The Village of Chagrin Falls Street Department will begin the annual leaf pick-up program on October 17th. Crews will be starting at the south end of town and working north. Leaves should be piled in long windrows within 4 feet of the curb on the tree lawn wherever possible. On streets with ditches, leaves should be raked as close to the road as possible in windrows, but not blocking the ditch. Leaves should not be raked into the street as they will cause drainage problems. Branches, twigs, and flower cuttings must not be put in the leaf piles. Three rounds of leaf pick-up are planned, weather-permitting. Please have all leaves placed out for collection no later than Nov. 21.
With Fire Prevention Week upon us the Chagrin Falls Fire Department will be hosting a free residential fire extinguisher refill this Saturday, October 15th from 9:00-Noon at the Fire Station. 21 W. Washington Street. Ron Campanella of Pro-Fire Equipment will be on hand to make sure your residential fire extinguishers are serviced and ready.
Starting at 7:30am on Monday, October 10th, E. Orange St. will be closed to thru traffic for construction and re-paving.
The road will be closed from N. Main St. to North St. E. Orange St. will be open to local traffic. Access to homes, businesses and the municipal lot will be maintained. Thru traffic can detour around the construction by using E. Cottage or E. Summit Streets.
The expected completion date for the project is October 17th.
Please be advised that the Streets and Sidewalks Committee will hold a meeting on Monday, October 10th at 6:30 PM in the Council Chambers at 21 W. Washington Street. One of the agenda items is potential extension of sidewalks on Walters Road. Interested residents are invited to attend.
Chagrin Falls continues to face a substantial and growing problem. Our village infrastructure is in tremendous disrepair due to lack of funds; today a multi-million dollar backlog of deferred maintenance exists over and above the ongoing maintenance needs. If we do not take action to reduce the existing backlog of deferred maintenance and keep current with ongoing maintenance the problem will only grow and cost more in the long run. The problem of insufficient maintenance will not go away without action being taken. Our streets, our sidewalks, our public facilities and structures for stormwater management are, in fact, crumbling. Due to lack of funds, we have been forced to continue to defer our maintenance needs as opposed to scheduling maintenance in a planned and orderly manner. We have addressed the water utility’s capital needs by renegotiating the water supply contract with the city of Cleveland and will not be asking for further capital funding for the water utility from the ratepayers or taxpayers. The historic funding sources for our other maintenance simply no longer exist.
We have developed a comprehensive and specific plan with identified projects listed by year they are projected to be started. It is available to view online or in hard copy at Village Hall. You can now see specifically where and when your money from the proposed tax increase will be spent.
Previously, funding for repairs and upkeep came from state inheritance taxes and state aid. The state inheritance tax has been eliminated and the local government fund has been dramatically reduced. These changes have resulted in the average annual loss of just under $1 Million to Chagrin Falls compared to the long term average. The proposed tax increase is projected to raise $750,000.00; the remaining lost revenue has been made up by cuts in expenses
The tax increase is exclusively for capital improvements.
How Much Will It Cost?
RITA has estimated it will cost the majority of Chagrin residents who work in another municipal taxing city $8.75 per $10,000 of wage income. If you do not have any wage income or net profits from conducting a business, this tax does not apply to you
Where Will the Money Go?
Approximately 75% of the funds raised by the proposed tax increase will go toward the road program and the remaining 25% will primarily go to dealing with stormwater management issues and erosion and the related slope failures; our second largest expense category after streets.
Many of our roads have not been resurfaced since the early 1990’s, some since the 1980’s and they need to be resurfaced on regular 10 to 15 years cycle to prevent damage to the subsurface and signifi cant and material increase in repair cost. Walters Road is an example of a roadway that now needs a rebuilding vs a simple resurfacing at an estimated cost of approximately twice the cost of a simple resurfacing.
The village council unanimously adopted legislation, subject to voter approval, to increase the wage and net profits tax from the current 1.5% to 1.85%, approximately one third of one percent. The tax credit given for taxes paid to workplace communities outside of Chagrin Falls remains unchanged at 75%.
How Does Chagrin Compare with the Neighboring Communities?
The following chart shows the effective tax rate, after the proposed tax increase, and allowing for the tax credit in Chagrin Falls and in surrounding communities. The horizontal line on the chart shows the seven community average effective rate of tax.
Where Can I Get More Information?
The administration has developed a detailed and specific capital expenditures budget for the next 5 year. The village council unanimously adopted legislation, subject to voter approval, to increase the wage and net profits tax from the current 1.5% to 1.85%, approximately one third of one percent. The tax credit given for taxes paid to workplace communities outside of Chagrin Falls remains unchanged at 75%. Copies of this budget are available on line and in hard copy at the village hall. This shows the specific projects and the year they are proposed to be undertaken. This budget was submitted to council and they unanimously approved the plan. Barring some unforeseen circumstance, for example a natural disaster, this is where the tax increase will be spent.
If you have specific questions you may call Mayor Tomko, Ben Himes, Chief Administrative Officer, or Dave Bloom, Finance Director at 247-5050.None of the tax increase is permitted to be used for routine village operations or personnel cost.
