Streets, parks to become public works

MOUNT VERNON — Information will be presented at the Tuesday meeting of Mount Vernon city council proposing a reorganization of the streets and parks departments into one department.

An employee and community relations committee hearing scheduled for 6:50 p.m. will hear a presentation from City Safety Services Director Rick Dzik on a public works department, crafted from a reorganization of streets and parks and buildings and grounds.

Councilmember Samantha Scoles, who chairs the employee and community relations committee, said the move would open the door to cross-training of employees “across multiple sectors.” Scoles said efficiencies can be created for such jobs as snow removal and mowing.

It has been discussed that the newly-created department would have one administrator, with supervisors under the administrator, Scoles said. That would eliminate one department head.

Parks Superintendent Dave Carpenter is retiring this year, and the fact that Carpenter’s position will be vacant “accelerated” the discussions for the public works department.

An ordinance up for first reading at council’s meeting regarding the number of hourly employees by the city shows the new department as composed of two public works crew leaders, a traffic signals technician, no more than four equipment operators, no more than nine maintenance workers and two clerks/typists. Dzik said Friday there will be one department head overall.

Also scheduled for a 15-minute planning and zoning committee hearing is a presentation by Main Street Mount Vernon Downtown Manager Anthony McNeal on a designated outdoor refreshment area, planning and zoning committee chair Mike Hillier said. McNeal was not available for comment on the presentation, as of press time.

Also up for discussion in a 7 p.m. committee hearing is the enterprise zone (EZ) agreement requested by North Canton-based senior living community company Lemmon. Lemmon is requesting an 80 percent real estate tax abatement on a new 81-unit facility to be built in Mount Vernon. Under the EZ, Mount Vernon would only receive 20 percent of the property tax value, rather than the full 100 percent, for the life of the agreement. However, the city will receive its usual share of income tax from employees at the facility.

The legislative portion of the council meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. Included in resolutions for first reading are applications in two resolutions for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars. The applications are for CDBG community development allocation funds and critical infrastructure funds. Council further has a resolution to apply for Community Housing Impact and Preservation program grant dollars.

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Nick Sabo: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter,



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