Additional dispatcher voted down in Ravenna

Police chief tells committee that dispatch center call volume has increased dramatically

By Diane Smith | Staff Writer Published:

It is unclear whether Ravenna will add another dispatcher after a measure to add a third dispatcher was narrowly voted down in committee Monday.

City Council's Finance Committee deadlocked 3-3 on moving the ordinance to the March 4 council meeting. Council President Fran Ricciardi broke the tie, voting agaisnt the measure.

Ricciardi and Councilman Bruce Ribelin were uncertain of the proposal's future. Ribelin, who chairs council's Health and Public Safety Committee, thinks council should be able to vote on it.

"I think we've had more than ample discussion," he said.

Ricciardi said he thinks the discussions would have to return to Square One if the proposal is to come back. He said this is the first time he's broken a tie in his tenure as council president.

Council members Amy Michael, Sharon Spencer and Fred Berry voted against the proposal, with Ribelin and Councilmen Frank Seman and Jack Ferguson voting yes. Ricciardi then was called to break the 3-3 tie.

Councilman Scott Rainone was out of town on business.

Ribelin said it was unfortunate that Rainone was absent, because the Ward 4 councilman had previously spoken in favor of the additional dispatcher.

"I'm just asking people to think outside the box," he said. "We've got to look to the future, and the future is regionalism."

Ricciardi said he remains opposed to adding the dispatcher because the money for the position would come from the city's general fund.

"The general fund is in the red," he said. "I'm always focused on 'Where does the money come from?'"

Police Chief Timothy Adkins recently told Ribelin's committee that the dispatch center's call volume has increased dramatically since 2010, when it began to serve fire departments in surrounding townships.

"Our calls have already gone up 66 percent, and we haven't added a soul," Adkins told the committee.

Mayor Joseph Bica released a statement after the meeting, expressing his disappointment in the decision.

"The members who rejected this proposal clearly have a lack of vision and understanding of how the city is working towards collaborative efforts in our Portage County community," he said. "The expansion efforts of our dispatch center promote better service for police and fire and continue to offset our own city dispatch expenses."

In other business, council held a special meeting to approve legislation to refinance $5 million in bonds for Reed Memorial Library in Ravenna.

Finance Director Kim Cecora said the library will be able to get a "much better interest rate" as a result of the refunding, or refinancing, of the 2003 debt.

Seman pointed out that the city actually owns the library until the debt is paid off, because the library couldn't apply for the bonds on its own and needed the city's backing.

Cecora said it is not clear exactly how much taxpayers will save as a result of the deal.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1139 or dsmith@recordpub.com

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  • I gotta' a great idea, place a phone call to Major "CHAOS" Kelly at the Portage County Sheriff's Office. Captain "CORRUPTION" may be able to find a way to assist yall', by way of a free dispatcher. Sheriff Doak has this new, well thought out plan. Sheriff Doak lets Major "CHAOS" Kelly run this inmate program where the county saves lots of money! I guarantee Major "CHAOS" Kelly would effectively screen a good inmate for work release to assist Ravenna P.D. The inmate would be able to leave PCSO, report to Ravenna P.D. Do his/her dispatch duties and then return to jail and double up on cleanin' cruisers! It's a win win! The inmate could also triple duty if he/she wanted to assist in helpin the drug task force in findin' a new location! It just makes "CENTS"!

  • Couldnt agree more...seems to me their vision is pretty clear! Rat. ...no bite on his cheese

  • and always vote with the mayor..........the mayor's ideas are to keep Ravenna in the dark ages and to collect his pay for non-performance.

  • You are right the vote SHOULD reflect the majority of the voters wishes but DOES NOT.. ...............the three that voted against it are looking out for the future of the city and all three are up for re-election in November and should be retained. .............the three who voted for it have three things in common..........they get voted in every 4 years and they keep Ravenna from going FORWARDand always vote ..........the mayor's ideas are to keep Ravenna in the dark ages and to collect his pay for non-performance.

  • I think the vote pretty much reflects the majority opinion in Ravenna. No confidence in the police department or many other departments for that matter.

  • Take a ride thru Ravenna and count how many vacant houses their are..............and count how many houses have foreclosure papers in the windows. Housing values are going down in this town.

  • Thank you to Council president and the council members for voting this measure/request down. This mayor and his two female buddies (service director/economic director) do not understand when in the red you have to do more with less. You have to suck it up. You have to go with the cheapest vendors for the city. You have to cut costs. I thought this mayor had business experience.....I guess not, his ideas and goals are to spend and spend just like Obama. In the article in the Akron Beacon Journal about GE closing, the mayor is quoted as saying 250 jobs have been created in Ravenna in 3 years. I can not find them. About the high school coming down and the port authority controlling it...........a sheetz gas station their would be good. No retail please, we have enough store fronts empty in town. As far as business's coming there, the mayor nears to look west and see how Kent and Brimfield are doing it. Maybe, that will give him an insight in what to do. Ravenna is going down the drain.............wait it's there now

  • Publicly berating people who do not agree with you is childish behavior. If you think Paul was bad, people, you just wait!

  • What is his vision?..... Lets not forget he and his administration supported The Coleman project... No money=No job...pretty simple right? Wait..he gave his friends step increases..right? Thank God we don't have a council who is all in favor of His disission's! I'm tired of reading about his rants when he Doesn't get his way! Point fingers at yourself Mayor..Grow up! I'm tired reading about his rants!