Documenters: Mantua Township Trustees meeting for Feb. 2, 2023

Documented by Lee Lundblad

Mantua Township 

Regular Board of Trustees Meeting

Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

7 p.m.

Mantua Township Town Hall

4122 state Rte. 82

Mantua, OH 44255

In attendance

John Festa, Board of Trustees/Chair

Susan Lilley, Board of Trustees

Matthew Benner, Board of Trustees/Vice Chair

Julia Pemberton, Mantua Township Fiscal Officer

Documenter Notes

The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance, led by Fiscal Officer Julia Pemberton.

A motion was made to accept the approval of minutes for the special meeting held 12/29/22. Motion seconded and passed. The reading of the minutes was suspended.

A motion was made to accept the approval of minutes for the last regular trustee meeting held 1/5/2023. Motion seconded and passed. The reading of the minutes was suspended.

Fiscal Officer’s Report

Julia Pemberton reported to the trustees that year-end financials would most likely be ready next week.

On Dec. 31, the balances of accounts were as follows:

  • $706,038 in checking account
  • $528,879 in savings account

Seeing no questions for the fiscal officer, a motion was made to accept the report and seconded. Motion passed.

Cemetery Report

Robin Gano was not present to deliver the report.

Custodian Report

Tim Bennett outlined three items which need input from the trustees:

  1. Olde Taylor Woods has requested to use the Town Hall space for a meeting either April 26 or 27. Bennett is asking for the go-ahead to do this. Trustee/Chair John Festa replied that any township group is permitted to book Town Hall for no fees. If the dates work, move forward to book it. It was found that 4/26/23 would fit best.
  2. The 4-H has also requested meeting space to hold a meeting like last year. Members of 4-H will have a meeting, make crafts, enjoy snacks, etc. Again, Festa responded that this was fine and added, “Anything for our young people.”
  3. There are approximately 13-14 wooden chairs in a downstairs meeting room. Bennett questioned whether or not to bring those chairs into circulation, or should he consider they are there for another purpose? The trustees responded that it is fine to move those chairs into circulation.

Bennett also added that he was contacted by a woman who holds estate sales, and she requested approximately five days of the gym (at Mantua Center School Annex) for a sale while she empties out a local house. Bennett indicated that township spaces are booked until the end of April and wanted the trustees to give feedback on this request. The trustees didn’t think it was a good idea to rent space out for five days to hold items. There was concern over how items would be secured, etc. Bennett will contact the caller to let her know she cannot rent the space.

Service Department Report

Bryan Tayerle was not in attendance, but Trustee/Vice Chair Matthew Benner will give a summary during his trustee report.

Zoning Commission Report

Jan Oros was present to give a report. A zoning commission meeting was held Jan. 12, 2023, where the following took place:

  • ZC elected officers for the 2023 year, which were the same as 2022.
  • Discussed future public hearings that are coming up.
  • Discussion around professionally publishing the Zoning Book so that all inspectors have the same information. 
  • Introduced other topics such as:
    • Digital signs
    • Food trucks
    • Meat trucks

Oros also offered information relative to the public meeting held Jan. 16 on the topic of the resolution proposing pool fence requirements be lowered from 6 feet to 4 feet. Oros distributed a copy of the meeting minutes from Jan. 16 and reminded the trustees they now have 30 days to set a date for a public hearing. This public meeting must be advertised at least 10 days prior to the meeting date. The trustees chose 6 p.m. Feb. 21 at Town Hall. It will be publicized in the Record-Courier.

Oros let everyone know the next meeting of the zoning commission will be Feb. 9.

Chamber of Commerce

Carole Pollard was present to update the trustees on the Chamber of Commerce.

  • The Chamber of Commerce and the Main Street Business Group discussed a merger of the two entities under the umbrella of the chamber; a meeting was set for March 15 to go through more details.
  • The annual community garage sale has been scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 28-29.
  • Dues and membership reminders will be sent out March 1.
  • More than 1,500 community directories were distributed over the last year.
  • They are continuing to look for officers for the Chamber of Commerce for this year.
  • Consider joining the Chamber of Commerce. There are a lot of perks for membership; among them:
    • Discounted group health insurance
    • Free email blasts to their databases
    • Free inclusion to the garage sale

Festa asked Pemberton if the township’s membership was up to date. Pemberton verified that dues would be paid when membership information is sent March 1.

Mantua Restoration Society

Mark Hall reported to the trustees that the next two Soup and Salad events have been scheduled for 4-7 p.m. Feb. 10 and March 10 in the gymnasium. These events continue to be well attended. Hall verified the trustees received his email regarding the annual Easter Egg hunt and wanted to make sure they understood it would not take place this year. Festa made an announcement that this was always a well-attended community event and wants to go on record to ask any community group if it would like to step in to organize and hold this event. He suggested a Girl Scout or Boy Scout group, 4-H or some other community entity that may want to organize this. There is $1,500 available from NOPEC to hold such an event.  

