At Monday's meeting of the Austintown Township Trustees, two new reserve officer were added to the ranks and one sergeant was promoted. All three were sworn in before a packed house of family, friends and fellow officers.
The promotion was for Jeffrey Solic, who rose to the rank of detective lieutenant. Solic has been with the department since 1995 and is a member of the Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force. Police Chief Bob Gavalier said Solic normally worked narcotics, but has assisted and helped solve other investigations as well. He said the promotion was a good thing for his department.
"We're going in the right direction," Gavalier said.
Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Austintown fiscal officer Laura Wolfe administers the oath of office to Richard Lett and Chase Lemke, who both became members of the Austintown Police Department’s Reserve Force at Monday’s township meeting.
Following Solic's oath of office, Richard Lett and Chase Lemke took the oath and were sworn in as reserve officers. Gavalier said the addition of the two men would take the reserve ranks to five, but that could only be temporary.
"The problem we have is we hire reserve officers and they end up going into full-time service in a short time," the chief said. "By the end of next month we could easily go from five back to two."
He said the reserve forces allow officers to familiarize themselves with the township and operations before moving into a full-time position. It also showcases how dedicated the new prospects are. Gavalier said he would ideally like to see a reserve force of 10.
Trustee Lisa Oles praised fellow Trustee Jim Davis for being proactive in getting the reserve forces going again.
Moving from police to fire, trustees approved a motion for the costs contained in a Dec. 20 letter from fire Chief Andy Frost III to New York Marine Insurance for restitution costs totaling $1,910.11. The amount was to cover the response to a diesel fuel spill at 5400 Seventy-Six Drive.
"When we go on a HAZMAT (Hazardous Materials) call, we bill for the equipment we used," Frost said. "The law now requires us to bill through our local government."
He said that will mean bringing any request for reimbursement before the trustees who will now have to approve it before a bill is sent out.
During trustee comments at the end of Monday's meeting, Trustee Lisa Oles commented on two special individuals who passed away in recent weeks. June Stas, 77, died on Dec. 20. Oles said Stas was the first woman to serve as an Austintown township trustee, from 1990 to 1994.
Leah Davis, 93, passed away on Jan. 3. Davis served as the township zoning inspector for more than 20 years and held the distinction of being the first female zoning inspector in Ohio.
In other business:
Trustees approved Oct. 31, 2013 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. as the official township trick-or-treat hours this year. Chairman Jim Davis said, "We're getting it out of the way now. Believe it or not, this is the most controversial topic in our township."
Oles said she had received a large amount of emails and calls saying the choice of Rick Stauffer to replace David Ditzler was a good one. Stauffer was recently announced as Ditzler's replacement after he won election to a county commissioner seat.
Trustees approved township expenses for the 2013 Ohio Township Association conventions, seminars, and meetings attended by township officials.
Park Director Todd Shaffer said the park on Kirk Road will continue taking live Christmas trees from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays up to Jan. 31.
Zoning inspector Darren Crivelli reported on the demolishing of a house and garage at 3889 New Road. He said it will be demolished at a cost of $3,543 through a state/federal grant. It had been held up while a required environmental assessment was done. That assessment had come back clean for asbestos, so work can begin. He added there were several other properties listed for demolition, which will also have to have the assessment done first.
Trustees also approved declaring the following as nuisance properties and order the abate, control or removal of the nuisance: 4525 New Road for a dilapidated and collapsed carport; 68 Idaho Road for junk and debris; 23 Maple Drive for junk and debris; and 233 North Main St. for junk and debris including a large pile of roof shingles.