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Gamekeepers Property Leased

I am very pleased to announce that Joe Saccone, owner of Jekylls, has signed a lease for the former Gamekeepers space. They are planning on a spring/summer opening. I am sure you will join with me in wishing them every success with their new restaurant.

Mayor Bill Tomko

Spillway Property Demolition Plan

There have been several inquires and requests for explanation as to the Spillway demolition. Basically everything is going to be demolished but for the chimney and the temporary retention of a small building at the north east corner of the property. The retaining wall along the river, from the falls and continuing downstream, will remain and the concrete will be ground on site and used to fill the void behind the retaining wall.
As a part of Spillway’s demolishing plan, they were required to obtain an engineer’s evaluation as to the stability of the chimney. They did so and have a report showing that it is stable. 

The Village has requested that as much of the old stone block as possible be retained on site for possible future usage. We have also requested that the stone marker/nameplate on the old boiler building be saved for historic purposes. B&B, the demolition company, has agreed to try and do this. 

The Village has not been advised and is not aware of any pending sale for the property.

Mayor Bill Tomko

Former Mario’s Property Sold

I am pleased to announce, effective December 28, 2017, that the former Mario building located at 15 Bell Street has been sold. We have met with the new owners and their architect and it is their intention to restore the building to the maximum extent possible. We look forward to the restoration and its return to use as one of the premier buildings in the Village.

Mayor Bill Tomko

A Message From Mayor Tomko

Mayor Bill Tomko entered office in January of 2016

Mayor William Tomko, 2016

At this time of year we are all inundated with charitable requests; I would like to ask you to also consider the Chagrin Falls Suburban Volunteer Firemen’s Association’s(“Suburban”) capital fund raising drive in your charitable giving. The Suburban fire department is NOT an agency of municipal government, it is a not for profit charitable corporation.

The fire fighting and EMS needs are provided to the Village on a regionalized basis with cost shared by our surrounding communities. This is by far the most cost effective means of providing those critical services to our residents. The Suburban department provides firefighting and EMS to a 30 square mile area and 15,000 people; it does this for an annual cost of $101.00 per person. That is less than 30 cents per day. This is why ALL the mayors of the Suburban Fire Department’s service area have joined me in endorsing their capital fund raising drive. 100% of your contribution goes to fund the capital improvement project and your contribution is tax deductible for federal Income tax purposes.

Please join with me in supporting Suburban’s capital fund raising drive.

Mayor Bill Tomko

Letter to the Editor of the Chagrin Valley Times, issue dated November 16

We are the elected leaders of the six communities that employ the Chagrin Falls Suburban Volunteer Fire Department Association (CFSVFDA) for fire and ambulance services for our residents.  We strongly support the efforts of the CFSVFDA to raise $700,000 for improvements to the facilities and equipment presently used to provide protection to our residents.  The CFSVFDA is a nonprofit association that has provided us protection since 1934.

We are an example of regionalism at its best.  The financial cost to provide fire and ambulance services to our residents would be financially impossible for each community acting alone.  By joining together, we are able to save taxpayer dollars while protecting the lives, homes and businesses of our residents.

We will all benefit from the new service bay, training room, dormitory space, shower, locker room and kitchen facilities.  Presently some fire vehicles are kept outside because of lack of space.  Imagine if you will, trying to rush to an emergency but first having to clean snow/ice from the vehicle windshield.

The CFSVFDA is going to raise the $700,000 through requests for donations and gifts from Chagrin Valley residents.  No tax money will be used or raised to make the above-mentioned improvements.

We urge you to support the efforts of the CFSVFDA through your tax-deductible donations and to support the upcoming April 26th fundraiser. Please contribute to the “Help Us Help You” campaign.

Bentleyville Village Mayor Leonard Spremulli

Chagrin Falls Village Mayor Bill Tomko

Chagrin Falls Township Trustee John Finley

Hunting Valley Mayor Richard Hollington

Moreland Hills Mayor Susan Renda

South Russell Village Mayor Bill Koons

Election Day Results

Mayor Bill Tomko entered office in January of 2016

Mayor William Tomko, 2016

Thank you to the residents of our town who thoughtfully voted in the Chagrin Falls Council election. We had a 36% voter turnout, per, which is a bit above the county average.