Upon conclusion of their two month review of the Village charter, the Chagrin Falls Charter Review Commission recommended the following changes to the Village charter. Council voted to approve putting these issues on the ballot. Below is a brief description of the charter amendments that will be on the November 2016 ballot.
- Cemetery Board Reporting: This change was recommended to allow the Village Administrator and his staff to enforce the rules and regulations of the cemetery. Under the current arrangement the sexton, street superintendent and Village Administrator have no authority to enforce the cemetery regulations. This change will allow the Cemetery Board to be set up similar to the Parks
- Super Majority Funding Protection Proposal: This change would require a five member council supermajority to change the allocation of income tax revenues. All ordinances are currently subject to change by a majority of council, including ordinances passed by the electorate. To provide the voters some additional protection on tax issues they pass, the Mayor recommended this change to require a super majority of Council to change a tax ordinance.
- Monthly Meetings of the Planning and Zoning Committee: The Planning Commission is required by the Charter to meet every month whether they have agenda items or not. This change will allow them to meet only when there is a need or applications pending.
- Village Council’s review of Board of Zoning Appeals’ recommendations: This amendment will retain council’s role in approving variances but eliminates the automatic referral to council. Any three members of Council will have the ability to bring a variance in front of the full council for a complete hearing. In the event that no petition is filed, the Board of Zoning Appeals action will be final.
- Referendum Petitions and determining the number of signatures necessary to put a referendum on the ballot: The current charter allows a referendum petition to go on the ballot with the signatures of 30 registered This amendment will require a number of signatures equal to 5% of the voters who voted for governor in the last election. Based on the 2014 election this change would require 83 signatures.
The Village of Chagrin Falls fully understands the concern that our customers may have over the recent report raising questions about the levels of chromium-6 in public drinking water systems. Our top priority is to deliver safe drinking water to our customers. Chagrin Falls Water meets and exceeds all State and Federal drinking water standards as established by the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA), including regulations related to chromium.
Chromium-3 is an essential human dietary element. It is found in many vegetables, fruits, meats, grains, and yeast. Chromium-6 occurs naturally in the environment from the erosion of natural chromium deposits. It can also be produced and used in industrial processes. High concentrations of chromium-6 have been linked to cancer in laboratory animals. Chromium-6 is frequently found in low concentrations in our environment, including source water used for drinking water. The US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has an established Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for total Chromium (which includes Chromium-6) of 100 parts per billion (PPB), (one part per billion is equivalent to one drop in a 14,000 gallon pool). Our most recent testing results (2013) indicates Chagrin Water’s total Chromium level is non-detectable (a concentration below the detection limit of the test). We also recently completed Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 3) testing which indicated our Chromium-6 levels were 0.23 PPB at the village wells and non-detectable in the distribution system (the water mains that deliver water to the customers).
Since 2013, we have tested at our wells and our distribution system as required by the USEPA. Chagrin’s water supply results for Chromium-6 results are well below the stringent California standard of 10 PPB.
Again, the safety of our customers is our highest priority. As such, we continuously monitor and test our raw and finished water to ensure we deliver safe, quality water that meets and exceeds all State and Federal drinking water standards.
For more information see: https://www.epa.gov/dwstandardsregulations/chromium-drinking-water
Ohio EPA has a public information center that can be reached at (614)644-2160.
For this year’s First Responders Appreciation Week, the following events are planned in Chagrin Falls:
KICK OFF EVENTS
CHAGRIN FALLS RESIDENTS Gather at the Main Street Bridge at 2 PM on September 11th, as we hang the Thank You banner. Add your message to our local forces then – or any time during the week.
ALL WEEK: Change your porch light to red or blue and “leave the light on” to watch out for them. Decorate a tree in the yard with red or blue ribbon.
FOOTBALL GAME CEREMONY: Friday, September 16th at Harris Field. Thank you ceremony begins at 6:50.
Local businesses will be providing complimentary lunches to the forces all week long. (Thanks to Chagrin Valley Chamber of Commerce for organizing.)
On August 18th, Village Council held a Special Meeting to interview candidates to fill the vacancy created when a council member moved out of town. We interviewed three very good candidates and voted unanimously to appoint John Mitchell.
John has lived in Chagrin Falls since 2005 and lives on Bell Street with his wife, Ann, and 3 sons. He has been involved in the Dad’s Club, holding various leadership roles, as well as the Chagrin Valley Jaycees. John started his career as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Cuyahoga County where he worked in the Major Trials Unit, prosecuting homicide, rape and public corruption cases. John is currently a partner at Thompson Hine where he focuses on Product Liability Litigation, White-Collar Crime and Business Litigation.
John recently chaired the Chagrin Falls Charter Review Commission, which is a group of residents appointed every 5 years to review the Village Charter and make recommendations for modifications or improvements. As part of that process, John and his fellow commission members held multiple meetings with department heads, employees, village council, village administration as well as various boards (e.g, ARB, BZA, P&Z). Everyone on Council was impressed with John’s organization, leadership and contributions to that process and thought those skills would translate well to Village Council.
John will be sworn in at our meeting on Monday, August 22.