Trustee Reports – New Business

  • John Festa
    • An emergency meeting was held Jan. 19 to discuss the failure of the transmission on the township-owned 2016 F-350 truck. An estimate to fix the truck was around $5,000; however, the estimate noted that the dealership could not anticipate delivery date of the parts needed for repair, and delivery could take months. It was decided that a new truck would be purchased from a Ford dealership. The township will receive $25,000 on the trade-in plus a government deduction of $28,255. The township purchased a new F-350 Super Duty Single Cab truck with the addition of an 8½-foot western plow, beacon and an extended warranty. The total for the truck was $36,750 and will be financed on a yearly basis, which works out to approximately $500 a month.
    • The flood study is complete. The final draft of the study is approximately 95 pages long and contains at least three recommendations the township should seriously consider. Festa would like to set up a public meeting to review the contents of the study. Benner suggested the public meeting could be held the same date as the public meeting for the pool fence issue. It was agreed that the flood study would be discussed after the pool fence issue Feb. 21 at Town Hall. This meeting will be advertised in the Record-Courier.
    • NOPEC is back in business as of 2/6/23. There is one proposal for the downstairs door. Festa will send Benner the specs but not the amount. The township can begin the process again to possibly get more information.
    • Festa attended a winter conference and took part in breakout sessions on the topics of:
      • Zoning issues
      • Comprehensive land-use planning
      • Vision and planning for the future
      • Abandoned structures
      • Statutory limits on zoning
      • Avoiding annexation (JEDD – Joint Economic Development District – is a way to avoid annexation)
      • He asked the other trustees to begin to familiarize themselves with the upcoming legislation HB401, which includes language on wind and solar farms. Festa said that he knows some people who have already been approached about leasing their land for either wind or solar use. This is coming, and the township needs to be prepared for it. He noted that a farm producing 50 megawatts of power will be considered a public utility and therefore would have tax benefits. He asked everyone to think about whether or not the township’s zoning is prepared for this. He offered an interesting fact: A wind farm producing just 40 MW takes up the same amount of space as approximately 200 soccer fields (1 soccer field is equal to 1.86 acres).
      • Festa said he ran into the township’s risk agent at the conference and discussed the bat issue. Mantua Township’s risk insurance doesn’t cover anything that has to do with animals. However, it may be beneficial to file a claim for security reasons since the bats prevented the alarm system from being installed. 

Trustee Reports – New Business continued

  • Susan Lilley
    • Met with the parks & recreation committee combined with the beautification committee. Regarding the rotation of the fields: Baseball is OK with this and thinks it’s a good idea.
    • Discussed adding four swings and a slide, in which a portion of the cost would be covered under a grant.
    • Adding a walking path, which is under another grant.
    • If we add a pavilion, we have to have restrooms, which makes for a higher cost.
    • The grants are not 50-50; one of the grants is 25-75, but we don’t have a final cost yet. That is coming.  
    • Festa said that creating a park space is becoming quite costly. Lilley said again that the final estimates aren’t in yet.
  • Matthew Benner
    • Firefighter contracts were signed for full- and part-time employees. The contracts were effective 1/1/2023.
    • Gathering data for possibly hiring another full-time firefighter and/or paramedic.
    • There is a need to chip and seal Pioneer Trail from Mantua Center to Peck Road. Since the township’s main roads are in pretty good shape, some developments will receive the same treatment.

Trustee Reports – Old Business

  • John Festa
    • Gave an update on the abandoned house on Samuel Drive. Festa posted a notice directly onto the house and took a picture. The next step is to call the health department or the Portage County Land Bank to begin the process. It is preferable to contact the land bank.
  • Susan Lilley – no report
  • Matthew Benner
    • 100 tons of salt have been ordered.
    • Sewer update:
      • Benner talked with CT Consultants, which has completed 60 percent of the plans of the design phase. These plans are now at the county awaiting feedback. Once the county weighs in, CT Consultants can begin finishing the plans to 100 percent. To reiterate, the sewer project is tying all Mantua Township government buildings into Portage County Sewer & Water; i.e., civic center, school buildings, Town Hall, etc.  
    • Benner has been looking into obtaining a plaque to honor Mantua Township’s fallen service members. Benner brought pictures of a plaque he was looking at. The cost will be $702. Benner made a motion to move forward with the purchase; Festa seconded; motion passed.
    • Benner will use his own money to purchase two flags (each 4 feet by 6 feet) to honor fallen service members.  
    • Benner has spoken with Chief Urso regarding blinking speeding lights that can be placed in high-abuse areas as a reminder to motorists to slow down. These signs are completely programmable, solar powered and would be helpful if placed at Pioneer Trail and near the Mantua Center School. They are available via and are priced between $2,000 and 3,000. He will get more information for the trustees to discuss further.

Public Comments:

  • Thomas Lane from New Adventures was present at the meeting. He reminded the trustees that New Adventures was the only licensed child-care company in the Crestwood School District. He is asking the trustees for advice on how to make the company more visible and what types of signs would work best for this. He wants to make a big impact but does not want to violate any zoning ordinances, etc. Festa replied that the best thing to do would be to approach the zoning commission and have a discussion with them. He wanted Lane to know that the trustees will support him and his organization in any way possible. Benner added that he has heard nothing but good things about New Adventures and congratulated Lane on a well-run organization.
  • Jan Oros invited Trustee Susan Lilley to attend the Feb. 9 zoning commission meeting. Lilley said she expected to attend.

A motion was made by Festa to pay all bills for February. Motion was seconded and passed.

A motion was made by Festa to adjourn this meeting at 8:44 p.m. Motion was seconded and passed.

Lee Lundblad
+ posts