April 21, 2014

Elyria
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Avon Lake Council discusses deer population, trash contract, road projects

AVON LAKE — The city’s deer population was a major topic of discussion, as well as a new trash contract and road projects, at Wednesday night’s Ward 1 meeting.

The meeting was the first in a series of community sessions geared toward specific wards. The first meeting — for Ward 1 residents — was postponed due to the weather, but those residents were encouraged to attend Wednesday.

Residents, many of whom said they encountered deer on their way to the meeting, asked Mayor Greg Zilka what the city was doing to control the deer population.

Zilka said the city’s environmental committee is drafting legislation that may allow residents to hire qualified bow hunters to kill deer on their property, with the permission of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the city and Police Department. He added that the owner of a large parcel between Miller and Moore roads had given the city permission for hunting to take place there during hunting season.

Last year, city officials picked up 89 carcasses.

“This is something that we take very seriously,” he said.

Councilman John Shondel, who chairs the environmental committee, said the committee received recommendations from the Ohio Division of Wildlife Wednesday evening, and the committee is working to draft the legislation.

Trash contract

The city entered into a new agreement with Republic Services last year, which should save residents money, according to Zilka. The new agreement took effect in January.

Under the new contract, each household was able to select different sizes of trash cans to meet its needs. A 96-gallon trash container is available for $49.35 per quarter, a 64-gallon trash container is $44.40 per quarter and a 32-gallon container is $39.96 per quarter.

For an additional $10.50 per quarter, residents can purchase an additional container.

Zilka said Republic Services will allow a resident to switch his or her container once at no additional cost.

Other services, such as the Monday service day and leaf and branch pick-up, remain unchanged.

Zilka asked residents to toss recyclables directly into the recyclable container, without using a trash bag. He said yard waste should be placed in a brown paper bag or a separate trash can labeled yard waste.

The new trash rates will be locked in for five years, Zilka said.

Road projects

Service and Engineering Department Director Joe Reitz said Lear and Walker roads will be widened to create a right-turn lane and new traffic lights will be installed.

Reitz said the new lights are more energy-efficient and the right-turn lane will improve traffic flow in the area. The construction, to start at the end of the month and expected to last four months, will back up traffic, however, he said.

“Please be patient, because when it’s all said and done, traffic will be better,” he told residents.

Reitz said the city will also work to improve Krebs and Lear roads, a project that should begin mid-summer. Reitz said those intersections are considered the areas with the heaviest traffic in the city.

Only 35 fire calls

The Fire Department received fewer calls for service in 2013, according to Fire Chief Chris Huerner.

Last year, the department received 2,009 calls for service, down 112 calls from the previous year. Of the calls, 35 were fires, which Heurner said represented the lowest number of fires in at least 15 years.

Heurner contributed the low number of calls to the Fire Prevention Bureau, which conducts safety investigations of businesses. The Fire Prevention Bureau also offers fire education programs at local schools.

“It was a very safe year,” he said.

Heurner said the Fire Department is also looking at utilizing the CodeRED emergency alert system more frequently to notify residents of scheduled hydrant flushing.

Police: Lock up

Newly promoted Police Chief Duane Streator said Avon Lake is a safe place to live, but residents can do things to protect their belongings.

Streator, who said many thieves target unlocked cars and houses, asked residents to keep their valuables secure. He said many residents leave their homes or cars unlocked.

“We are not immune to it. However, we have the propensity to make it easy for them,” he said. “It’s what you call a target-rich environment.”

Streator said drugs are a problem in the city, as well as everywhere in the state, but the city has done a good job of addressing the issue.

Streator recommended that residents keep a watchful eye on their neighborhoods and report any problems to the Police Department.

“We need you to bother us. Give us that information,” he said. “You guys know better than us. You live there every day. You know that car doesn’t belong at your neighbor’s house.”

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.

Ward meetings

  • Ward 3: 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19 at Troy Intermediate School
  • Ward 4: 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26 at Troy Intermediate School