Minutes: July 14th, 2020

Catawba Island Township Board of Township Trustees

Meeting Minutes

July 14, 2020

The regular business meeting of the Catawba Island Board of Township Trustees was called to order by Chairman Matt Montowski on Tuesday, July 14, at 7:30 p.m. at the outdoor pavilion located behind the Catawba Island Township Fire Department.

In attendance were: Diane Belden, Matt Montowski, William Rofkar, Karen Shaw, Dan Barlow, John Gangway, Ernie Wylie, Louie Wargo, Mark Stahl, Senator Theresa Gavarone, Caleb Stidham, Gary Quisno, Becky Quisno, Rilyn Holmquist, Ethan, Holmquist, Amanda Holmquist,
Tony Rumpf, Ann Rumpf, Brent Bucci, Holly Bucci, Joann Welch, Jean Aldrich, Diane Price, Tammy Manley, Darlene Benson, Jack Ocker, Brian Allan, Dan Holan, John Pekar, Eileen Pekar, Tom Kern, Nancy Kern, Kelly Gardner, Mike Antonyzyn, Therese Artch, Richard Helsper,
Jerry Schook, Carol Schook, John Brewer, Celenea Brewer, John Meister, Judy Reed, Tom Reed,
Jack DeVore and Randy Riedmaier.

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.

William Rofkar made a motion to approve the June 23, 2020 Board of Trustees regular meeting minutes as presented. Diane Belden seconded the motion. All voted aye. Motion carried.

Diane Belden made a motion to approve and pay the bills, including the last payroll, in the amount of $79,643.89. The total includes a payment of $32,250 to The City of Port Clinton for Emergency Medical Services for the second quarter of 2020. William Rofkar seconded the motion. All voted aye. Motion carried.


A letter from Ann Rumpf expressing concern about a fence and gate being erected at the entrance to the Gem Beach Marina at Carolina Street.

A letter from John Meister, President of the Gem Beach Lot Owners Association, regarding the Gem Beach development golf cart issue in which members of Gem Beach development believe the community is “made for golf carts” and USV golf carts cannot be driven to numerous destinations due to the need to travel township roads and propose allowing the Gem Beach development a “golf cart driving zone”. An unofficial petition with supporting signatures was included.

A letter from The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation regarding their continued partnership with employers to create safe workplaces across Ohio. In addition, a package of 100 non-medical grade face coverings was provided under the direction of Governor Mike DeWine in an effort to support the employer community and workforce through this public health emergency.

A letter from Ottawa Regional Planning Director Mark Messa regarding the Fiscal Year 2020 Assessment in support of the Ottawa Regional Planning Commission.

The Fairway Villas Times Summer 2020 newsletter.


Fiscal Officer Karen Shaw presented the June 2020 financial reports and bank reconciliation. There were no questions or concerns.


Fire Captain Louis Wargo reported Catawba Island Fire Department members responded to seven fire runs and seven EMS runs in the month of June.

Louis Wargo said fire fighter Craig Hackett resigned his position with the fire department as he is relocating due to his job.

Louis Wargo said the fire department is looking into refurbishing engine 224 and possibly replacing truck 226 in the future and he hopes to have more information regarding both in the near future.

Louis Wargo presented a quote from Fire Safety Services to recertify the remaining 65 air cylinders.

William Rofkar made a motion to approve a contract with Fire Safety Services for $22,750 to recertify 65 air cylinders. Diane Belden seconded the motion. All voted aye. Motion carried.


Maintenance Supervisor Dan Barlow presented quotes for grinding mulch at the compost facility: Lake Erie Tree Service, LLC, $7,000 and Barnes Nursery, $10,426.

Diane Belden made a motion to approve a contract with Lake Erie Tree Service for $7,000 for grinding mulch at the compost facility per provided quote. William Rofkar seconded the motion. All voted aye. Motion carried.

William Rofkar made a motion to purchase tires needed for the backhoe from Severe Service Treaders, Inc. per provided quote not to exceed $3,000. Diane Belden seconded the motion. All voted aye. Motion carried.

Dan Barlow said the rear brakes need repaired on the International and the cost will be $680.

Trustees agreed to repair of the International brakes for $680.

New Business

State Senator Theresa Gavarone spoke briefly about legislation she worked on and was recently signed into law that will allow certified swim instructors to continue teaching swim lessons during the COVID-19 pandemic at residential swimming pools. Current law only allows for swimming lessons to be taught at public pools and many are not open due to the pandemic. Senator Gavarone said she also sponsored Concurrent Resolution 16 which expresses opposition to any effort to defund police departments.

Commissioner Mark Stahl spoke briefly about CARES Act money available to townships through the Ottawa County Auditor for expenses incurred specifically due to COVID-19. Any money not used would need to be returned.

Karen Shaw was asked to read a statement regarding golf carts that was read into the June 27, 2017 meeting minutes by Matt Montowski. The statement read:

On January 1, 2017, the Ohio Legislature amended Ohio Revised Code 4501.01 through SB114 prohibiting the operation of golf carts on public streets and highways, unless such operation was authorized by local authority.

The definition of “Under-Speed Vehicle” in Ohio Revised Code 4501.01 (XX) was amended to expressly include golf carts. Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 4511.214(A)(2)(a), operation of an “Under-Speed Vehicle” on any public street or highway is prohibited unless the local authority has authorized such operation, and, if authorized, they may be operated on a street or highway with a speed limit of 35 mph or less.

Operation of a golf cart on a roadway is inherently more dangerous than the operation of other vehicles. Recognizing this risk, the 29th General Assembly placed the discretion to allow the operation of golf carts on local roadways with the local authority. The local authorities are more familiar with the roadways within their jurisdiction and the necessary safety measures needed to ensure the safety of the public on those roadways.

