remedy the situation. If it is not done, the township road crew will be sent out. Crivelli said it could be a month from when the report was received. He said right now the township is mowing a lot of high grass properties.
''Our Austintown Road Department has almost become a lawn service,'' he told trustees.
Once the property is mowed, the property taxes are assessed and the property is removed from the list. If the grass continues to gropw high again, the property is placed back on a nuisance list and the process has to be started all over.
''The best we can do on a vacant home is to cut it once a month,'' Crivelli explained.
Trustee Ken Carano said it all starts with the complaint and that is the main way high grass problems are handled.
''Don't assume the township has a person driving around looking for nuisances,'' Carano said. ''Most depend on a call or complaint.''
In other business:
* Senior Center director Jim Henshaw said the center is looking for a golf cart and anyone who may have one they don't need, and would like to donate it should contact the center.
* Trustee Jim Davis commented on the special tour at Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course. ''It was breathtaking,'' he said. ''It's so exciting to have it here in our community.''
* Two motions were approved to prepare for Issue I grant funds for road resurfacing in 2015. Township Administrator Mike Dockry said the township is seeking a $75,000 grant for next year, and the motions were needed to prepare the grant application.
* A motion was approved to award the 2014 paving program contract to Shelly and Sands at the lowest bid of $144 per cubic yard of asphalt and $10,000 per day for milling. He said the contract is in cooperation with Canfield and Boardman, who joined together to get a better price. The 2014 contract will repave about 9.5 miles of road.
* Trustees approved the demolition of a detached garage at 3813 Mahoning Ave., which was declared structurally defective by the Austintown Fire inspector.
* Park Supervisor Todd Shaffer reported that a concert will be held at the park on Aug. 22 for Train Wreck. The band has twice been on the park's concert schedule and has been rained out. The band asked for a special concert.
* The first motion requesting certification for the renewal of a .6-mill general fund levy was approved by trustees. Chair Lisa Oles said, ''This is a renewal, not a new levy or replacement.''
* Two motions were approved for the township to continue the natural gas aggregation program for the coming year.
* A motion was approved for a liquor license for Beulah Park Gaming, d.b.a. Hollywood at Mahoning Valley Race Course, 777 Hollywood Drive.