Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mentor's unemployment rate dips again; that & more...

A dropping unemployment rate, what road projects to watch for, more Safe Routes to School funding, and the latest on the Lagoons food service proposal — all that and much more are in Friday’s weekly Mentor city manager memo to City Council.
Manager Comments
• Early Friday afternoon, a truck making a delivery at 9141 Jordan Drive snagged a low hanging AT&T phone line. This resulted in a loss of phone service for much of the Mentor Headlands area. Approximately 900 customers east of Corduroy Road and north of Jordan Drive are affected. AT&T representatives were on site shortly after and service restored. The Police Department immediately assigned two cars to remain patroling in the Headlands during the outage.
• The City received no proposals by our deadline last week in our attempt to locate a concession at the lagoons. The most likely reason is that in our haste to secure a vendor by Memorial Day weekend we did not provide enough time for responses. However, we have since directly contacted several food/beverage operators who have indicated an interest in possibly considering an arrangement. We hope to have a few proposals from which to select within the next two weeks.
• The unemployment rate for the City of Mentor decreased for the month of April 2012 to 5.6%, which represents a 0.4% drop from the previous 6.0% in March 2012. The City has the second-lowest unemployment rate for any community in Ohio over 50,000 in population. In Lake County the unemployment rate also decreased from 6.7% in March to 6.1% in April. The unemployment rate in Ohio declined to 7.3% for April 2012.
• Cleveland Magazine’s “Rating the Suburbs” edition came out last week and Mentor is ranked 18th overall. We are also the fifth-lowest for total property taxes.
• The Part-time Firefighters Union ratified the tentative collective bargaining agreement at a recent meeting. It will appear on the next legislative agenda for Council’s consideration.

 Fire Department
• On May 18 at 8:37 a.m., the fire department responded to Ohio Educational Association located at 5804 Heisley Road for an odor of natural gas inside the building. Crews arrived to find the building occupants evacuated and an odor present with carbon monoxide readings of 50 ppm. Their investigation revealed a problem with the HVAC units. With the HVAC units secured, fire crews ventilated the building and returned the occupants after confirming safe air quality. The facility manager was advised to contact a HVAC contractor for maintenance of the HVAC units. There were no reported illnesses.
• On May 18 at 5:45 p.m., the fire department responded to 7331 Hart St. for a residential fire alarm. Crews arrived to find a smoke haze from a stove fire that was extinguished by the homeowner. Crews secured power to the stove and the microwave and checked for fire extension. After the home was ventilated, the homeowner was able to reoccupy. There we no reported injuries.
• On May 19 at 1:11 a.m., the department responded to Jordan Road for a single-victim motorcycle accident. Despite the advanced life support resuscitation efforts of paramedics and emergency room personnel, the male died from injuries sustained in the crash.
• On May 19 at 3:28 a.m., the department responded to Fairfax Road for a patient who was suffering complications from injecting himself with heroin. The patient was treated and transported in stable condition.
• On May 19 at 4:31 a.m., the department responded to Roselawn Drive and King Memorial Road for a roll-over accident where the car caught fire. Fire crews arrived to find the vehicle upside down and on fire. Crews confirmed that all the occupants were out of the car and the fire was extinguished. The occupant on scene was checked, denied injury and refused transport. The scene was turned over to the police.
• During the week, the department responded to a total of five mulch fires at various businesses throughout the city. All were minor in nature. None of the mulch fires had extended to the buildings.

Police Department
 • On May 19, 2012 at 4:30 a.m., a vehicle ran off the road on Roselawn Drive, struck a tree and flipped over on its roof. The vehicle then caught fire. The driver and passenger exited the vehicle, prior to the fire, and ran from the scene. The passenger was caught near Chillicothe and King Memorial. The driver refused to stop when ordered and continued running. The driver eventually turned himself in at the police station the following day and was arrested. He is charged with failure to control, hit/skip and obstructing official business.
• On May 23, two runaway 17-year-old females from Tennessee were found in Mentor. Both females were with a 19-year-old adult who had a felony theft warrant for his arrest. All three were taken into custody. The male was charged with being a fugitive from justice and is being extradited back to Tennessee. The parents of both juveniles drove to Mentor and picked up their daughters.

Engineering and Building Department
• SR2 Widening: Traffic was switched over to the reconstructed inside lanes on mainline SR 2 over the last two weekends. Over the next few weeks, removal of the existing roadway will occur. Work continues on the Heisley Road ramps, as well as, on the Center Street widening. On Center Street, some temporary signal work is required. At some point during the week of June 4, the Bellflower Road/Market Street/Center Street signal will be taken out of service for one day (approximately 4 hours) to temporarily relocate the signal wiring which is currently in conflict with the widening operations. An off-duty officer will be provided to maintain traffic flow at the intersection during the work. The Engineering Department will continue to work with ODOT to minimize impacts to motorists.
• 2012 Road Program: Paving has occurred on 24 of 26 asphalt streets included in the 2012 Road Repair Program. The two remaining streets to be paved are Culver Boulevard and Old Johnnycake Ridge Road. Full depth pavement repairs on Jackson Street have yet to be completed. Work is considerably ahead of the Sept. 28 completion date.
• Corduroy Road Streetscape Improvements: TC Construction has completed the installation of the curbing along both sides of Corduroy Road. Driveway aprons for the IGA Market on the east side of the road have been completed and are open. Sidewalk installation on the east side of Corduroy Rd. is complete. Only one driveway apron for the Convenient gas station on the west side of the road remains to be installed this week. Topsoil is being placed in the tree lawn on both sides of the road. This will be closely followed with seeding and mulching and street trees. Replacement of asphalt pavement on both sides of Corduroy Rd. remains and should be completed within the next couple of weeks. The project is currently on schedule to be completed by June 15.
• Bellflower Road Repair and Resurfacing Project: Work on the Bellflower Road Repair and Resurfacing Project is scheduled to begin the week of June 11 and is scheduled to be completed by Aug. 25. The project is being partially funded by a $299,900 Grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission. Chagrin Valley Paving is the contractor for the project. During the construction, eastbound traffic will be closed from Georgetown Drive to Center Street and westbound traffic will be maintained. A detour will be established to direct eastbound traffic.
• Hopkins Road Waterline Project: The City of Mentor has issued a right-of-way permit to Aqua Ohio for the installation of 2550 feet of 12-inch replacement waterline. The new waterline will be located on the west side of Hopkins Road between Highland Court and Chillicothe Road. Davis Diggers will be the contractor installing the waterline. Work on this project is expected to begin the week of June 11 and should take approximately six to seven weeks to complete. Work hours will be restricted to between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. During construction, traffic will be maintained.
• Building Division Activity: Shown below is Building Division Activity comparing the month of March, 2012 with the month of April, 2012: Prior Month Month of March 2012 April 2012 New Permits Issued 256 326 Building Permit Inspections 619 674 New Plan Review Cases 83 89 Engr/Bldg. Permit Plan Reviews 322 378 New Contractor Registrations 87 77