Congratulations to each of our newly elected council members for the January, 2018-December 31, 2020 term: Karl Maersch, Julia Lipp, Angela DeBernardo, Erinn Grube, Nancy Rogoff, Janis Evans, and Jim Newell.

I look forward to working together with them in our pledged efforts to maintain the highest quality of village government, services and town character.


Mayor Bill Tomko

Ben Himes To Retire

It is with a deep sense of sincere appreciation and sadness that I announce Ben Himes’, our Chief Administrative Officers, retirement.  Ben will be retiring effective December 31, 2017. Ben has served our community with distinction for 40 years; in fact Ben has served our community with distinction for all of his adult life. Ben worked summers for the Village Utility Department beginning in 1977 while in high school and was hired full time in 1985. Ben earned a degree in civil engineering while working for the village and provided critical leadership in replacing and up grading our Village’s infrastructure. Ben was also the leader in implementing our 2005 Street Scape program that revitalized our downtown commercial district. For all who know him and have worked with him, and most especially me, it was a privilege to have worked with Ben and he will be missed. Ben has agreed to continue to serve as an independent consultant to the Village as we develop the plans for the Waste Water Treatment Plant up grade and the negotiations with Geauga County and other utility matters.

I am sure all of you will join me in thanking Ben for his service and wishing him a long and happy retirement.

We will be creating the position of Assistant Chief Administrative Officer for the balance of this year and I will be appointing Rob Jameson, subject to council’s approval, to that position. This will allow four months for Rob to work and train with Ben. It is my intention, again subject to council’s approval, to appoint Rob to the Chief Administrator’s position in January of 2018.

Rob has worked for the Village since 2012 as Service Director. Rob holds a B.A. degree in Urban Studies from Cleveland State and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Public Works Administration also from Cleveland State University.

Prior to joining the Village Rob worked for the Cities of University Heights as Service Director and the City of Macedonia as assistant Service Director.  Rob is a Vice President of Northern Ohio Service Director’s Association and a Board member of American Public Works Association Northeast Ohio Chapter. Rob also serves the Village as part time firefight and Emergency Medical Technician.

Rob has proved to be an exceptionally dedicated employee during his tenure as Street Superintendent and both Ben and I have the utmost confidence in his ability to take on the role of administrator.  We should discuss the details of the transition plan in Administrative and Compensation Committee and ask that you set a meeting prior to the September 11 Council meeting.

Mayor Bill Tomko

Chagrin Falls Announces Your 911 Safety App for Smartphone Users And Mass Notification System


We are pleased to announce the launching of a new safety app for smart phone users called ‘Your 911’. This new service should offer shortened response times when reporting an emergency situation via cell phones and a new ability to contact local government with non-emergency situations or concerns.

Beginning July 24, 2017, residents of Chagrin Falls and customers of the Chagrin Falls Water Department can download this FREE App using the links below.

Once downloaded to your smart phone, please fill out the “Profile” section of the app. Your 911 provides a one-button emergency link to Chagrin Falls Dispatch or, if you are outside the Village of Chagrin Falls boundaries, to the dispatch center nearest you. Your 911 will immediately provide dispatchers with your location information if you are within the Village boundaries and update that location during an emergency.

Mass Notifications

911 Cellular is also the Villages new Mass Notification System, replacing CodeRED. Residents and water customers MUST register in order to receive these notifications. Data from our old system was not transferred to the new system. When registering through the ‘Your 911’ App or by clicking the link on the Village’s website, you will have the ability to select what group notifications you want to receive. We have both a Resident Group and a Water Department Group for water customers who do not live in the Village of Chagrin Falls.


If you download the Your 911 App, you will be able to report non-emergency issues to the Village.

