NORTH ROYALTON – The city’s deer hunting program was among issues discussed at the North Royalton City Council’s meetings with the Building and Building Codes Committee, Safety Committee and Finance Committee Feb. 18.
Resident Edward Baznik addressed how successful the program has been and proposed lowering the fee for hunters to pay. The city’s current fee is $150. In addition to lessening the burden on the hunters, he said it will coincide with other nearby communities that have lower fees for deer hunting. One fee change suggested during the council’s conversation on this matter was that of $30 for North Royalton residents and $60 for non-residents.
Police Chief Kenneth Bilinovich provided several deer hunting statistics from the 2019 season. He said during that time, 85 hunting permits were issued, 128 deer were harvested, $3,500 was spent in police overtime, 57 car versus deer collisions were handled and 189 dead deer were retrieved. Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw provided a comparison of hunting charges in North Royalton to those of other cities nearby.
In regards to the proposed fee change, Bilinovich pointed out police overtime currently charges $55 per hour and questioned whether the $30 and $60 fees will be enough to cover overtime. Mayor Larry Antoskiewicz added there are other expenses involved in running the program. He said he is willing to listen to reasonable changes, but said he believes $30 is too low of a fee. Ward 4 Councilman Jeremy Dietrich, however, said he believes even a $100 fee is too high.
Council President Paul Marnecheck expressed his views on the program, saying he is against lessening the program’s current four-year testing requirement. Bilinovich responded by saying he thinks hunters should be tested once a year.
Law Director Thomas Kelly encouraged making as few changes to the hunting ordinances as possible so as to keep uniformity among communities.
Langshaw then suggested lowering the hunters’ fee to $75. A motion was made to recommend an amended ordinance to that effect to the council for approval. A proposal to amend another ordinance regarding other hunting regulations was withdrawn.
Another major issue addressed that evening was the single use plastic bag ban affecting many Cuyahoga County communities, which was discussed at the Building and Building Codes Committee meeting.
Resident Fred Schreiver, who had previously expressed his views against the ban, addressed the council once again urging city officials to opt out. He cited the presence of bacteria in water, the theft of reusable bags and the cost of replacing such bags as reasons for North Royalton to opt out of this ban.
Langshaw explained opting out will raise taxes and said following through with the bag ban will save money in the future. Ward 1 Councilwoman Jessica Fenos explained many cities have been using reusable bags for years and mentioned other major cities across the country have proposed banning plastic bags. Ward 2 Councilwoman Linda Barath said she believes this is not a big issue to most residents.
Among other items addressed at the evening’s meetings were as follows:
• Bilinovich discussed the proposed addition of body cameras and dash cameras to the North Royalton Police Department’s officers and cruisers, respectively. He said 15 dash cameras have been purchased and will be installed sometime in April. Officer Chris Johnson explained the new body cameras can be charged in the same manner as cell phones.
• At the Finance Committee meeting, the council recommended and approved a motion to recommend the city’s budget for 2020.
• The following items were approved at the council caucus following the committee meetings:
• A resolution acknowledging the 45 years of community service of Darlene Thomas
• An amended resolution strongly urging the Ohio governor and members of the Ohio General Assembly to develop long-term solutions to address problems with the EdChoice voucher program negatively impacting school districts throughout the state
• An ordinance authorizing the director of finance to certify to the Cuyahoga County Auditor the unpaid cost of cutting weeds, grass and woody vegetation for levy and collection
• An ordinance authorizing the establishment of a “Division of Storm Water” within the North Royalton Consolidated Sewer District and elimination of the stormwater functions within the service department
• An ordinance approving the recommendation of the Planning Commission to amend a planned unit development on West 130th Street as requested by Quinn Management Group to allow the construction of five two-family townhouses
The next committee meetings are scheduled as follows at North Royalton City Hall:
• Storm Water Committee, Streets Committee and Utilities Committee March 3 at 6 p.m.
• Planning Commission March 4 at 7 p.m.
• Civil Service Committee March 9 at 4 p.m.
• Building and Building Codes Committee, Finance Committee and Safety Committee March 18 at 6 p.m.
• Board of Zoning Appeals March 26 at 7 p.m.
• Recreation Board March 31 at 6 p.m.
The next North Royalton City Council caucus is scheduled for March 3 at 7 p.m. at North Royalton City Hall.