Portage running out of options for stoplight PDF Print E-mail
Written by By DEBBIE ROGERS Sentinel Staff Writer   
Saturday, 22 August 2009 07:25
portage_rotatorPORTAGE - A decision on whether the traffic light in the village stays or goes should be made at the Sept. 8 council meeting.
At Monday's council meeting, Mayor Mark Wolford said there is more research being done by the village and the Ohio Department of Transportation.
"We're running out of options here. We've given it everything we've got," he said. "If we don't accept their resolution by the next meeting, my guess is they'll start taking matters into their own hands."
ODOT representatives met last week with him, Village Administrator Ron Sharp, council members Jay Sockman and Marcia Wolford, and residents Gary Deutschman and Michael Brinkman, who have been doing their own research.
Mayor Wolford said the plan is to exchange letters detailing concerns, plus having ODOT do their own measurements at the Ohio 25 intersection where the light is located.
Wolford said he hopes the village will be labeled an "urban district." That will allow the village to have a 40 mph speed limit through town, rather than the 35 and 50 mph limits ODOT has recommended.
In May, ODOT told the village to take down the light, which doesn't meet any of the eight warrants in the Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, and raise
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speed limits from 25 and 35 mph to 40 and 50. The light has been on Route 25 across from the post office since 1929.
Resident Mike Schmitz asked council to work together, prioritize and make some decisions.
"Make a stand, make a decision," he said.
He said he was concerned council was trying to fund too many services, which isn't practical since the village is in fiscal emergency with the state.
"I would like to have the services we have and maybe some more eventually," Schmitz said, adding that there have to be priorities.
"I would rather have the police than the park. I would rather have the sewers than the park," he said. "You can't have a park and no village. That park is strictly a luxury item."
Linda Glomski concurred. "The village needs priorities É I agree the park is the lowest of those items," she said. "Police is top priority."
Wolford said any improvements made to the park this year were necessary because of insurance issues. If they weren't made, he said, the park would have had to close.
Sockman also reported that the finance committee discussed a recommendation from the auditor's office to only make necessary expenditures, such as utilities. Glomski asked for an example of what council was purchasing that wasn't necessary.
A laptop computer for the police department and street repaving, Sockman said.
Marcia Wolford again criticized the finance committee for not researching expenditures better. She brought up the sewer clerk position, which is $3,600 annually. Committee members and the mayor said they did not know if they needed that position.
"They haven't looked at anything here except cut police, cut police, cut police, cut police," Marcia Wolford said.
The police chief's hours were reduced from 40 to 20 earlier this summer by a 3-2 council voted, then restored when all of council could vote. The 3-3 tie was broken by the mayor.
Mayor's Court Clerk Sue Kepling asked that council find some money to get soap in the bathrooms at the town hall. Auditors have repeatedly complained, she said.
"Tell them to bring their own. We're too poor," said Councilman Floyd Wilson.
Another change in financing discussed Monday is purchase orders will be approved by the mayor and not run through council, said Clerk-Treasurer Bruce Shepherd.
Council has a meeting with auditors on Aug. 31 at 6:30 p.m. in the town hall.

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