MOUNT VERNON — The city will watch how well traffic does with a stop sign, instead of a traffic signal, at Hamtramck and North Main streets.
City Safety Services director Rick Dzik said Friday the stoplight at the intersection is being studied for removal. The lights have been covered and the intersection is functioning with stop signs for now.
Dzik said the light was being considered for removal as far back as January. A resident also recently contacted the city about the possibility of removing the light.
The city council ultimately will approve whether the light is removed. Once the light is gone, a permanent stop sign will be put up at Hamtramck where the one-way street crosses North Main.
Streets Superintendent Tom Hinkle has begun work as streets/parks and buildings and grounds superintendent. Council approved Hinkle to oversee the parks department on a trial basis, possibly readying the city for streets and parks to be combined as a public works department.
Parks/Buildings and Grounds/Cemetery Superintendent Dave Carpenter is retiring from the city effective July 31. He is currently using vacation time, but is available to the city on an as-needed basis, Dzik said.
Hinkle has had some meetings with Carpenter as well as the parks and cemetery departments.
The public works department is part of a proposed reorganization of the city. The idea is to find efficiencies by using employees from the two departments in a cross-trained manner; for example, when streets are busy in the winter plowing but parks are slow, parks employees can be pulled to help streets with snow removal.
Street crews put in asphalt to fill a depression in Belmont Avenue connecting driveways with the road this week, Hinkle reported. A sidewalk and curb were repaired on Hamtramck that was damaged by an uprooted tree.
The city is looking into several hundred MXU-radio read water meters that are not working properly. Utilities Superintendent Mathias Orndorf reported Friday that between 350 – 500 meters are experiencing problems and a summer employee has been assigned to troubleshooting duty.
Orndorf said the most common problem is believed to be meters that are too old to work with the radio-read hardware. Those meters will have to be replaced, Orndorf said. Other problems can be fixed by reprograming the MXUs.
As of Friday, there are 5,860 meters hooked into the radio read system. Two summer workers are also working on installing meters.
Mount Vernon Police Chief Robert Morgan said the final results for the corporal’s test are in and his department will announce the promotion next week. A total of nine officers took the test, and five passed. The test scores are good for two years, meaning those who took the test but were not promoted will be eligible for promotion should another corporal position become vacant in the next 24 months.
Morgan noted that officers will be enforcing the state’s laws regarding fireworks. It is currently illegal to shoot off fireworks in the city, as well as the state of Ohio. Morgan said he has heard rumors that the laws have been relaxed due to the cancelation of July 4 firework displays, and said those rumors are not true.
Police response to a first offense will be “educational” in nature, but a second offense will result in charges being filed.
The fountain on Public Square should be up and running a few days after July 4, Mayor Matt Starr reported. The fountain was not turned on as usual in the spring because chemicals needed in disinfecting the fountain “were in short supply” due to shortages from the COVID-19 epidemic.
Dzik reported that “a rough plan” for in-person meetings of the city council has been drafted. It includes dividers between councilmembers’ seats in council chambers.
Dzik further said the timing is an issue with the plan. The ban on gatherings larger than 10 people is expected to expire before the next meeting of the council, with allowable group sizes of 20 – 25.
Persons and committees affiliated with the Mount Vernon Music and Arts Festival have plans in place for seven weeks of family-friendly activities starting July 4 as part of the city’s expanded summer activities program, Starr said. More information on those activities is forthcoming, Starr said.
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