When you press the icon the above screen will appear and you can select the department you want to report a non-emergency problem to:

· Utilities Department (water and sewer problems)
· Street Department (most Village maintenance matters)
· Building Department (building related issues including maintenance of structures)
· Administration (all other Village issues)

You can type a description of the situation and you will also have the ability to upload a photo or video. When you send the report, it will be forwarded to the department you selected and they will review and respond to it during regular business hours.

Panic Buttons Available

The Your 911 App also has the ability to work with a separate panic/emergency alert button. The separate panic button can be purchased for a one time low cost fee. If interested in purchasing, please contact Chagrin Falls Police department, Lisa Mariola at 247-1787. The button, when activated and in Bluetooth range (within approx. 60 feet of the smart phone), will send an alert notification to the dispatch center with your location. There is a red light that blinks when the button is pressed but the phone is too far away, and a green light that blinks when the button is pressed and the information was successfully sent, so users know right away.

William Tomko

The Village has discontinued service with CodeRed, so in order to receive these important notifications, please EITHER download either the iPhone app from iTunes or the Android app from Google Play OR register online for traditional phone notifications.

Carriage Rides In Chagrin Falls

Many people have expressed concerns about the horse’s wellbeing and the Village shares these concerns. The village council gives the carriage company a franchise, similar to a taxi company franchise, to operate.  As a precondition to the franchise grant, the company is required to submit an annual certification from a licensed Veterinarian stating that the horse is in good health and that the horse will be provided water when resting/not pulling the carriage. The Village can terminate the franchise if the operator fails to meet their responsibilities under the agreement. The current operator has complied with these conditions; accordingly we do not feel we have, at this time, a legal basis to revoke the franchise. The police will continue to monitor the situation to ensure compliance with the laws and the well-being of the horse.

Mayor Bill Tomko

2016 Annual Report of the Village of Chagrin Falls

2016 was a year of progress for Chagrin Falls.  We finished the year in good financial condition and completed the year slightly under budget.

In 2016,  the Village completed a comprehensive review of our capital needs and developed a multiyear plan to meet those needs. With the passage of the tax levy this past November we will have the resources to begin to reduce the substantial backlog of deferred capital maintenance and replacement projects and restart a regularly scheduled maintenance program.

Among 2016’s most significant achievements was the renegotiation of the Cleveland Water District (CWD) contract. Based upon the current rates structure of CWD, this renegotiated contract will save the Village approximately $910,000 through 2021 and approximately $325,000 every year thereafter.  This will allow the Village to fund the multiyear replacement of the remaining original underground distribution system without additional rate increases. Some of the underground system is over 100 years old and well past its service life. Approximately 25% of the water mains in the  distribution system need to be replaced.

In 2016 the Village was selected by Ohio Magazine as one of the four Best Hometowns in Ohio. This is thanks in no small part to the thousands of volunteer hours and community involvement that go into making Chagrin, Chagrin. We recognize your contributions and thank all of you for your hard and important work.

2016 also marked work by the parking commission to create additional parking spaces and present the first comprehensive parking management master plan. This plan will be presented to the public in a series of public Townhall meetings beginning January 11, 2017. After public comment and input, council will take up consideration of the plan sometime in the early spring.

Agreements were reached between the Plaza, Heinen’s, and the Village that will allow the opening of a new Heinen’s Grocery store in Chagrin. It is anticipated that the store will open in the late winter of 2017. I am sure we will all welcome having a Heinen’s grocery store in the village.

2016 was also a year of transition with the retirement, after 22 years of service, of police Chief Jim Brosius. The transition was very smooth and the police department is now led by Chief Amber Dacek. Also receiving promotion to leadership positions were Jason Weiskopf to Executive Lieutenant, and Scott Safenovitz to Sergeant.

Looking forward to 2017; efforts will be focused upon implementation of the capital maintenance and improvements plan, developing some sense of consensus around an integrated parking plan, starting the planning process on the waste water plant upgrade and operating license renewal, and continuing to evaluate alternatives for cost saving and increased efficiency. We will also continue our efforts to facilitate the redevelopment of the IVEX property, returning it to the tax base.