Saturday, September 17th
10 A.M. – 5 P.M.
Chagrin Falls hosts the 2016 Village Yard Sale on September 17th! Scores of residents are participating in the biggest garage sale of the season. Come and spend the day shopping for special treasures on the shady lawns of the village’s many historic homes.
Parking available in municipal lots and on residential streets.
Chagrin Falls Village Council is seeking candidates to fill the vacancy left by Councilman Robert Schleper, who resigned to take a job in Denver, Colorado. The term for this position will run from August 2016 to January 2, 2018 and Council vacancies are filled by a majority vote of remaining members of Council.
Residents interested in being considered for appointment to this position can submit their resume and qualifications to Ben Himes at Village Hall, 21 W. Washington Street or via email to email@example.com. Candidates must have been a resident and qualified elector of the Village for at least two continuous years prior to appointment to council and cannot hold any other public office or be a village employee.
Village council meets the second and fourth Monday of each month at 7:00pm and each Councilperson serves on 2 or 3 committees. For more information on Council duties please see the Village Charter.
The deadline for applications is Wednesday, August 10, 2016.
To my colleagues here in the Village,
It is my bittersweet news to convey that I have been offered a position in Denver, Colorado this past week. As many of you are aware, finding a leadership position in education in Northeastern Ohio has been challenging to say the least. After making the decision to apply out of state, I was offered a position within twelve days off applying, within one of the top schools in Colorado.
As such, I will be resigning from Chagrin Falls Village Council effective August 1st, 2016. Serving in this capacity the past year has been a true honor, and I will always remember the level of engagement I have held within this community. Being in service to your community, no matter the capacity, is always an honorable and worthwhile endeavor, and connects us to the greater idea of being women and men for others.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank each of my colleagues on council, the Village Administration, Law, and Service teams, as well as Mayor Tomko for the privilege of working with all of you. I would also like to specifically thank Chief Brosius as well as Chief Zugan, and their teams for their tireless efforts and service to our Village. Our police and fire teams are truly the front line in this community, and their efforts not only protect us, but connect us to a sense of solidarity and pride.
I currently chair two posts for the Village, the Arts, and Administration and Compensation. I would like to recommend that Councilwoman Rogoff assume my post for the Arts Commission, and Councilman Muscenti assume my post for Administration and Compensation. I feel very strongly that they will provide sound guidance and leadership for those committees, and hold the appropriate backgrounds to support each of those groups.
I would like to state again the level of appreciation I have for the opportunity to serve in this capacity, and for the relationships that I have built here. This village has much work to do now and in the future, and I wish you all the best in pursuing the collective goals that we all hold dear; all for the betterment and solvency of our Village.
Robert E. Schleper, Jr., Ed.D
Chagrin Falls Residents:
It is with a great deal of pleasure that I can report to you that the administration has been successful in renegotiating the water supply agreement with the Cleveland Water District (CWD). We will be submitting this revised contract for council’s approval in the next few weeks. These revisions both reduce the minimum purchase volumes we must buy from Cleveland and move the measurement period to an annual basis from a monthly basis and assure our supply of water far into the future. Based upon these changes and our projected water supply needs, we have agreed, subject to council’s approval, to extend our contract for an additional 10 years to 2037.
The Village currently produces well water at approximately $2.80 per 1000 gallons compared to buying it from Cleveland at a cost of $4.78 per 1,000 gallons. Our costs are largely fixed and as we produce more well water the cost per unit goes down. Maximizing the ground water usage provides a significant savings to our customers and will moderate the need for future rate increases. I would specifically note the importance in protecting the Franklin Street aquifer now and in the future as it will save the the village $325,000 per year or $135.00 per customer annually by 2021. Our retention of the mothballed Washington Street well fields provides a potential expansion opportunity to meet future demand with lower cost well water. The change to an annual determination of purchase minimums is effective January 1 of 2017 and the reduction in the total purchase obligation is phased in over 5 years starting in 2017. Once fully effective in 2021 these changes will save the village water utility $325,000 per year. These savings will be applied in total to the Water-Reserve for Capital Improvements fund (Fund E3) and used to finance the water infrastructure needs. With these savings we can begin an orderly program to replace the remaining portions of our water distribution system that are antiquated and well beyond their service life.
The revised CWD contract, together with the 2015 enacted rate increase, will now allow us to fully fund the water utility’s capital needs without any additional anticipated rate increase for capital improvements. The funding sources and needs are now balanced within $250,000 over 10 years and this amount can easily be met via a combination of new customers, additional ongoing savings and, if necessary minor short term borrowing. Previously, this account reflected needs in excess of identified revenue sources of almost $2,000,000 and implied large future rate increases for capital improvements. This funding short fall is now provided for with the reduction in the CWD minimum purchases requirement and NOT water rate increases. This keeps money in our customer’s pockets.
While the waste water treatment plant has both anticipated EPA mandated capital needs and major equipment upgrades in 2020 (which will be financed), I can now confidentially report that based on known needs and revenue BOTH utilities, Water and Sewer are on a sustainable financial basis. Passage of the income tax increase this November will secure the overall village finances now and into the foreseeable future.
We strongly recommend that Council approve this revised contract.
Mayor William Tomko