Paul G. Buescher

YOUR INFORMATION NEWSLETTER FROM
NORTHFIELD CENTER TOWNSHIP TRUSTEE
PAUL G. BUESCHER

~ KEEPING NCT RESIDENTS INFORMED SINCE 2005 ~
_________________________________________________
#551  WEDNESDAY AUGUST 07, 2019
_________________________________________________

WE’RE BACK

It’s been a while since I last sent a newsletter.  The truth of the matter is that I took a little ‘vacation’ or better yet, a break.  There is a lot of work involved in putting this newsletter together and I am still having trouble with AOL’s limitations on bulk email.  It will take me at least two (2) days to send this issue to all of you.

I know full well that there are quite a few ‘big ticket’ issues pending in our Township and I will do my best to keep you informed.  During my break, I observed that all of our local media did a pretty good job on keeping you informed but there are those behind the scenes tid bits that haven’t been publicized.  I will do my best to catch up.

Many of you sent me questions in the recent past that I answered directly but they will not appear in the newsletter because it would take way too much time to try to catch up.  Therefore, this will be an abbreviated version of my regular newsletter without any Questions and Answers.

ARE WE ABOUT TO LOSE OUR SHERIFF COVERAGE?

We currently have four volunteer citizen committees that have devoted a lot of time and energy into their respective responsibilities.  The committees involve; Communications, Parks and Recreation, Stormwater management and Safety Services.

Our contract with the Sheriff’s Office will soon be expiring and up for renewal.  The Safety Committee has been studying this issue for alternatives and recently submitted its report.  The Committee met with representatives from Macedonia, Northfield Village, Boston Heights and Sagamore Hills.  Briefly speaking, the results of the Committee’s report indicates the following:

MACEDONIA : “Macedonia unable to meet NCT policing budget

NORTHFIELD VILLAGE:  “Chief has met with the Mayor and Law Director, and can provide policing to NCT at a cost within NCT budget. Services will not fall below what is currently being provided by Sheriff (1 and 1/3 deputy provided 24/7).”

BOSTON HEIGHTS:  “Safety Committee proposes to wait a few weeks to see what Boston Heights interest and costs would be, if any.”

SAGAMORE HILLS:  “Sagamore Hills has an impressive police department that can provide more services than the Sheriff provides at a cost (if a Police District is formed) within NCT budget.  This is also a system that would permit NCT to own assets and participate in cost control efforts.”  The report continues….. “Committee recommends this approach for a long-term plan for policing services.  Currently, NCT belongs to a fire district that has benefited the community so a police district can be just as beneficial to NCT.”

Most of you know where I stand with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and the great services that they have provided over the years.  Many of you will recall that back in 2005, the issue of ending the Sheriff’s services was one of the major contributing issues that compelled me to run for Trustee!  Support for the Sheriff has been a popular rallying cry from most of you and I don’t think that the demographics of our Township has changed to change any of that.

I want it known and clearly understood that the feelings that I am expressing here in no way should reflect negatively on any of our neighboring communities or our Safety Committee.  With that said, here we go.

First of all, the Committee’s report mistakenly stated in part, “Currently, NCT belongs to a fire district that has benefited the community so a police district can be just as beneficial to NCT.”  NCT does NOT belong to a “Fire District.”  We CONTRACT for the Fire and EMS services provided by the City of Macedonia.  There is a BIG legal difference between the two.  Our LEGAL Fire District with Sagamore Hills abruptly ended on September 16, 2016 and then we entered into a CONTRACTED service with Macedonia!

Prior to YOUR voting in favor of our last policing contract, we supplemented the cost through the funds that we received from the J.E.D.D that we share with Macedonia.  This last levy was specifically negotiated to cover the entire cost of the three-year Sheriff’s contract, which it did.  Going forward we will most likely have to supplement the cost with J.E.D.D. funds.  The J.E.D.D. funds provide our Township about $135,000 per year.  Our current total revenue from all police funds is $849,136 per year.  According to the Committee’s report, we will have to use around $26,700 from the J.E.D.D. for the year 2021 and then $136,200 for the year 2022.  Again, these are projections from the Committee based on CURRENT revenue and expenditures.  There is absolutely no doubt that future funding for policing is a MAJOR issue.  However, there are other issues that are equally important.

The Committee has estimated that NCT’s share of the cost to enter into a police district with Sagamore Hills is approximately $833,333 and Northfield Village “can provide policing to NCT at a cost within NCT budget.”  “Services will not fall below what is currently being provided by Sheriff (1 and 1/3 deputy provided 24/7).”

With all due respect to both communities and the Committee, I cannot see how either community and even combining both could “provide more services than the Sheriff provides at a cost (if a Police District is formed) within NCT budget.”  Two of my major concerns here is the fact that they cannot compete with the over 350 Sheriff’s Office personnel, including the myriad of additional services, not otherwise provided or offered by either community.  There is also the additional costs covering BOTH our fire and police dispatching costs and jail costs.  Both Sagamore Hills and Northfield Village are charged for dispatching, which would obviously be passed onto us along with the costs to jail all offenders that are arrested.  Yes, BOTH fire and police dispatching are provided by the Sheriff as well as all jailing costs!

One last point and perhaps the most contentious is the fact that our last ‘District’, that being the Fire District that we had with Sagamore Hills for five short years, did not work out very well – Did it?  I am not going to elaborate on this point since it should still be fresh in all of your minds!

There is a work session on this subject scheduled for Monday, August 19th at 6PM at our Townhall.  If you feel strongly on this issue, you might want to attend.  Please note however, that this is a work session between the Committee and Trustees and other officials with NO public comments but plenty to hear!

 TOWNHALL BALLOT ISSUE

Some residents expressed confusion over the cost of the ballot bond issue involving the purchase of the old First Merit building for our ‘new’ Townhall.  The actual cost per household for the .47 mil bond issue would be $1.37 per $100,000 of value per month ($16.46/year).  There was and continues to be concern over the future of our current historical 110-year-old Townhall building.  At this point in time, the simple answer to this is that we just don’t know.  However, there are NO current demolition or other destructive plans.  Recent cost estimates to rehab our Townhall building ranged from $850,000 to over $1-Million!

For much more information on this subject, you are invited to check it out on our new and highly improved website at:

https://www.northfieldcenter.com/updates-regarding-township-buildings-and-properties/