The Catawba Island Township Trustees join the General Assembly in recognizing the inherent risk to motorists and the public at large that is associated with golf cart operation on streets and highways. As such, we decline to authorize the operation of “Under-Speed Vehicles” on the streets and highways of Catawba Island Township.

The safety of our motorists and the public at large is our top priority.

Matt Montowski said the State of Ohio’s compromise is Low-Speed Vehicles which are registered and pass a series of inspections. He said LSV’s are considered a safer vehicle. Matt Montowski said this is the type of vehicle to be considered in order to travel public roads by this means.

Matt Montowski said the Trustees do not oversee just Gem Beach, but also Muggy Road, Schoolhouse Road, and Moores Dock to name a few and he feels to authorize one area and not all would be very discriminating.

Brent Bucci said the cost of an LSV now runs over $15,000. He agreed residents do have the option to make improvements to their Low-Speed Vehicles enabling them to pass inspection and become legally registered. Brent Bucci said he feels Trustees are taking a big part of the atmosphere and community of the area away and he does not believe Trustees understand the problems that are starting to occur with car traffic and the additional need for parking at Nor Easter as well as a lot more people walking in the road. He said he believes Trustees are going to have to reconsider because the association is not going to let this go.

Matt Montowski said the Trustees also have the right to rule out LSVs on Catawba Island but have not done so and instead follow the state law as written.

Richard Helsper said he lives in the Gem Beach area but does not own a golf cart or LSV. He said he speaks on behalf of the older community members in their eighties who would have difficulty walking even short distances. Richard Helsper said he does not believe Trustees are acting out of safety for the residents because many people die riding bicycles each year. He said in the past he heard William Rofkar say he has talked to many people who are not in favor of golf carts. Richard Helsper said he would like to read those letters as he has not been able to find any correspondence in the minutes. He also asked if there has been a vote on the matter disallowing golf carts.

William Rofkar said there have been numerous meetings regarding golf carts and much communication has taken place with residents. He said driving golf carts on public roads is illegal and that a motion would need to be made to allow the operation of golf carts. William Rofkar said you do not make a motion to disallow something that is already not legal.

Richard Helsper said he would like Trustees to vote on it since he has not heard a vote for or against allowing golf carts on public roads.

Diane Belden said she believes the letter from the Gem Beach Lot Owners Association has a lot of good points. She said she believes it is a small and condensed little community and to make an exception just in this community is something she would be in favor of looking in to. Diane Belden said she was not a Trustee in 2017 when the previously read statement was read into the minutes and she disagrees with the statement. She said she thinks it is a reasonable request as there are just a couple of roads that are 25 miles per hour. Diane Belden said she visited the area and there are golf carts, bikes, kids, dogs, strollers, and she agrees it is dangerous.

Tammy Manley said she believes Gem Beach is a golf cart community and she thinks residents should be allowed to drive their carts to the beach.

Ann Rumpf said they got over 150 signatures and that tells her there is a need.

Brian Allan asked Trustees what can be done to change their minds or go over their heads because something has to change.

William Rofkar said he has researched the issue for years and he represents the community to the best of his ability and he does not believe golf carts on township roads are safe.

Matt Montowski said as community leaders we also listen to our Police Chief, our Fire Chief, and our maintenance supervisor, as well as get advice from the Ottawa County Prosecutor.

Diane Belden made a motion to allow Under-Speed Vehicles on the four township roads in the Gem Beach area that are designated 25 miles per hour or less. Motion not seconded. Motion failed.

William Rofkar said he met with Jack Grummel in Gem Beach and discussed the wall project. He said Jack Grummel agreed to partner with the township to repair the remaining 650 feet of the wall. William Rofkar said Grummels own the wall and the township owns the road and in order to preserve the roadway the wall needs to be repaired. He said the County Engineer is looking into the matter further and he should have more information in the near future.

William Rofkar made a motion to contract with Mastermind to conduct a Speed Zone Study on Twin Beach Road from Route 53 to N. Carolina for $1,400 as long as the study can be performed before Labor Day this year or wait until after Memorial Day next year. Diane Belden seconded the motion. All voted aye. Motion carried.

William Rofkar made a motion to participate in the Ottawa Regional Planning Commission’s Annual Assessment for the period July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 for a total of $2,159.40 based on a population of 3,599 persons at a rate of $.60 per person. Diane Belden seconded the motion. All voted aye. Motion carried.

Diane Belden said the CIVFD first responders’ back packs are ready to go and they are responding directly to the scene. Diane Belden reported Port Clinton EMS responded to Catawba Island for 24 calls in April, 35 calls in May, and 54 calls in June for a total of 113 calls the second quarter of 2020 and 186 total calls for the year.

Matt Montowski said Representative Swearingen would like to arrange an unveiling ceremony for the Catawba Island Township Veterans Memorial Highway sign and he would like to offer up the conference room or other Catawba Island location as a possible venue for the ceremony.

William Rofkar and Diane Belden agreed that a Catawba Island location would be good for the ceremony.

Matt Montowski said he would look into the matter and finalize the details.

Matt Montowski made a motion to continue participation in OhioCheckbook.gov through the State Treasurer of Ohio’s Office and authorize the fiscal officer to upload township financials annually. William Rofkar seconded the motion. All voted aye. Motion carried.

Diane Belden made a motion to adjourn the meeting. William Rofkar seconded the motion.
All voted aye. The meeting adjourned at 9:25 p.m.

___________________________ _____________________________
Matt Montowski, Chairman Karen Shaw, Fiscal Officer