Normally, I don't post about committee meetings on my Patch blog. I only describe the final outcome. But truly, the most important discussions occur on the Mondays before the Thursday votes. On my website (www.mikerasor.com), I post about these meetings, as well as what you read about the Thursday meetings.
Because Amanda isn't in town to report on the Monday committees, I have posted my notes below...
The first three topics were re-zoning of properties for business purposes.
The Planning Committee then discussed allowing funeral homes to install crematories. Cremations have become much more popular in recent years. Stow has two funeral homes, and currently, they must both outsource their cremations, because crematories are prohibited in the city.
This legislation would allow the funeral homes to do this work in-house and to keep the business in Stow. Based on our discussion Monday, there will likely be a split among council members as to whether a funeral home should be permitted to cremate for other funeral homes — or only for their own customers. The party requesting the legislation, Redmon Funeral Home, opposes that restriction, and I agree.
New Planning Director, Rob Kurtz, announced that we received a $331,000 grant for Safe Routes for Schools. To date, we will have received a total of $615,000. The construction will take place in 2013 and 2014 and will consist of, among other projects, paving a gravel path between Lillian and Mohican and improving a crosswalk on Stow Road.
The Roads and Safety Committee, of which I am chairman, passed a motion to hire a new firefighter.
This was necessitated by the retirement of a lieutenant. On Thursday, the council will vote on the promotion of a firefighter to that lieutenant position, and then whether to replace that firefighter. Because of a federal grant we accepted, we have no choice but to replace that firefighter.
A year ago, Stow applied for and was awarded a federal SAFER grant, which gave us funding for five firefighters for a two-year span.
We cannot dip below the current level of firefighters without suffering a penalty. When the two-year span is complete, we can reduce staffing. At that point, we will have six people in the fire department who will be nearing retirement, so hopefully we can smoothly transition to being without that federal money.
City council will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday to vote on several of these measures.