During 2016, our regional fire services responded to 1,429 emergency calls. 76% of these were EMS calls and 24% fire and rescue calls. Within the Village, the average response time was 3 and a half minutes from the time 911 received the call until first responders were on site. We all saw firsthand the importance of a well-trained and equipped fire service this past summer where our department kept a major house fire from spreading to neighboring structures and perhaps losing a neighborhood instead of just one house. The fire department conducted 1,029 fire prevention inspections and conducted 45 public education classes, taught 16 community CPR class and, together with the police department, conducted the annual Safety Town program for young children. They also took part in 12 community block parties, and two Red Cross blood drives. Looking forward to 2017, the Chagrin Suburban Volunteer Fire Department will evaluate the possibility of expanding their space to accommodate their increasing requirements.

During 2016, the police department continued to provide us with a safe community. In the past year they answered 8,889 calls for service.

These calls resulted in 477 formal police reports, 150 motor vehicle accident reports and 1,641 traffic violation stops. There were 3 major missing children cases, all of which were successfully concluded.

In addition to traditional policing, your police department took part in extensive community outreach efforts. These included school presentations, Safety Town, Bike Rodeo, Police Explorers Program, Coffee with a Cop and, for children, Shop with a Cop. These efforts were primarily privately funded. The police and fire departments’ major fund raising effort to support these programs is the chili cook off. All proceeds raised go to these programs. This year’s chili cook off will be January 28, and I urge all of you to go as it is a very good time and the proceeds support very good causes right here in our local community.

Looking forward to 2017, the police department is planning on continuing all the existing community outreach efforts and expanding to hold a Citizen’s Police Academy, where interested residents can gain an inside look at what law enforcement does day to day. They also plan to increase traffic enforcement by creating a traffic unit to concentrate on targeted enforcement in identified problem areas. The department will work closely with the parking committee to implement the parking plan discussed above, if approved by council, and will also implement a streamlined system of administrating traffic tickets.  The Chagrin Valley has seen a substantial rise in the amount of white collar crimes reported to the police departments. The Chagrin Falls police department will be devoting additional resources to this area in 2017 and beyond. As a part of this program we anticipate conducting one or more public awareness programs on cyber security and identity theft protection to the public. While the internet and on line world has brought many benefits, it is also one the fastest growing criminal areas too.

We look forward to a very successful year in 2017 and continuing to provide the safe, secure and enjoyable environment our residents expect.

As always, if you have question or concerns don’t hesitate to call village hall, the mayor or your elected council representatives, we are here to serve you.

Mayor William A Tomko

Town Hall Meetings For New Parking Plan Announced


January 4, 2017


There will be 3 Public Town Hall type meetings to discuss parking in the Village. They will all take place at the Township Hall at 83 North Main Street.

The first meeting will be January 11.2017 from 6 to 8 PM. The purpose of this meeting will be for the Parking Commission to present the parking proposal they have drafted to the public. While the format will be an open discussion and questions and comments taken, it is primarily a presentation of their plan.

A second meeting is scheduled for February 1, 2017 from 6 to 8 PM. The primary purpose of this meeting is to hear feedback on the plan. Again it will be an open format

A third meeting will be held on February 15, .2017 from 6 to 8 PM. The primary purpose of this meeting will to discuss the fînal plan to be presented to council and reflecting the public comments made at the February I,2017 meeting. Again it will be an open format discussion.

We will record these meeting and post them to the Village web site.

It is anticipated that the plan will then be present to council for consideration. There will be additional opportunities for public discussion and input at the council level.



Mayor William Tomko

The facts regarding the proposed tax increase on the November ballot, Issue 25.

villageseal-350-300x300Chagrin 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%.

graphHow 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.

2016 Village of Chagrin Falls Charter Ballot Issues

villageseal-350-300x300Upon 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.


  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

New Cleveland Water Contract Proposed To Council

The Chagrin Falls Utilities Department is located on Meadow Lane.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