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Akron City Council delays vote on operating budget after councilman complains questions not answered

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: March 24, 2015

Akron City Council delayed a vote that was expected Monday night on the city's 2015 operating budget after a council member complained that all of his questions hadn't yet been answered.

Councilman Russel Neal, Jr. said he posed a question about how many positions in the budget show a salary, but no one is currently holding this spot.

Finance Director Diane Miller-Dawson said the city intends to fill every position included in the proposed $541 million budget.

"There is no extra money," she said.

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Akron wins another round in hiring-goals fight; Ohio Senate committee removes language from bill

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: March 18, 2015

Akron has won another found in the hiring-goals fight.

The Ohio Senate Transportation Committee removed language this morning from the transportation bill that would have prohibited the distribution of state and federal funds to public entities that have local hiring goals. This would have applied to Akron's sewer project, which is receiving state loans.

The transportation committee stripped the language just as the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus was planning to hold a press conference denouncing the hiring-goals issue.

"I know not to take these victories for granted," said state Rep. Emilia Sykes, D-Akron, who pushed for the removal of the language from the Senate version of the bill and a similar provision taken out of the House version last month.

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New hiring-goals provision would apply to Akron's sewer project, state representative says

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: March 17, 2015

Akron's sewer project wouldn't be insulated from revised language in the state transportation bill targeting local hiring goals, state Rep. Emilia Sykes, D-Akron, said Tuesday afternoon.

Sykes said she has been told that state loans would count as funding under the proposed language. Akron is getting no federal or state funding for its billion-dollar-plus sewer project, but is receiving low-interest state loans.

Akron Law Director Cheri Cunningham agreed Tuesday with Sykes' assessment that loans would be treated the same as other types of state funding.

Akron's state and local leaders weren't sure Monday if the revised language in the Ohio Senate version of the transportation bill would apply to Akron's sewer project. The provision prohibits the distribution of state or federal funds to a public agency that has hiring goals.

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UPDATE: Hiring goals issue included in Ohio Senate version of transportation budget

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: March 16, 2015

The issue of local hiring goals is back in the state legislature.

The Ohio Senate's version of the transportation bill includes language restricting a municipality's ability to require contractors to hire local residents.

The language, though, isn't the same as the House version of the bill that would have prohibited muncipalities from requiring contractors to meet local hiring thresholds. A group of Akron council members and other city leaders traveled to Columbus last month to testify against this provision and it was removed the next day from the bill.

The Senate version prohibits the distribution of state or federal funds to a public agency that has hiring goals. Akron's sewer project isn't getting any state or federal funding, though the city is receiving low-interest loans from the state. 

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U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan to speak at Summit County GOP dinner

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: March 12, 2015

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan will be the speaker at the Summit County Republican Party's annual Lincoln Day Dinner on March 28.

Jordan, a Congressman since 2007, is a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the House Committee on Judiciary.

The dinner, the party's largest event of the year, will be held at the Quaker Station, 135 S. Broadway St. in Akron. A social hour with a cash bar will be from 6 to 6:45 p.m. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., with dinner at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $50 each. For more information, contact the party headquarters at 330-434-9151 or info@summitcountygop.org.

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Akron council urges administration to seek new technology to fight potholes

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: March 10, 2015

Akron City Council passed a resolution this week urging the administration to search for new technology and develop partnerships to fight the city's serious pothole problem.

Councilman Jeff Fusco said this is a "no brainer" for this time of year and given the constant freezing and thawing of the past two winters that have left the streets riddled with potholes. He said Jim Hall, the public works manager, recently heard about a de-icing agent that can be added to pavement to decrease the need for salt.

"It seems timely to ask the administration to actively seek ways to protect our streets," he said.

Council President Garry Moneypenny said new technology imported from Germany was used in the resurfacing of Eastwood Avenue that is expected to last 20 years. He said the street is "holding up well." He said the administration can collaborate with other cities and universities to try to find more technology like this that might be worth trying in Akron. 

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Ohio Auditor Dave Yost won't attend press conference in Akron this morning

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: March 5, 2015

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost is ill and won't be able to attend a press conference this morning in Akron to discuss the city's finances, his spokeswoman said.

Yost, however, provided the city with a press release that will be distributed at the press conference.

Mayor Don Plusquellic will respond to Yost's release during the press conference.

This will be Plusquellic's third press conference this week.

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Ohio Auditor Dave Yost to travel to Akron Thursday to discuss city's 'financial picture'

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: March 4, 2015

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost will travel to Akron Thursday for a press conference to "discuss Akron's financial picture," the city said in a press release this afternoon.

Yost will be joined by Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic.

Yost told the Beacon Journal last October when he was speaking at the Akron Press Club that Akron has "come a long way" to improving its financial practices since he put the city in fiscal caution in its 2010 audit. He said the city should emerge from fiscal caution in the next six months.

In Akron's 2010 audit, Yost faulted the city for bad accounting practices that led to a $104 million fund deficit as of that March. He said Akron had been undertaking capital projects without the revenue to pay for them and faulted the city for having too many funds.

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Akron PeaceMakers receives national award for instructions on interacting with police

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: March 3, 2015

The Akron PeaceMakers, a youth anti-violence group, has won a national award for developing simple instructions for how citizens should behave when approached by a police officer.

The group has been selected for the American Association for Public Administration's National Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Exemplary Practices Award.

The PeaceMakers announced last month new "You and the Law" cards that are being distributed to public and private high and middle school students and adults. The group also is planning a more detailed booklet spelling out the do's and don't's of police contact. The information was put together by the PeaceMakers and the Akron Police Department.

"I am very excited for our Akron PeaceMakers," said Billy Soule, Akron's assistant to the mayor for community relations. "They saw an issue that was at the forefront of every community in the country, and instead of just talking about what they could do to help, they acted."

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Portage County TEA Party to offer fundraising training for nonprofits

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: February 27, 2015

The Portage County TEA Party will offer a fundraising training seminar for nonprofit organizations on Saturday, March 21.

Chris Doss from the Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C. will lead the seminar. The seminar is aimed at organizations that want to improve their fundraising operations.

The seminar will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Comfort Inn at 4423 state Route 43 in Brimfield Township. Lunch and class materials will be provided.

Cost is $25 per person. Checks, made out to the Portage County TEA Party, can be mailed to P.O. Box 253, Mogadore, Ohio 44260.

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