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Norton celebrates upgraded bond rating

2/16/2017 - West Side Leader
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By Scott Piepho

Credit rating agency Fitch Ratings upgraded Norton’s bond rating from A+ to AA. At the Feb. 13 Council meeting, to celebrate, the city administration gave everyone a card decorated with ribbons and a double-A battery.
Photo: Scott Piepho
The Norton City Council discussed good news at the Feb. 13 meeting.

Credit rating agency Fitch Ratings upgraded the city’s bond rating from A+ to AA. The meeting offered Council the first opportunity to discuss the change since it was announced Feb. 10.

Mayor Mike Zita said the higher rating will allow the city to obtain lower interest rates, saving taxpayers money. “It’s a good thing for the City of Norton,” said Zita.

Administrator Valerie Wax Carr noted the recent merger of the Norton sanitary sewer system with Barberton’s system was “one of the things that helped us get over the hump.” Fitch’s report on Norton states, “Barberton will also extend the sewer system to several undeveloped areas, which Norton management believes will spur some economic growth in the city.”

The administration celebrated by giving everyone at the meeting a card decorated with ribbons and a double-A battery.

Also during the meeting, Council heard an update on the Planning Commission’s work on regulating possible medical marijuana businesses. The commission is proceeding with the work but requested guidance about what kind of recommendations Council is seeking.

Councilman Joe Kernan (at large) said he is particularly interested in recommendations about what sort of zoning classification such business should have if Council decides to allow such businesses in the city.

Council also discussed at length the live streaming of Council meetings. The city is currently using the service Livestream and has encountered a number of problems with the service. Livestream has provided a software patch it hopes will resolve the problems, said city officials.

Councilman Dennis Pierson (Ward 3) proposed terminating the agreement with Livestream if the company is unable to resolve the problems within a week. It appeared that the stream was working that night.

In other business, Council:

  • amended the agenda to include a proposed resolution confirming the appointment of Andrew Mullins to an at-large position on the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA). Mullins would replace member Angie Wells, who has decided to forgo reappointment. He spoke briefly to Council, which also heard the first reading of the resolution. The confirmation of Mullins, along with the current BZA members who will be reappointed, will be voted on at a later meeting;
  • approved an ordinance providing consent to the Ohio Department of Transportation to complete spot paving on state Routes 21 and 585 at the state’s expense;
  • approved an ordinance revising the city’s investment policy to conform with changes in state law and local rules;
  • heard first reading of an ordinance that would authorize the city administrative officer to enter into a contract with Blue Technologies Smart Solutions for scanning services;
  • heard second reading of an ordinance that would authorize the administrative officer to enter into a contract with InSITE Advisory Group to continue its work offering the city development consulting services;
  • heard second reading of a resolution to authorize the administrative officer to request to participate in the Summit County Engineer’s Road Maintenance Program; and
  • heard econd reading of an ordinance that would authorize the administrative officer to enter into a contract with Civic Plus for website design and maintenance services.

Norton City Council will meet for a Committee-of-the-Whole meeting Feb. 21 (a day later than usual due to Presidents’ Day) and for its regular meeting Feb. 27, both at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at the Safety-Administration Building, located at 4060 Columbia Woods Drive.

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