 Parks and Recreation Department
• This week we received notification that the city has been approved for the ODOT “Safe Routes to Schools” funding. Recreation Superintendent Paul Hegreness reports that this year’s award of $60,000 will keep a very active program going through the next funding year. Paul and Program Coordinator Maggie Kuyasa will meet with ODOT for a project scope meeting which will define our plan for the upcoming year. This program has been 100% funded through this grant and has been well received in the schools and throughout the city.
• Recreation Program Manager Jill Korsok reported that camp registration is up just over 25% this year over last.
• The Mentor Rotary has completed their landscaping beautification project at the Mentor Senior Center. The new front entrance planting was designed by renowned landscape architect Dave Lamar who is a Mentor Rotary member. The entrance looks great thanks to the hard work of the Rotary Volunteers.
• All things pool are being addressed during these last weeks before the season starts. New ADA equipment arrived last week and is being installed at all thee pools. The filling of the pools started this week and by the weekend all pools should be filled and the filtration systems on and operating. The chlorine will be delivered next week and with continued warm weather the pools and spray parks will be warmed up and ready to go for the opening day, June 9.
• The season’s first kayak class kicked off Saturday. We have a large class and everyone is excited to get the season under way. Lessons are scheduled on Saturday morning. For more information on kayak classes, call the Recreation office at 440-974-5720 or if you’d like to just rent a kayak call the Mentor Lagoons Marina Office at 440-205-3265.
• Mentor Bike Day was held on Saturday May 18 and was enjoyed by a smaller-than-expected crowd of about 125 participants. Everyone that came had a great time enjoying the bike rodeo, the BMX aerial demo team and the police bike auction.
• Staff training for the summer hires is in full swing with the Fire Department conducting First Aid, AED, and CPR training for us. The cashiers, lifeguards and camp counselors then have in-house training by our staff on all the proper procedures to follow for their respective positions and location.
• The Garfield Pool Building has been spruced up thanks to an Eagle Scout project over the past month. The face lift was much needed and a great improvement to the building.
• The golf course is a very busy place this year. The revenues to date have surpassed last year’s May totals and we still have 10 days left in the month. The course has been so busy that no carts are available to take to the Practice Center so the new shuttle cart is getting a workout. The Black Brook Manager said the cart has been a lifesaver. Without it we would not be able to get people to the Practice Center.
• At the Civic Ice Arena the new light fixtures are being installed in the West Rink and the renovation in the Studio Rink is going along a bit slower than was anticipated probably pushing the completion back to the end of June. Economic and Community Development
• Ron Traub attended the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) annual meeting along with Councilmen Scott Marn and John Krueger, the City Manager and Kevin Malachek, President and CEO, Mentor Area Chamber of Commerce. The meeting included workshops sessions, pre-arranged meetings with prospective retailers, meeting with current shopping center owners, prospective developers and retailers.
• Tom Thielman attended the Mentor Chamber of Commerce luncheon. The Chamber honored Lynne Mazeika as Citizen of the Year, Roll-Kraft as Business of the Year, and Pam Trivisonno as Business Leader of the Year. Also, David Yost, Ohio State Auditor, spoke about his office and its duty’s throughout the State of Ohio.
 • Tom Thielman met with an existing Mentor business regarding a possible Mentor Small Business Loan. MEACO is preparing a loan closing documents for various loans and has three additional new loans in its application pipeline.

Finance Department
• This week, the Ohio House Ways and Means Committee held its first hearing (“informal in nature”) on the topic of Municipal Income Tax Uniformity. At this point there is no proposed legislation and future hearings are anticipated next month and well into the fall. It is likely that legislation will be proposed that addresses areas of non-uniformity in the arena of municipal income tax administration.

 Public Works Department
• The Public Works activity highlights this week were: crack sealed Mentor Ave. from Rt. 306 to Willoughby line; crack sealed Mentor Ave. from Painesville line to Old Johnnycake westbound; Rutland Drive, repairs on two curb inlet basins; Ohio Street – full depth pavement repairs; cemetery – preparations for Memorial Day events; 6211 Firwood – storm sewer repair; 8114 Danbury – storm sewer repair; 8091 and 8095 Lakeshore – replaced concrete aprons; park maintenance, mowing and lining of baseball, soccer and football fields; and pools – filling this week.

-- Betsy Scott, BScott@News-Herald.com, @ReporterBetsy


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