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Rasor's Blog: What Happened at the Oct. 22, 2012 Committee Meetings of Stow City Council

At-large councilman Mike Rasor shares his notes from the October 22, 2012 meetings of the committees of Stow City Council.

With the debate tonight, I doubt anyone is itching to read about the meetings at City Hall. Regardless, my notes from those meetings are posted below:

The Planning Committee discussed amending the zoning code in a manner to allow crematories at funeral homes. Stow currently has two funeral homes. A Summit County air quality expert joined the committee to discuss the impact of this activity. He mentioned that the process emits trace quantities of heavy metals and particulates (i.e., ash from bodies). … I use the Golden Rule when making decisions on zoning issues that affect a neighborhood: How would I feel if my representative voted to allow the proposed activity in my neighborhood? ... The final vote on this matter is at least a month away.

I called a Roads and Safety Committee meeting to discuss our ordinance that regulates door-to-door solicitation. There is one set of rules for commercial speech and another set of rules for non-commercial speech. Non-commercial solicitors, such as politicians, are highly protected by the U.S. Supreme Court. Law director Brian Reali pointed out that a recent case gives us reason to amend the hours in which solicitation is proper. Currently, solicitation must cease at 6 p.m. Under a recent interpretation of the First Amendment, that is too restrictive. The new legislation adapts to the evolving constitutional framework. I also added two amendment to further shield the city from liability, and more importantly, protect our residents’ civil rights.

The Finance Committee discussed the purchase of an asphalt recycler vehicle. The device costs $132,000, and we are sharing the purchase with Kent and Ravenna. By our calculations, it will pay for itself within five or six years. The device scoops up the old asphalt on repaving projects, heats it, and then reapplies it to the surface. The machine has an estimated life of 10 to 15 years. It is a great purchase for the city.

City council met for an executive session to discuss five employees. What was said behind closed doors is confidential, but the legislation is public. Through the legislation, the administration seeks to re-hire two employees who will soon “retire” because of changes to the public employees retirement system (“PERS”). This practice, known as “double-dipping,” . . .

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Meg Griffin October 23, 2012 at 12:30 PM
As always, thank you, Mike. I am against double dipping. In the private sector, depending on your age, your social security is adjusted, if you have earned income over a set amount.I believe that should hold true for the public sector also. Double dipping is costing us state and local taxes for these "retired" employees. I understand that we don't want to lose their knowledge. But, why can't their City compensation be adjusted accordingly?
Jack Kelly October 24, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Double-dipping is legal. And good luck having the state legislature making it illegal. Especially since many of those are double-dippers themselves. Including good ol' Bill Batchelder -- Ohio's Speaker of the House -- from Medina County.
Jack Kelly October 24, 2012 at 12:02 PM
If people do NOT want solicitors knocking on your door, simply post a sign that says "No Soliciting and/or Canvassing." (must say both). Mine has said language, including citing relative Ohio Revised Code re: trespassing (the latter in very small font) Only having "no solicitors" will not stop politicians because they're not demanding $$ for services.
Amanda Harnocz October 24, 2012 at 01:55 PM
I'm writing up a story about the solicitation. The law director has provided me with a .pdf that people can print and put on their doors with the proper language. Look for it soon.

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